OLPC & Khan Academy: Future of World Education

As we observe, world of Entertainment and Music is already highly personalized, the iPods and earphones  — and so will be Education!

Today, it’s common knowledge that effectively among the largest shopping mall in the world is Amazon.com, that among the largest marketplace in the world is eBay.com along with now emerging groupon.com.

Similarly, Khan Academy is emerging as the largest academy in the world — and FREE! Thanks to Salman Khan’s vision now being supported by Gates Foundation and several philanthropists.

Of course, schools are good for discipline, social interactions, personal and emotional development,  peer and friends network,  extra-curricular activities sports, music, etc. — and hopefully lasting impressions of good teachers! Too bad –  so many layoffs , so much teacher turnaround!

That said, for any serious promise, or for any real major hope for Urban education reform — in my opinion — fortunately, Khan Academy is emerging as a truly student-centric, self-paced learning system – from catchup-enabling to cerebral-catapulting!

Khan Academy offers high quality education content over the Internet –  anytime! anywhere!! and free!!!  It’s style is self-paced catering to a broad range of students ranging from novice to magnet levels.

Khan Academy connects students, coaches, and parents / guardians! Anybody can watch the educational videos. With just a gmail or facebook id, a student can start practicing, and register teacher, and/or parents / guardians as coaches so they may monitor a student’s progress and intervene when necessary.

Even more important, Khan Academy brings together students from all over the world as we notice from the comments section where more proficient students possibly from a more affluent demographics trying to encourage and enlighten the students from possibly underserved communities! It’s wonderful to witness global peer outreach — and the promise of equality!

Khan Academy knowledge map begins with basic addition and goes up to Calculus, Linear Algebra,  Advance Placement test prep assist, and  Cosmology and Astronomy, Brain Teasers, Economics, and beyond!

Amazing! Yet challenges remain … irony is that students who need it most in Urban Schools can not access Khan Academy easily because of financial challenges — still need a computer or a smartphone and Internet connectivity! Good news is that OLPC XO  seems poised to fit nicely to bring Khan Academy content to students all over the world! The content is already being translated to Spanish Khan Academy Espanol and several languages!

A game-change thinking and awareness expansion is needed in the Urban Schools community among parents and the Educational system — superintendents, administrators, policymakers, principals, and teachers to make appropriate fund and time allocations and prioritize so new Urban America can learn!

* Current Status: Presently, I have been able to launch Khan Academy on XO on both Sugar Browse as well as Firefox on Gnome. Exercise components seem to work. I still need to get the videos to work in terms of Adobe Flash +- Gnash components on Sugar Browse as well as Firefox.

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