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Open Education

December 27, 2010

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to listen to Salman Khan.  Mr. Khan is the Founder, Executive Director, and Faculty of the Khan Academy. He started the Khan Academy as a way to tutor his cousins remotely–while he was a hedge fund analyst in Boston, and they were students in New Orleans. He started posting videos on YouTube, and more and more people kept watching…. including Bill Gates, who has stated he uses the tutorials with his own children.

Mr. Khan made a very interesting comment during his presentation.

He stated “never before in history has information and instructional materials that are used by the richest people in the world to educate their children also been available to everyone.”

There are numerous implications of this type of open education on traditional public schools.  I feel that many are beneficial, including what I see as the leading benefit right now – these resources are available to all of us…. for free!

Here are a few excellent examples of other Internet resources for teachers and students at different levels:

• National History Education Clearinghouse – http://teachinghistory.org – Extensive links to primary sources and guides for grades K-12.

• Library of Congress – http://www.loc.gov/teachers – The world’s largest library features tools for using primary sources, with links to collections of documents and images on a range of topics as well as online training resources.

• National Archives – http://www.archives.gov/education – Multiple ways to explore interactive collections of primary sources.

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