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我的教学梦 精选

已有 11852 次阅读 2007-8-24 17:21 |个人分类:白话人生|系统分类:科研笔记

 

       美国的教育界流传着一个让老师和学生都难以笑出的玩笑。玩笑的主角叫Rip Van Winkle,是二百年前美国纽约上州Catskill山脚下的一位老实巴交的村夫,因受不了老婆整日的唠叨,逃进深山。在山里,他遇到了英国航海探险家哈德逊及其船员们的灵魂,一起玩了一场野外保龄球,喝了一场酒后,就在一棵大树荫下睡着了。一觉醒来,20年已过去,回到村里,老婆和亲朋好友都死了,他自己也因言行不和时宜惹了许多麻烦。其实这个故事是基于一个德国的民间传说,而德国的故事又源自中国的围棋神话传奇:晋人王质上山砍柴,遇仙童下围棋而观之;一局未了,发现斧柯已烂,回家后父老乡亲皆亡,一打听,方知已过去了两代时光。今天,浙西衢州还有座烂柯山,不但记载着传奇,而且还是道教的“洞天福地”。

 

       玩笑的大意是说这次Winkle百年一觉醒来,已是二十一世纪的今天,却感到醒来后比睡着时还稀里糊涂,不知身在什么世界。好不容易问到一个厕所,进去后却不敢造次: 太干净太漂亮了,还有一些花花绿绿不断闪来闪去、根本就不知为何物的东西。特别令他不安的是似乎男女老幼都患了某种怪病,要手举一个怪里怪气的小东西到耳边,自言自语喜怒无常。一天他偶然闯进一个教室,两眼顿然发光:终于知道自己在哪里了!禁不住大喊了一声:“这是一个教室!”,又补充道:“二百年前我就在这样的地方读书,不过当时的黑板现在怎么成了绿板了?学生能看清上面的字么?”

 

       近几年没有实实在在的在一线教书,但仍关注新的教学技术和方法的讨论和发展。1992年一个偶然的机会,使我萌生了建一个网上控制实验室的想法,并在五年后获得了美国基金委和亚利桑纳州百万美元的资助,成立了WAVES实验室(Web-based Audio/Video Educational Systems,网上音视化教育实验室),同年还在工学院老院长的鼓动下加入美国工程教育学会(ASEE),希望能及时全面的了解工程教育的状况。1998年,一位浙大的老校友表示愿意出资利用新技术在国内办一所新型的大学,可惜当时的政策不允许。 2004年,我还专门赴美参加了一周的LCELearner Centered Education)教学培训,并在西安交通大学郑南宁校长的帮助下,计划在西交大的软件学院进行试验。

 

就在几天前,一位十多年前跟我做机器人远程控制的美国学生Williams来看我,方知他毕业后还一直从事网络化教学工作,刚受新西兰政府之邀去Auckland大学帮助建立远程教育学院。我还了解到,我的另一位美国学生自己也开了一家网上教育软件系统的公司,记得当时WAVES实验室的一位新加坡同学也表示毕业回国后也要开一个相关的公司。这一切都唤起了我自己的教学梦,下面就是我结合自己在国内有限的教学经历与见闻,对此的一个小结,希望有一天e-Sciencee-Engineering会帮我至少圆了梦中的一部分。

 

1) III教学方法:利用相对于教师独立的教学方法(Instructor Independent Instruction, III),解决教学质量不稳定的问题。

 

存在问题:科学院研究生院教学工作的相当部分由各所的研究员承担,其优点是这些研究人员有丰富的一线科研经验,很强的理论联系实际能力,全面及时的领域前沿知识,等等。但也有缺点,较为突出、研究生反映比较大的就是教学质量不稳定的问题。这个问题的出现有其内在的因素,包括研究人员不是专职专业教师,上课是“副业”且不反映在其工作单位的成绩考评之中,加上科研任务繁重,往往不能保证备课时间。甚至有时来到教室后才开始想:这堂课该如何讲?不得已时只好海阔天空不着边际一通。

 

