George Lucas Educational Foundation

Sal Khan Maps Out Blended Learning

In his signature visual style, Sal Khan sketches a plan for how digital learning tools can make room for teachers and students to embrace more real-life creative learning experiences. Learn more about the Discovery Lab summer camp, or watch an interview with founder Sal Khan where he explains how online learning tools can help classrooms become hubs for hands-on experiences.
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Sal Khan Maps Out Blended Learning (Transcript)

Sal Khan: So when most people think about what education is, there's actually a wide spectrum of stuff. So if you imagine over here, this is kind of the most- the most rote form of education. This is, you know, your multiplication facts or dates in history or vocabulary. And then as you go in this direction you get kind of the more open-ended and creative things. So this is creativity and open-endedness. And what's happening right now is there's definitely creativity and open-endedness happening in classrooms, but I think almost every educator I talk to says that they wish they had more time for doing that type of stuff. So right now our traditional education system is focused kind of on this part of the spectrum. So this is where it's focused now.

Sal: Now what's been interesting about Khan Academy is we've been able to -- with a combination of -- obviously, we've got videos, we've got software, which are our exercises and our dashboards. We're gonna have our community of students who are able to help each other. We think this virtual component can start to address -- can start to address a lot of this. And it goes into things that are quite conceptual and quite open-ended and project-based. We have computer science and other things. We have simulations. A lot of the videos go into the conceptual understanding of things, but the value of what Khan Academy we think can be over time, is not to replace this, by no means to replace this. I have kids myself and I do not want them to just learn from a virtual school or spend all their time in the classroom. We think the opportunity is that the physical classroom then moves over here. It becomes even more open-ended and more creative.

Sal: And so our view of the summer camp is to really experiment with what we can do over here. So this is what we're doing right over here in our discovery lab. And that's why you're gonna see at this "camp" I guess we can call it -- you're gonna see a lot more kinds of simulations. And when I talk about -- we're talking about real world games: kids trading, kids talking to each other. We're gonna see a lot of projects: students building robots, students tearing down electronic devices and figuring out what all of the things do. You're gonna see a lot more real world- real world mathematics, so a lot of probability and statistics, and also kind of tactile mathematics. We will see three-dimensional geometry. These kids are going to build three-dimensional Sierpinskis, tetrahedrons and whatever else. And so, really, this is all about "what could the future of physical classrooms look like". And this is a really important point, because whenever people think about virtual education, they always think of it as an "either/or": oh, virtual education versus physical. But we think virtual education is going to make physical education 1) more valuable and, in actuality, it makes it even more valuable. So, ironically, the kind of -- the schools of the future, "the physical" in our minds, are going to become even more important. And so what we're hoping to do is we're gonna experiment with all these things, see what works, what doesn't work and then see if we can scale it up to the rest of the world. We can share what has worked, and so any teacher, any student, any parent anywhere can do some of these simulations, projects and real-world games.

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  • Director: Zachary Fink
  • Editor: Stanislav Basovich
  • Camera: Mario Furloni
  • Audio: Thomas Gorman
  • Digital Media Curator: Amy Erin Borovoy
  • Executive Producer: David Markus

More Edutopia Coverage on Khan Academy:

  • VIDEO: Salman Khan on Liberating the Classroom for Creativity

    The founder of Khan Academy discusses how his videos can help create a "flipped classroom" that allows blended learning, where online lectures can happen at home and project-based learning can happen during school.

  • VIDEO: Khan Academy Explores Hands-On Learning

    Khan Academy's video lectures have the potential to free up time for more hands-on learning in the classroom. In their Discovery Lab summer camp, Khan Academy staff experimented with project-based learning activities to build better student engagement.

  • BLOG: Khan Academy's Discovery Lab -- Summer Camp Where STEM Meets PBL

    Director Minli Virdone describes Khan Academy's Discovery Lab summer camp, where, among other hands-on projects, 5th, 6th, and 7th graders learn by reverse engineering common household objects.

  • BONUS VIDEO: Sal Khan Maps Out Blended Learning

    In his signature visual style, Khan sketches a plan for how digital learning tools can make room for teachers and students to embrace more real-life creative learning experiences.

Find more information about Khan Academy's Discovery Lab.

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Hillary Hill's picture
Hillary Hill
Social Media Marketing Associate at Edutopia

What a great video from Sal Khan. I definitely think that the future of learning will be a hybrid of the physical classroom and online learning. I love the idea for more open thinking and experimenting with real-world simulations. I couldn't think of a better way to prepare a student for real-world scenarios.

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