Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011
HP Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B01

Using Technology to Rethink and Reimplement How We Teach and Learn

Salaman Khan
The Khan Academy
About the talk:

With just a computer and a pen-tablet-mouse, one can educate the world! Even better, the content never goes old. My (or your) great-great-great grandchildren could learn from the very same videos! I can't imagine a better use of my (or anyone's) time.

With over 1100 videos, the Khan Academy is easily the most exhaustive collection of instruction on the Internet allowing learners to know that they can fill in almost any of their "gaps" with the content on this site. The content is made in digestible 10-20 minute chunks especially purposed for viewing on the computer as opposed to being a longer video of a conventional "physical" lecture. The conversational style of the videos is the tonal antithesis of what people traditionally associate with math and science instruction. The less obvious distinctions are, however, what make the site hard to reproduce.

I teach the way that I wish I was taught. The lectures are coming from me, an actual human being who is fascinated by the world around him. The concepts are conveyed as they are understood by me, not as they are written in a textbook developed by an educational bureaucracy. Viewers know that it is the labor of love of one somewhat quirky and determined man who has a passion for learning and teaching. I don't think any corporate or governmental effort--regardless of how much money is thrown at the problem--can reproduce this.

A lot of my own educational experience was spent frustrated with how information was conveyed in textbooks and lectures. There would be connections in the subject matter that standard curricula would ignore despite the fact that they make the content easier to understand, enjoy, and RETAIN. I felt like fascinating and INTUITIVE concepts were almost intentionally being butchered into pages and pages of sleep-inducing text and monotonic, scripted lectures. I saw otherwise intelligent peers memorizing steps and formulas for the next exam without any sense of the intuition or big picture, only to forget everything within a matter of weeks. These videos are my expression of how the concepts should have been expressed in the first place, all while not compromising rigor or comprehensiveness.

Adapted from the Khan Academy FAQ by the EE380 organizers

Download theslides for this talk in PDF format.

About the speaker:

Contact information:

Salman Khan
The Khan Academy

[speaker photo] Salman Khan (Sal) founded the Khan Academy with the hope of using technology to foster new learning models. He is currently the portfolio manager of a fund based in Menlo Park, CA. Prior to this, Sal was one of the initial employees at MVC Venture Capital. He has also worked as a Technical Architect at Scient Corporation and as a Senior Product Manager at Oracle Corporation.

Sal received his MBA from Harvard Business School where he was president of the student body. He also holds a Masters in electrical engineering and computer science, a BS in electrical engineering and computer science, and a BS in mathematics from MIT where he was president of the the Class of 1998. While at MIT, Sal was the recipient of the Eloranta Fellowship which he used to develop web-based math software for children with ADHD. He was also an MCAT instructor for the Princeton Review and volunteered teaching gifted 4th and 7th graders at the Devotion School in Brookline, MA.