解决方法:针对课程的基础内容,建立每堂课“固定”的PPT,确保相当比例(比如80%)的讲课内容不需要任课老师重新准备,从而实现相对于授课老师独立的教学,进而保证教学内容的相对稳定;在此基础上,实现稳定的高质量教学。同时,为确保教学创新和及时反映领域前沿知识,并反映授课老师的个人风格和特色知识,仍然留出一定比例的“柔性”空间(比如20%),由老师自我发挥。当然,应对哪些课程适于III方法进行预先分析,对于实行III教学的课程,也应对固定部分的内容制度化的定期审核,防止内容退化,老化和无用化。

 

2)网上实验室:通过网上实验室低成本高质量地进行灵活有效的教学实验,达到“硬”实验“软”化、“软”实验“硬化”,解决学生实践经验不足,“害怕”动手和“恐惧”实验的心理。

 

存在问题:历史上,长期的科举体制,已在我们评价传统上形成了“读书”优于“动手”的潜意识。近代的考试制度,特别是从小学到大学的升级考试制度与实践,更是从幼年到成年系统性的形成了事实上的“应试”文化和心态。例如,国外中小学中常见的学生自发组织的课外活动,如趣味小组和专题俱乐部,在中国却并不普及,有些地方甚至还落后于文革时期的水平。而且,风行国外大学的学生自主的活动团体,在中国只能说是处在“萌芽”阶段。造成这种情况的另一个“物质”上的原因就是:过去我们的实验装置数量不足、水平不高,特别是管理和利用的水平不高。无论如何,这种情况造成的后果之一就是有些学生的“眼高手低”、“思远行近”,甚至产生“害怕”动手和“恐惧”实验的心理。个人的海外经历也使我感到,与国外大学生,特别是美欧大学生相比,我们留学生的动手和组织能力相对弱势。当然这里有相当的“人生地不熟”所引发的心理因素。不管怎样,这种状况十分不利于科技创新,特别是产业方面的科技创新。

 

解决方法:可用三句话慨之,一是“硬”实验的“软”化,二是“软”实验的“硬化”,三是软硬各类实验的网络化、即时化、个性化。主要思想是通过计算机通信和人机交互方法,特别是动漫和游戏技术,简化或“软”化一些过程复杂、周期长的自然科学“硬”实验,实化或“硬”化一些描述抽象、范围广的社会科学“软”实验;主要手段就是网络化,即通过网络实现异地、随时、按个别需求进行实验,也就是实验的即时化和个性化。针对目前许多大学院所的教学实验设施的维护困难,使用率低,多为低水平重复建设等问题,可以集中设立高水平的国家或区域性的网络化教学实验室,向相关大学院所开放,甚至向社会开放共享,即通过减少社会上实验室的数目来提高国家教育实验系统的质量和利用效率,也使建立长期稳定高水平的实验支持人员队伍成为现实。显然,一些实验的“硬”化、“软”化和网络化的过程可能会使它们失去原来的一些特性甚至“失真”。对此我们的看法是应当至少保持80%的“真实性”,满足至少80%的学习者的需求,以便帮助大多数学生克服“害怕”动手和“恐惧”实验的心理,从而低成本高质量地服务大多数学生的素质培养和学习要求。少数立志专门研究的学生,可作专门专业的实验安排。

 

3)信息高科技的应用:通过信息搜索和数据挖掘等知识工程方法,使每门课的教与学演绎成自己的数字化、网络化、开放和活性的“历史”与“社会”平台,不但提高学习效率,保障教学质量,也有利于促进“终身学习”风气的形成。

 

存在问题:大学时读化工,上许多课时有一种“五不知”的感觉:一不知过去课程是如何上的,二不知现在又要怎样上,三不知将来此课有何用如何用,四不知课堂外有何材料可用,五不知有什么相关的知识可以利用;往往课程开始时稀里糊涂,学期结束时算是明白了,其实是明白了这原来就是一门该糊涂的课。相信今天的教学质量已非昔比,但我感觉这“五不知”的问题在不同程度上依然存在,特别是学习时需要答案的那一刻不能立即找到答案,过后可以找到,却可能没了兴趣甚至还忘了为什么要那个答案。相信今天的信息高技术在此可大有作为。

 

解决方法:第一个不知可以通过建立课程的“数据场”及相关的数据挖掘技术来解决,由此形成课程本身的数字化历史。同时开发针对本课程的专用深度和广度的搜索引擎方便师生进行各类搜索活动,在此基础上,自然也就解决了第二至第五个不知的问题。更深入地,还可以建立课程自己的知识表示体系,产生自己的“二十四史”,形成自己的“百科全书”。届时,普在或普适通信与计算、网格知识和平台体系、加上博客、掘客、还有现在还不知名的未来“怪”客,都将在此大有用武之地,使学习者能够随事、随时、随地,得到随想问题的答案。

