Won’t it be nice if one is allowed to learn subject of interest (e.g. Math) of 10’Th standard in 8’th or 9’th and then take a weak subject (say biology) for a whole year of 10’th. (Assuming after 10’Th class one selects the branches like Arts, Commerce and Science for further studies.)
Won’t this system provide a better understanding of each subject and then just achieving pass marks in tougher subject to move to next standard? This system may even allow us to learn 100% of each subject as it will help us to work on our weaknesses without rushing through them. It would be also fun and less stress if one can learn with our own speed and interest.
Also a system like this will help an extraordinary students to move past the current system of learning step by step through every class and standard and also help weaker once to strengthen the concepts once again. It is no more a dream. In today’s world it is becoming possible through many MOOC initiatives. A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web.
As I am writing today, khan Academy have 26,790 videos 1,584,283 subscribers and 344,888,529 views to their Youtube channel. This is an incredible achievement for an online educational academy. They are truly on their path of their mission “to provide a world-class education for anyone, anywhere.”
For those who live in stone age and not aware of it, they can find more information at their site https://www.khanacademy.org/ or see a TED video at http://www.ted.com/talks/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education.html Youtube channel is at http://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy
Along with all the teaching videos, the site has exercises and batches for each topic.
Area which is of specific interest for me is their concepts of Knowledge Maps. Basically knowledge maps looks like below, where different topics are correlated with one another and one can navigate logically from one topic to another in forward or reverse direction.
Like for example someone wants to learn probability, he can start with “Understanding Probability” topic and then can keep exploring and learning more advanced (or related ) topics thereafter like “finding Probability”, “Probability Models” and then further into “Permutations”, “Combinations” and “probability with permutation and combination” .
So it basically enables one to learn and explore his / her areas of interest.
Other similar initiatives are (source wiki)
Though there are many positives with this but there are few points which calls for a discussion:
Can these courses (focus on Khan Academy) be applicable as is in our country like India?
a. What can we do to make it applicable?
Will schools and educationalist in India be open and courageous to try out new models in education and embrace IT?
a. This allows the option to learn at home and practice (homework) / discussions in schools. A very powerful concept.
b. Teacher’s role changes to guides and mentors.
c. Learning for Knowledge and not for exams.
d. Abolishing standard tests and expectations every year. (except for 10’th , when one needs to select career direction.)
Can parent accept no results and grade at the end of every year? Can they accept their kids 2 years behind in one subject and 1 year ahead in another?
Will Kids embrace IT with caution and remain focused, or it’ train wreck ahead? Does the concept of flexibility is getting taken too far? Will kids learn if given a choice or rigor of schools is the only option?
With the help of Aakash tablet or free laptops to all (and these courses) can the quality of learning be raised across the board (including villages) or there will be new divide, with IT and without. (Today we have a divide with Kids in private schools and kids in Govt. School)