When I was in school, I’d never seen a computer, except may be in books or magazines. I got to work on computers in college, but nobody had one in their homes or dorm rooms. Fast forward to this day, and we have a whole generation of “digital natives” who are growing up with laptops, smartphones, and tablets (mostly iPad). They think of these gadgets as one of their toys, totally comfortable watching YouTube videos as playing Angry Birds on iPhones. They are smart and motivated.
Last year, I heard of The Khan Academy. It’s founder Salman Khan has created thousands of videos on various subjects that anyone can use for learning. Bill Gates, a huge proponent of online learning as a means of saving money and helping the poor kids learn, has promoted Khan and talked about him. That’s how the world noticed the Khan Academy. He was featured in numerous news articles, blog posts, and videos, and has appeared on the Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report. got some funding and hired more people to scale the not-for-profit business.
I’m impressed. By the number of videos. By the relentless pursuit of one man to serve millions. By his selfless service. Bill Gates is my hero. Spending all his money on charity is something only heroes can do.
The question is – are these videos really going to help kids learn science and math? Salman Khan and Bill Gates certainly think so. So do many other people, including academicians.