 

4)虚拟现实和动漫游戏与趣味学习:通过虚拟现实方法和动漫游戏技术,构建形象具体和人物互动的教学环境和学习过程,提高学习兴趣和效率,实现“玩”中学和学中“玩”的娱乐型学习方式。

 

存在问题:学习“必须”是一件“苦”差事,从古时“悬梁刺骨”的传说,到今日小学生“披星戴月”、身背“书山”的现实都见证了读书之不易,是件很“苦”的差事。学习还“必须”是一件“难”差事,对老师对学生都一样;知识是高尚神圣的,岂能轻而易举就学到手?老师讲得抽象,本是就这样嘛,有问题也是学生脑袋瓜的问题,不是“那块料”。记得读研究生时有位老师,每次问他问题总是觉得其回答太抽象且不对题,他讲得越多,我也就越来越糊涂,甚至怀疑自己根本就不是读这门课的料;后来自己从事这方面的研究,才开始反过来怀疑是不是老师有问题?学习真应是件既“苦”又“难”的差事吗?如果这样,我就不想进行什么终身学习。学习对我,应不只是工作和谋生,更主要的应是乐趣。

 

解决方法:相信目前正在兴起的动漫游戏和已有的虚拟现实技术可以使学习成为“乐”事和“易”事,我甚至认为将来多数人的工作就是“玩”游戏:通过游戏进行学习、通过游戏进行研究。在写WAVES的立项申请书时,我提出了利用虚拟现实和名人讲课的录象,将学习“剧场”化或“电视剧”化,让上课和看电视剧一样有趣。同时,通过允许学生随时提问,并请网上在线的TA(教学助理)实时解答,达到师生互动,又降低教学成本。我的一位新加坡学生为此还做了一个原型设计。近来兴起的决策剧场(Decision Theater)虚拟现实技术可以直接用来实现这种想法,形成教学剧场(Teaching Theater)的虚拟现实。如何利用动漫游戏和虚拟现实,使抽象的知识具体化、现实化、互动化,从而提高学习兴趣和效率,是一个十分有意义的研究领域。

 

5)人工师生与“虚实”平行教学(Artication):利用社会计算方法,通过生成各种类型的人工“学生”和“教师”代理,构建人工“课堂”和“学习”过程,进而实现人工与实际并行的平行教学环境,对教学方法和过程进行实时评估、实验和管理。

 

存在问题:如何及时地对一门课程的教学进行监控、评估和管理,是一个现实而又很少系统化研究的问题。对于新教师或新课程,这尤其是个严重的问题。目前只能凭老师的责任心和事后学生的评语,即不客观也难公正。而且,即便是客观公正,学生的“损失”亦已造成、无法换回。还有,教学过程中想作一下修改或实验,更只能全凭感觉和经验,无法较为科学地预先作一个评估,然后决策。

 

解决方法:近年来,我一直“鼓吹”基于“人工社会,计算实验,平行执行”的ACP 方法或Artience方法,主要用于处理复杂系统的决策支持,相信这一方法也可用于教学的评估和管理。主要思想就是产生人工或虚拟的师生,构造人工的“课堂”、学习“环境”和“过程”,尽可能使人工师生与现实师生背景与能力相近,将同样的教学方法与步骤同时用于人工和真实的师生,对教学效率进行对比评比,以此对教学进行实时的评估、实验和管理。我们不妨将这种方法称为并行教学或人工教育Artication(由Artificial Education两个英文词合并而成)。可能这种想法看来疯狂,但我觉得现有的条件就可以实现初步Artication的简化版,并与现行的评估方法不悖,且使其实施的更加有效。当然,真正的Artication需要大量长期的教学心理学和社会学知识的积累。

 

6LCE教学体系:通过综合上述的各种新的教与学方法,并进一步扩展,逐步将我们传统上大学生的以教师为中心的教育(TCE)方法,研究生的以学生为中心的教育(SCE)方法, 转为考虑师生能力与背景的互动式的、以学习者为中心的教育(LCE)方法。

 

