This Kind of Guy is the Future of Education

Salman Khan of

I’m biased, but there’s no question that I fundamentally believe that the future of education is online. Talking to my daughter yesterday, a student at the University of Minnesota, she’d mentioned how dismayed she was having to take the bus to campus, walk to the one class she had that day, sit in a lecture, and then go home. “What a waste of time,” she said, “But I have to go since my prof takes attendance.” So I inquired if they streamed the lecture online. “Are you KIDDING ME!?!” she exclaimed. “Most of these professors and TA’s can barely hook up their computers!

What you’re about to view is an excellent example of the types of teaching that are exploding on the ‘net. From Instructables to Howcast (the latter is where I learned how to fix the overflow valve on my toilet) to this young man, Salman Khan of Khan Academy, most of this sort of teaching will be pooh-poohed by traditionalists and seen as augmenting existing meatspace education in buildings.

Fortunately, people like Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen see things differently. Christensen has described the three stages of disruption, the status quo will first see disruptors like Khan as “crappy” and ignore them, then they’ll become “less crappy” and early adopters will flock to them, and when they become “good enough” is the tipping point when disruptors kill status quo industries and yes, education is an industry since they still teach using an industrial age, factory model.

Watch this six minute video (discovered via Sid Yadav) and you’ll see what I mean about what one disruptor guy is doing for math education: