Thursday, February 14, 2013

Or You Could Read a Book

Andrew Leonard:

I barged into my son’s room on Wednesday afternoon to ask him when he wanted dinner, and discovered him watching a Khan Academy video to help with his chemistry homework. And I thought: that story I’ve been working on about the backlash against MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses)? Why am I even bothering? The war is already over. Debating the value of online education at the current moment in history makes about as much sense as questioning the tactics of the losing Roman generals in the great third century B.C. battle of Cannae. Perhaps of some interest to academics, but moot. Hannibal kicked ass. End of story.

The clear alternative scenario here is "My son was re-reading the chapter in his textbook to do his chemistry homework." If he can do that does he need to go to college? When did we decide that video was so much better than books?

I'm never going to have an intuitive feel for this particular thread because I'd rather just read. Video is slow, and to be honest I feel like a nerd watching any kind of video lecture in a way I never do reading. Do I really have nothing better to do than watch this person talking on my computer?

I would also note that our new, national K-12 educational policy is singularly focused on the importance of the reading option for college readiness, which is perhaps strange timing.

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