存在问题:我们目前的教学方法似乎集中在两个极端,就是大学生以下的教育多是按以教师为中心的教育(Teacher-Centered Education, TCE)进行,而研究生以上多为以学生为中心的教育(Student-Centered Education, SCE, 一个是“填鸭式”,一个是“放羊式”,显然各有弊端。学生的能力,老师的能力,学习的环境与条件皆不在教学的考虑之中,指标是“硬”的、内容是“铁”的、结果往往造成“形式化”的教与学,学生毕业之后,却不能按培养的目标服务于社会。这在西方国家也逐渐成为问题,以至于硕士生成为大学生,博士毕业后还得博士后。今天,学生要学的课程远比过去多、内容翻新的更快,迫切需要从新的角度审视我们的教育思想和方法体系。但目前最主要的问题,我认为还是教与学之间关系的失衡,太强调教的作用和效果,忽视了学的能力和条件。

 

解决方法:TCESCE是教学的两个极端,而以学习者为中心的教育(Learner-Centered Education, LCE)介于两者之间。这些方法之间的关系,每每使我想起中国思想史上关于知行之间关系的争论,从先知后行到先行后知、从知行合一到知行相资等观点的形成与研究。什么是LCE,至少世上并无一个完全不存在争议的完美定义,但大家公认的LCE 主要特点包括把师生都作为学习过程中的学习者、考虑师生的个人能力与背景安排教学、根据学生的需要和水平布置内容、目地是将学生培养成独立的学习者、了解自己掌握相应的知识等等。说LCE新,但却有很久的历史,西方教育家甚至认为春秋的孔子和雅典的苏格拉底是LCE的鼻祖;说LCE老,却又是西方近十年来刚刚兴起的教育思想。对于LCE的作用,我也在认识阶段,但认为应下功夫研究实施。LCE发展的瓶颈一是在哲学认识上,二是在心理知识上,直觉上,LCE应是上述教学方法的集成,是新一代终生学习的基石。

 

胡思乱想了一通,归根结底一个心愿:希望有生之年,能看到信息技术在教育方法中能引发一些“革命”性的变革,使学习“日常化”和“娱乐化”,使学习成为人们生活与工作的主要部分,最后使全民终生学习成为网络化知识时代的主要象征。

 

       二十年之后,中国的王质和美国的Winkle再次醒来,当他们走进我们新的教室时,但愿能够大吃一惊:这是何方神仙的Wonderland ?!

 

 

                            200511月草于图森,20067月草成于北京

 

Harvard and M.I.T. Team Up to Offer Free Online Courses

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/education/harvard-and-mit-team-up-to-offer-free-online-courses.html?src=me&ref=general

By Published: May 2, 2012

Harvard’s involvement follows M.I.T.’s announcement in December that it was starting an open online learning project, MITx. Its first course, Circuits and Electronics, began in March, enrolling about 120,000 students, some 10,000 of whom made it through the recent midterm exam. Those who complete the course will get a certificate of mastery and a grade, but no official credit. Similarly, edX courses will offer a certificate but not credit.

But Harvard and M.I.T. have a rival — they are not the only elite universities planning to offer free massively open online courses, or MOOCs, as they are known. This month, Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan announced their partnership with a new commercial company, Coursera, with $16 million in venture capital.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Thrun, the Stanford professor who made headlines last fall when 160,000 students signed up for his Artificial Intelligence course, has attracted more than 200,000 students to the six courses offered at his new company, Udacity.

The technology for online education, with video lesson segments, embedded quizzes, immediate feedback and student-paced learning, is evolving so quickly that those in the new ventures say the offerings are still experimental.

“My guess is that what we end up doing five years from now will look very different from what we do now,” said Provost Alan M. Garber of Harvard, who will be in charge of the university’s involvement.

EdX, which is expected to offer its first five courses this fall, will be overseen by a nonprofit organization governed equally by the two universities, each of which has committed $30 million to the project. The first president of edX will be Anant Agarwal, director of M.I.T.’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, who has led the development of the MITx platform. At Harvard, Dr. Garber will direct the effort, with Michael D. Smith, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, working with faculty members to develop and deliver courses. Eventually, they said, other universities will join them in offering courses on the platform.

M.I.T. and Harvard officials said they would use the new online platform not just to build a global community of online learners, but also to research teaching methods and technologies.

