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 School of the Future

Salman Khan: When you are 14, you need to be learning…that’s silly. You need to be learning exponents once you really understand multiplication.  And you need to be learning negative number once you really understand the number line.  Once you get rid of the stigma and you open it up and everyone’s a learner and everyone’s just on the same playing field, it actually is empowering for everyone.  

I have a two-year-old son named Ron and obviously I care about what his academic experience is going to look like.  And I’m hoping that when he’s five or six that he goes to a classroom that not only has five or six-year-olds in it, but it has kids of all ages in one classroom.  It’s kind of a reversion back to the one-room schoolhouse.  And when he goes to that classroom, some part of his day, and I’m not talking about the whole day, maybe 20 or 30 minutes of the day, especially for the core subjects, are spent on the Khan Academy watching videos.  And by that time it won’t just be mathematics and science.  It’ll be grammar, it’ll be vocabulary.  

He starts at the most basic concepts, he doesn’t more on to more advanced concepts until he shows that he is 110 percent proficient on the more basic ones and then it moves them on.  And he gets data and he gets feedback and his teachers get feedback.  And the paradigm is that all of these students at all different ages are all going to be working at their own pace in every class, in grammar, in mathematics, in everything.  The teacher, instead of having to give this one-size-fits-all lecture to everybody, he or she can now look at the data and see where every student is and the software identifies who is stuck.  

The teacher every now and then will sit next to Emron and help Emron as a mentor, actually have that human interaction, and even better, if the teacher isn’t around or even if the teacher is around it might be better for Emron to be tutored by one of his peers, maybe another six-year-old, maybe a 10-year-old who is a little ahead of the curve, who is well-respected as a teacher already.  I mean, what’s really exciting about this is this is an interactive experience.  I cringe at the idea of my son in a room, at the same rooms that I used to sit in, sitting like this, staring at the clock waiting for the bell to ring.  I don’t want him to do that for 12 years.  I want him interacting with his peers.  I want him teaching his peers.  I want my son to be respected in his classroom not because he got a perfect on his SAT’s, not because he’s the smartest kid in the class.  I want him to be respected because he’s the best teacher in the class because he communicates well, because he has empathy for his peers because he’s always willing to stop what he is doing to help one of his friends.  I think if that happens, I wouldn’t worry too much about what my son does afterwards.  



Salman Khan envisions the school of the future, where mastery and empathy are the core values, and the curriculum is driven by self-paced learning.

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

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.

  • The fact that U.S. Navy SEALs endure very rigorous training before entering the field is common knowledge, but just what happens at those facilities is less often discussed. In this video, former SEALs Brent Gleeson, David Goggins, and Eric Greitens (as well as authors Jesse Itzler and Jamie Wheal) talk about how the 18-month program is designed to build elite, disciplined operatives with immense mental toughness and resilience.
  • Wheal dives into the cutting-edge technology and science that the navy uses to prepare these individuals. Itzler shares his experience meeting and briefly living with Goggins (who was also an Army Ranger) and the things he learned about pushing past perceived limits.
  • Goggins dives into why you should leave your comfort zone, introduces the 40 percent rule, and explains why the biggest battle we all face is the one in our own minds. "Usually whatever's in front of you isn't as big as you make it out to be," says the SEAL turned motivational speaker. "We start to make these very small things enormous because we allow our minds to take control and go away from us. We have to regain control of our mind."
Keep reading Show less

NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Keep reading Show less

New guidelines redefine 'obesity' to curb fat shaming

Is focusing solely on body mass index the best way for doctor to frame obesity?

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • New guidelines published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal argue that obesity should be defined as a condition that involves high body mass index along with a corresponding physical or mental health condition.
  • The guidelines note that classifying obesity by body mass index alone may lead to fat shaming or non-optimal treatments.
  • The guidelines offer five steps for reframing the way doctors treat obesity.
Keep reading Show less