Khan Academy

Why it’s going to be awesome:
1. Video education means that students can learn at their own pace, teachers are there only to help students along if/when they get stuck
2. It only costs as much as you pay for the Internet, so it is free
3. Hopefully Khan University will be the harbinger of the future

My personal opinion why it’s awesome:
In my opinion Khan Academy will definitely be the stepping stone towards future in education.
When I was a little boy one of my favourite movies was Starship Troopers, there I saw the amazing future where in the school the students did not have to lug around big bags filled with textbooks and workbooks, every classroom simply had a device similar to the iPad where all the school material resided in. Now, years later when everybody has an iPad or laptop, I can say with certainty that it is a future that we will soon have with the Khan Academy!
They currently have around 2000 videos on maths and of course the interactive tasks you can do. And personally I like this very much because I suck at math. I will obviously begin using Khan Academy in my math studies and see how it goes. I can not give my full evaluation but what I have seen thusfar is amazing.
So yeah… I think it is very awesome!

Just awesome:
The ITGS triangle and Khan Academy:
IT systems: analyse the hardware and software necessary to implement Khan Academy as a learning tool in an average Estonian school
In this matter there are three ways, there are the two cheap-ish ways and the big spender way. I am going to analyze all of them in order.
First cheap-ish way, for this we have to turn our eyes South-West to Argentina where there is a government-led programme titled simply “Laptop per child”. The idea is very simple: cheap laptops with very basic operating systems are given to children for free for them to do their school-related things.
I suspect that Ordi could accomplish this in Estonia if they really wanted to.
The total cost would probably be around 20-60 Euros per laptop, multiplied by all the first graders in Estonia in 2011, which should be 13 992 and arrive at a total sum that is between 279 840 and 839 520 Euros. Cheap-ish.

Second cheap-ish way is to put video projectors in every classroom, project Khan Academy and let students copy-paste things old school pen and paper way.
If we take the 13 992 students again and divide by 30 students per classroom we will need to put projectors into 466 classrooms, cheap projectors cost around 100 Euros thus the total sum would be 46 600 Euros minus the cost of pens and papers. Rather cheap really.

And then the big-spender way, give every child a personal computer or a tablet or furnish classrooms with Windows Surface-type of tables, apply some Firefox and Facebook or Google and Khan Academy will arrive at everyone’s fingertips. Literally. The total cost of this would be astronomical but it sure would look cool and like something from a science fiction movie.

Area of impact: education: Evaluate the possibilities of Khan Academy changing something permanently in education
This all depends on whether Khan Academy becomes ‘mainstream’ or not. By that I mean whether schools begin using Khan Academy or not. If yes then the education system will be changed permanently for years to come.
Students can choose their own pace for studying and they can repeat things until they understand all of it thoroughly. Instead of just sitting, listening and noting down what the teacher says students can actually now take control and study themself for themselves.
School as a concept will change as well. Schools will just become places where students gather if they really want to have contact with eachother for study groups or just group work and teachers will be there to give examples or assistance ‘old school’.

Of course there are minus sides as well. What motivates the students to carry on studying if they can control when and how they study? If a student decides that he does not want to carry on studying then there is nothing to stop him from skipping ‘school’ and school work.

For all of this to work Khan Academy has to first cover everything there is to cover in a curriculum and then find a way to make it favorable enough for the schools to adopt it.

Social and ethical concerns: Identify and evaluate at least two social/ethical concerns related to implementing Khan Academy in Estonian schools
I believe the ethical side is the language. Khan Academy is versatile enough to be implemented since Day 1 of school therefore what stops an Estonian youngster from choosing English to remain his or her primary language? What stops the Estonian language from dying out? On one hand it would be beneficial for Estonia to become a fluent English-speaking country, on the other hand what is the point of having a cultural country without the main cultural element: the language. It is great to think of an unified Europe speaking one country but ethically it is impossible to mix such diverse cultures.
Though seeing as we already abolished one cultural element we had, the Estonian kroon, then abolishing the language sounds impossible unless it happens willingly and unknowingly, a very Orwellian topic indeed.

The social side is the teachers. After setting up the Khan study system what stops the teachers from leaving? A lot of the teachers teach because they enjoy the contact with students. If all they do is stare at changing numbers on computer screens they will eventually get bored and move on to other things or only carry on doing the teaching thing as a part time job which might mean they check Khan only like once a week thus the point of Khan Academy being semi-real time disappears.