Education experts say that while the new online classes offer opportunities for students and researchers, they pose some threat to low-ranked colleges.

“Projects like this can impact lives around the world, for the next billion students from China and India,” said George Siemens, a MOOC pioneer who teaches at Athabasca University, a publicly supported online Canadian university. “But if I were president of a mid-tier university, I would be looking over my shoulder very nervously right now, because if a leading university offers a free circuits course, it becomes a real question whether other universities need to develop a circuits course.”

The edX project will include not only engineering courses, in which computer grading is relatively simple, but also humanities courses, in which essays might be graded through crowd-sourcing, or assessed with natural-language software. Coursera will also offer free humanities courses in which grading will be done by peers.

In some ways, the new partnerships reprise the failed online education ventures of a decade ago. Columbia University introduced Fathom, a 2001 commercial venture that involved the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan and others. It lost money and folded in 2003. Yale, Princeton and Stanford collaborated on AllLearn, a nonprofit effort that collapsed in 2006.

Many education experts are more hopeful about the new enterprises.

“Online education is here to stay, and it’s only going to get better,” said Lawrence S. Bacow, a past president of Tufts who is a member of the Harvard Corporation. Dr. Bacow, co-author of a new report on online learning, said it remained unclear how traditional universities would integrate the new technologies.

“What faculty don’t want to do is just take something off the shelf that’s somebody else’s and teach it, any more than they would take a textbook, start on Page 1, and end with the last chapter,” he said. “What’s still missing is an online platform that gives faculty the capacity to customize the content of their own highly interactive courses.”

这是今天,3/11/2012,60 Minutes 里的报道,见附件。

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57394905/khan-academy-the-future-of-education/?tag=contentMain;contentBody

http://www.khanacademy.org/

Khan Academy: The future of education?

 

Watch the Segment »

With the backing of Gates and Google, Khan Academy and its free online educational videos are moving into the classroom and across the world. Their goal: to revolutionize how we teach and learn. Sanjay Gupta reports.

Web Extras

Khan Academy: The future of education?

 

Khan Academy: School of the future

 

Khan Academy in the classroom

 

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(CBS News) Sal Khan is a math, science, and history teacher to millions of students, yet none have ever seen his face. Khan is the voice and brains behind Khan Academy, a free online tutoring site that may have gotten your kid out of an algebra bind with its educational how-to videos. Now Khan Academy is going global. Backed by Google, Gates, and other Internet powerhouses, Sal Khan wants to change education worldwide, and his approach is already being tested in some American schools. Sanjay Gupta reports.

The following script is from "Teacher to the World" which aired on March 11, 2012. Sanjay Gupta is the correspondent. Denise Schrier Cetta, producer. Matthew Danowski, editor.

Take a moment and remember your favorite teacher - now imagine that teacher could reach, not 30 kids in a classroom, but millions of students all over the world. That's exactly what Sal Khan is doing on his website Khan Academy. With its digital lessons and simple exercises, he's determined to transform how we learn at every level. One of his most famous pupils, Bill Gates, says Khan -- this "teacher to the world," is giving us all a glimpse of the future of education.

60 Minutes Overtime

Brain science 101 with Sanjay and Sal Khan »

35-year-old Sal Khan may look like a bicycle messenger, but with three degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard, his errand is intensely intellectual. In his tiny office above a tea shop in Silicon Valley, he settles in to do what he's done thousands of times before.

[Sal Khan: We've talked a lot now about the demand curve and consumer surplus. Now let's think about the supply curve.]

He's recording a 10-minute economics lesson. It's so simple - all you hear is his voice and all you see is his colorful sketches on a digital blackboard.

Watch Internet phenomenon Sal Khan's video lessons

[Khan: In this video we are going to talk about the law of demand.]

When Khan finishes the lecture, he uploads it to his website - where it joins the more than 3,000 other lessons he's done. In just a couple of years he's gone from having a few hundred pupils to more than four million every month.

Sanjay Gupta: Has it sunk in to you that you are probably the most watched teacher in the world now?

Khan: I, you know, I try not to say things like that to myself. You don't want to think about it too much because it can I think paralyze you a little bit.

[Khan: So if we get rid of the percent sign, we move the decimal over...]

He's amassed a library of math lectures...

[Khan: 12 plus four is sixteen...]

Starting with basic addition and building all the way through advanced calculus.

