Peer review by internet

There’s plenty of support and plenty of criticism for the Khan Academy videos.

Math Hombre have a sarcastic review  of a KA lesson about multiplying negative numbers that does make some valid points about the video’s shortcomings.

So a big thumbs up to the Khan Academy for their quick response to the negative comments. They pulled the video and replaced it with a much better version of the topic. It’s interesting to speculate what the end product might be like after a few cycles of this critique and response cycle.

There’s a marked contrast between the type of comments about the video on the math hombre blog site and the direct youtube site – people either love the KA videos (video users who’ve found the instruction helpful) or love to hate them (more likely to be an educationalist and the videos fail to develop conceptual understanding) – an internet version of Math Wars. Still there’s no escaping the fact that when it comes to an organised collection of video presentations of math topics, the Khan Academy video collection seems to meet a need, and has achieved it’s current status, for better or worse, because at present it doesn’t have any significant competition.

Dan Meyer suggested writing a critique on any KA video would be a good way to assess pedagogical knowledge and it seems that that idea has grown into a competition for the best Entertaining and Enlightening video posted to youtube featuring a Khan Academy video. It’s a great idea and I’m looking forward to seeing which videos come under more scrutiny, and what modifications are made to the Khan videos as a result.

The competition offically closes August 15, but who knows where it will go from there. Maybe peer reviews will be available for any type of educational material on the web and the standard of educational web resources will grow exponentially as a result. Fingers crossed!

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