Monday, June 28, 2010

Where Education is Going

When talking about education, one begins to wonder about the long term life expectancy of colleges costing $50-70K/year, especially when the middle class has no money to pay for it. My alma mater, Lafayette, costs a cool 55K/year and that doesn't even cover the living incidentals Larry's parents have to cover in sending their cherub to school while at the same time watching these astronomical tuition costs (including Lafayette's) continue to rise faster then the rate of inflation, a notion which mystifies me every time I see it. The same cost equation, in indirect fashion, also applies to pre college with property taxes going through the roof while the debt-ridden middle class inches toward fiscal insolvency. Economics 101, if there is no borrowing, there is no economy

Enter the web and the approach one really creative guy has for teaching people in ways that makes learning fun (and free), an all too rare commodity in this day and age of canned education geared for the mediocre and uninspired.

From a tiny closet in Mountain View, Sal Khan is educating the globe for free.
His 1,516 videotaped mini-lectures — on topics ranging from simple addition to vector calculus and Napoleonic campaigns — are transforming the former hedge fund analyst into a YouTube sensation, reaping praise from even reluctant students across the world.

"I'm starting a virtual school for the world, teaching things the way I wanted to be taught," explains Khan, 33, the exuberant founder and sole faculty member of the nonprofit Khan Academy.

When the concept of a Khan's Academy is combined with OCW & UTube EDU, the word that comes to mind regarding the status quo of education vis a vis the net is disruptive, a term that promises to change the landscape of education in ways unimagined just a few years ago.
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