[Khan: We are taking limited delta x approach to zero. It's the exact same thing.]

But he's not just a math wiz, he has this uncanny ability to break down even the most complicated subjects, including physics, biology, astronomy, history, medicine.

Gupta: How much reading do you do ahead of time?

Khan: It depends what I'm doing. If I'm doing something that I haven't visited for a long time, you know, since high school I'll go buy five textbooks in it. And I'll try to read every textbook. I'll read whatever I can find on the Internet.

Sal Khan has tackled so many subjects that if you watched just one of his lectures a day it would take over eight years to cover it all.

[Khan (lesson montage): These are huge time scales...magnetic north is kind of the geographical...and let's say this is point x is equal to, basic introduction...light, if this does not blow your mind, then you have no emotion.]

Gupta: Did you ever think about putting yourself visually in the video?

Khan: Look, if there's a human face there, especially a funny looking human face, than it's actually hard to focus on the math.

[Khan: 4,000 is 2,000 times three is 6,000...]

Khan: I don't have to shave. I don't have to comb my hair. I just press record, make a video. There might be spinach in my teeth, who cares.

Gupta: The format is so simple. Why, does it appeal to so many people?

Khan: I've gotten a lot of feedback that is really does feel like I, I'm sitting next to the person and we're looking at the paper together.

[Khan: Let me take my trusty calculator out...]

Khan: I'm 95 percent of the time working through that problem real time. Or I'm thinking it through myself if I'm explaining something. And to see that it is actually sometimes a messy process. That, you know, it isn't always this clean process where you just know the answer. I think that's what people like, the kind of humanity there.

It all started in 2004 when Sal Khan was working as a hedge fund analyst in Boston and his cousin Nadia, a 7th grader in New Orleans, was struggling with algebra. He agreed to tutor her remotely and wound up posting lessons on YouTube. They helped Nadia, but then an odd thing happened - total strangers started using them too.

Khan: I started getting feedback like, "You know, my child has dyslexia, and this is the only thing that's getting into him." I got letters from people saying, "You know, we're praying for you and your family." That's pretty heady stuff. People don't say that type of stuff to a hedge fund analyst normally.

So in 2009, Khan quit his job and working from a desk set up in his closet devoted himself full time to Khan Academy. It's a non-profit with a simple but audacious mission: "to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere." If that goal sounds far-fetched for a guy working in his closet, consider what happened next.

[Bill Gates: There's a new website that I've just been using with my kids recently called Khan Academy. K-h-a-n. Just one guy doing some unbelievable 15-minute tutorials.]

[Khan: I was like those are just for Nadia, not Bill Gates. I have to look-- take a second look at some of this stuff.]

That's right, Bill Gates, one of the smartest and richest men in the world, was using Sal Khan's free videos to teach his own kids.

Khan: Two weeks later I got a call from Larry Cohen who is Bill Gates' chief of staff. And he says, you know, "You might have heard Bill's a fan." And I'm like shaking. I'm like, "Yeah, I heard." You know. And he was like, "If you have time, you know, love to fly you up to Seattle." And then I was looking at my calendar right then for the month. Completely blank. And I was like, "Yeah, you know, I think I could, you know, fly in, you know, between like laundry and a bath and meet with Bill."

That was just two years ago. Today, with the help of more than $15 million in funding, much of it from the Gates Foundation and Google, Khan has been able to hire with competitive salaries some of the most talented engineers and designers in the country. The Khan Academy office has the intense vibe of a Silicon Valley startup. The team is working to create software they hope will transform how math is taught in American classrooms.

We visited a class in the Los Altos school district outside San Francisco where the new Khan Academy software is being piloted.

[Teacher Courtney Cadwell: Grab your computer, log in and then open Khan Academy...]

Right away you notice something different. There are no textbooks and no teacher lecturing at the blackboard. Instead, students watch Khan videos at home the night before to learn a concept, then they come to class the next day and do problem sets called "modules," to make sure they understand.

If they get stuck they can get one-on-one help from the teacher. Less lecturing, more interaction. What you think of as homework you do at school, and school work you do at home. It's called "flipping the classroom" and 7th grader Laurine Forget says using Khan Academy at home has given her math a big boost.

Laurine Forget: I'm not a big fan of textbooks. I thought that Khan Academy was a lot easier 'cause it's on a screen. It's easy to find the concept you wanna do.

