David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

The Classroom of the Future

Salman Khan envisions the kind of school he would like to send his own son to. In a way it resembles the one-room schoolhouses of yesteryear, where teachers and peers alike are empowered to act as mentors, humanizing the classroom.

Sal Khan is an accidental innovator. It's an accident that generations of learners--young and old--stand to benefit from. Khan began his journey when he offered to tutor a younger cousin who had fallen behind in basic math, despite showing Khan signs of her strong reasoning skills.  Khan's remote tutoring via phone calls and web chats proved so successful that he began fielding similar requests from other family members and quickly reached the limits that this one-to-one approach would permit.

At the suggestion of a colleague, Khan began to record his mini-lectures on topics ranging from calculus to biology and posted them on YouTube.  Even as Khan reclaimed time for himself and his own young family, his pupils grew dramatically in number, as students the world over discovered his offerings.  Khan soon began to receive feedback from his cousins, and perfect strangers alike, that self-paced nature of learning through his short tutorial videos was a major advantage over the group-paced teaching students were receiving in their classrooms.  In doing so, Khan stumbled on an insight that may ultimately be regarded as a practical revolution in our approach to teaching and learning.

Khan's innovation challenged a long-standing premise of classroom learning -- that all students had to learn at the same pace given the practical limits of tutoring each according tot their own individual progress.  Regardless of whether any given student fully grasped a given concept, such as the sixth grade algebra that had challenged Khan's young cousin, the class would move on to the next topic. Over time, gaps in a student’s education start to reveal themselves.  Khan describes this as “Swiss cheese gaps” that keep building because of things students had missed previously.  All of a sudden a good student starts failing calculus because they haven’t achieved mastery at earlier levels and, in so doing, their confidence erodes in ways that reinforce self-perceptions of inadequacy or even incompetency.

By removing the one-size-fits-all lecture from class and allowing teachers to invest more time on working with students in smaller groups geared toward their specific skill level, Khan is empowering a method of self-paced learning that is fundamentally different from this traditional model of education. In this clip, Sal Khan explains the insight that video tutorials have the power to flip old models of teaching on their head -- now students can consume the 'lectures' as videos at their own pace, starting and stopping as necessary, and time with teachers in the classroom in more hands-on engagement more akin to homework or project-based assignments.

Watch the video below, right here:


Check out the Khan Academy and take courses on a wide variety of subjects, from biology modules, such as Introduction to Evolution and Natural Selection, to lessons on such far reaching topics as the economics of the Geithner Plan to solve the banking crisis, Derivatives, the Scale of the Galaxy, and the French Revolution

LIVE EVENT | Radical innovation: Unlocking the future of human invention

Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

Keep reading Show less

Bubonic plague case reported in China

Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.

Vials Of Bacteria That May Cause Plague Missing From TX University

(Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Getty Images)
  • The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
  • Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
  • Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Keep reading Show less

Self-driving cars to race for $1.5 million at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ​

So far, 30 student teams have entered the Indy Autonomous Challenge, scheduled for October 2021.

Illustration of cockpit of a self-driving car

Indy Autonomous Challenge
Technology & Innovation
  • The Indy Autonomous Challenge will task student teams with developing self-driving software for race cars.
  • The competition requires cars to complete 20 laps within 25 minutes, meaning cars would need to average about 110 mph.
  • The organizers say they hope to advance the field of driverless cars and "inspire the next generation of STEM talent."
Keep reading Show less

The dangers of the chemical imbalance theory of depression

A new Harvard study finds that the language you use affects patient outcome.

Image: solarseven / Shutterstock
Mind & Brain
  • A study at Harvard's McLean Hospital claims that using the language of chemical imbalances worsens patient outcomes.
  • Though psychiatry has largely abandoned DSM categories, professor Joseph E Davis writes that the field continues to strive for a "brain-based diagnostic system."
  • Chemical explanations of mental health appear to benefit pharmaceutical companies far more than patients.
Keep reading Show less

Navy SEALs: How to build a warrior mindset

SEAL training is the ultimate test of both mental and physical strength.

Scroll down to load more…