The issue of education is something that I regularly discuss with people online. I’m broadly of the opinion that we’re in a golden age of learning, with access to the kind of (free) information the like of which we have never before even gotten close to.
Whether it’s Khan Academy, or MOOCs or Wikipedia or the raft of other sources of great, free information, the reality is that if you have the desire and a web connection, you can increasingly learn whatever you want to learn.
Of course, not everyone has that mindset, and I’ve written before about the groundbreaking work of Stanford’s Carol Dweck and her fixed/growth mindset.
To cut a long story short, those with a fixed mindset believe their talents are predetermined and unchangeable, whereas those with a growth mindset believe that with effort, anything can be improved.
I think this is fundamentally important, as we have all of the information available, but encouraging people to drink from the pool isn’t quite so easy.
So it’s fascinating to see Salman Khan talk below about his latest project, which sees Khan Academy team up with Dweck’s team in what they’re calling LearnStorm.
Whereas traditional game based approaches to learning take a relative approach to grading, LearnStorm instead looks at how your own performances are improving, whether you’re challenging yourself with new things and so on.
The project is only in its infancy, but it has already signed up over 35,000 students signed up to the trial project in the Bay Area. What’s more, 30 percent of students are from poor backgrounds, so it’s helping to fulfil the Academy’s mission to provide learning for free.
The process is a 3 month challenge that aims to build the ability of students to master their maths skills through Khan Academy. The leaderboard allows schools to compete against one another, and also cities, with those at the top of the league gaining recognition and hopefully some form of award.
The event will run until the middle of April and is open to any students from 3rd grade through to 12th grade in ten Bay Area counties.
It will be interesting to follow, and certainly if they branch out from California into the numerous other communities that have been heavy consumers of Khan Academy videos.