Gupta: And now with the videos, do you find yourself rewinding it? Playing it again if you need to?

Forget: A lot, yeah.

Gupta: Do that at home?

Forget: Yeah, usually when I watch videos it's because I'm having trouble on the practices. So if I don't understand the video, I can always rewind it or pause it so that I can go back to the module and do what I learned.

Gupta: But what's the hardest part about learning this way?

Forget: I don't really think there is a hard part.

Even kids who don't have a computer at home can "flip the classroom." Eastside Prep in east Palo Alto keeps its computer labs open until 10 p.m. so kids like sixth grader Alex Hernandez can take as much time as they need to learn a concept.

Alex Hernandez: My mom, she went to school in Mexico. Some things she can explain to me, but some like she can't. So like, I take long to, like, try to finish my homework.

Gupta: How did you used to do in math?

Hernandez: Pretty bad. Like at a third grade level math. So, you know, Khan Academy has helped me. It's like, opened doors that I couldn't open. It's helped a lot.

Gupta: A lot of people have talked about the idea that "flipping the classroom" is sort of what's happening here. You take a little bit of issue with that.

Khan: I kind of view that as a step in the direction. The ideal direction is using something like Khan Academy for every student to work at their own pace, to master concepts before moving on, and then the teacher using Khan Academy as a tool so that you can have a room of 20 or 30 kids all working on different things, but you can still kind of administrate that chaos.

Khan academy has created a dashboard so teachers like Courtney Cadwell can monitor each student's progress.

Gupta: So right now, they're all working on things. And you can see that real time?

Courtney Cadwell: Yes.

Gupta: So as you sit here and look at the dashboard, you see how the students are doing individually, you can see how they're doing as a whole class, and you can figure out who you need to help?

Cadwell: Exactly. And here I can track their progress over time. I can see who's rushing ahead, who's lagging behind. I can see if they begin to stagnate.

A blue bar indicates a student knows a concept, orange - they're still working on it. But if a red bar pops up...

Cadwell: It's kind of the red flag to tell me, "Hey, it's time to step in and intervene." And I can see...

Gupta: Oh, so you can see, not only it's red, but specifically what the problem is.

Cadwell: What they missed. And you can see the number of seconds they spent on each problem.

Cadwell: I feel like I'm using my time more effectively with my students because instead of making the assumption that the entire class is weak in this area, and I need to spend time reviewing this, I can really pull those three, four, five kids, do a mini-workshop, address those needs, and allow those other students to move on to problem solving activities, or project-based learning with their peers.

So far the National Education Association has supported nonprofit technology like Khan Academy in the classroom, as long as teachers are trained properly. But as with any new innovation, Khan says there are always some skeptics.

Khan: I've seen some subset of teachers who say, "Oh, well, what is this video thing? You know, live human interaction is important." And the reason why that bothers me a little bit is that I know that's exactly what we're saying. In fact, we exactly agree with you. That what we're trying to do is take the passivity out of the classroom. So that you, as a teacher, will have more flexibility.

Gupta: Does it minimize the role of the teacher? Does it make it less impactful?

Khan: No, I think it's the exact opposite. We kind of view teachers playing the role of more like a coach or a mentor. Which, once again, I personally believe is a much higher valued thing than a lecturer.

Khan Academy's math program is being piloted in 23 schools, mostly in California. Preliminary test scores from a handful of classrooms have shown improvements, especially for students who were struggling. Official state assessments will be available this summer.

In the meantime Chief Operating Officer Shantanu Sinha says they're gathering massive amounts of data, not just from American classrooms, but from every Khan Academy user around the world.

Gupta: So you can see how many problems were done over the last 24 hours? How many was it?

Shantanu Sinha: Right now, in the last 24 hours we had close to 1.8 million.

Gupta: Wow! Not total, but just one day?

Sinha: Yeah. Yeah. Just in 20-- in a 24-hour period.

And when you take a look at total users over the last 18 months...

Sinha: Forty-one million visits from the United States. We can look in from India at 1.7 million, Australia, 1.4 million.

Gupta: Right, it is pretty amazing to think that millions of people all over the world are using Khan Academy right now.

Sinha: Yeah, it's a gold mine on how to understand, you know, what paths through learning are most effective.

Khan says they look at all that data and constantly make changes to their software platform.

