Justin Reich at Ed Week is sponsoring the MTT2K contest offering up to $750 to the best video “critique” of a Khan Academy video. The first winner is an over the top snark fest. Why would they be handing out prizes for best troll? Did I miss some announcement where Ed Week got acquired by 4Chan? Paying people to snark seems wasteful, the people on the Internet will gladly post snark for free.
For whatever reason bashing Khan seems to be the trending topic. Audrey Watters at Hack Education, jumped into the fray last week comparing the millions of students at Khan Academy with McDonald’s customers. Her blog post seems to extend on a tweet she made while Sal Khan was presenting at BbWorld. After careful reading I see that she does raise an important question which is, “Is the Hack Education Blog is more like Denny’s or the Waffle House?” My answer is that it doesn’t matter because either way you are getting a big plate full of crap.
I suppose I should try to elevate the level of discourse here and provide points, counterpoints and such. It is difficult though, as the arguments raised against him seem more based on emotion rather than reason. I understand that there are highly effective math teachers and programs out there who don’t have the same visibility as Khan Academy. I think humans tend to be tribal and I can see where it is possible that Khan presents a challenge to the current leadership structure of the tribe and perhaps is creating an alternate tribe. This is a very emotional response though, not a rational one.
I suppose my reaction is emotional as well. I am a bit of a math geek, but it has always been a struggle for me. I was working on a problem a few years ago and found myself in need of a refresher on some bits of linear algebra. It was during that time that I came across one of Mr. Khan’s You Tube videos. It really helped me out quite a bit and since then I’ve been hooked. So here I am on my own blog reacting to the snarky attacks on Khan Academy with snark of my own.
I hope this bit of introspection has amused you. It certainly amused me.