Khan: We can start fine tuning things the way that Amazon might fine tune the button to help you buy that book or find the book that you want, or Netflix says, "What's the right movie for you?" We now get to do with education.

Eric Schmidt, the pioneering chairman of Google, says he's seen a lot of failed attempts to integrate technology into education - but says what Sal Khan is doing is different.

Schmidt: Many, many people think they're doing something new but they're not really changing the approach. Which with Sal, he said, "What we're going to do is not only we're gonna make these interesting 10-minute videos but we're going to measure whether it works or not."

Gupta: He was the guy to sort of make this happen? What-- why do you think it was him and not some person who was an educator or who had a background in this area?

Schmidt: Innovation never comes from the established institutions. It's always a graduate student or a crazy person or somebody with a great vision. Sal is that person in education in my view. He built a platform. If that platform works, that platform could completely change education in America.

[Khan: 17 over 9 is equal to 1.88...]

Inside classrooms it's just Khan Academy math for now, but Sal Khan believes his strategy can be used to teach subjects like history and science. And not in just elementary schools, but high schools and even colleges. But no matter how big or how successful Khan Academy gets, Sal Khan promises he'll never put a price tag on it.

Khan: The "for profits" have to mold themselves much more to the education establishment than we do. As a not-for-profit, we're just like, "What's our mission?" To educate children, as well as possible. I've said it enough times and it's in our mission statement: a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.

And that's what sixth grader Alex Hernandez says he needs.

Gupta: Has anyone in your family ever gone to college?

Alex Hernandez: No.

Gupta: So it's a pretty big deal for you? Do you think you're going to be able to do it?

Alex Hernandez: With help, or like with more like studying or like Khan Academy, I think I can get there.

Gupta: I think you can too.

 

华尔街日报这篇文章各位理科生怎么看?                                                  

已有 1886 次阅读2012-10-16 11:25|系统分类:观点评述|关键词:华尔街日报 理科生 文章

中国大学能打败美国大学吗?-华尔街日报
美国81%的工程专业毕业生可以立刻胜任工作,而只有25%的印度毕业生做得到这一点,中国的这个比例是10%。中国某大学的系主任对我们说,“中国学生能够照猫画虎地解决一个问题,但一旦需要独创的思维和自己的发明创造时,我们就没辙了。


工程专业毕业生胜任工作比例:美国81%,印度25%,中国10%。

这难道是赤裸裸的真相?


中国大学能打败美国大学吗?
Michael J. Silverstein / Abheek Singhi

印度最好的工程学府之一印度理工学院(Indian Institute of Technology)的德里分校,我们见到了21岁的施拉姆(Shriram)。他在48.5万名参加了该校入学考试的考生中,排名第十九位。我们管他叫第十九先生。这所学院的入学考试对考生要求极高。

施拉姆能告诉你他得知自己考试结果的具体日期和时间。这个考试,以及为之所做的准备,几乎是他青少年时期生活的全部内容。他在很小时就因为在数学和科学方面独具天赋而作为“大天才”被挑选出来。为了备考印度理工学院的入学考试,他报名参加了一个私人培训机构,这家机构专为学生进行备考前的强化训练,训练内容包括物理、化学和数学这些主要的考试科目。按照施拉姆自己的估算,那两年里,他每周学习90个小时。

来到印度理工学院后,施拉姆发现班里都是学习尖子。老师们则对学生寄予着厚望。在第一次数学考试中,他这个一年级班级同学的平均成绩是30%。施拉姆也考得很差,不过很快成绩就升上去了,为此他牺牲掉了部分睡眠,以便能够多些时间用来学习。他说,“长这么大,我最大的愿望就是到这里来。我知道如果我能够进入印度理工学院,学习工程学专业,努力工作,努力学习,那么我们的一生将会完美无憾。我将娶一个漂亮的女孩儿,开一家公司,帮助我的国家发展,实现家族的希望和梦想。”

印度和中国都有竞争激烈的全国统考制度,通过考试帮助国内的顶尖大学选出最聪明的学生。其竞争之激烈、准备过程之艰苦、举国上下对考试结果之焦虑,无不让美国的大学本科入学考试SAT看起来如同儿戏一般。在中国和印度,押在考试成败之上的筹码要沉重得多。那些考入前1%的幸运儿们有机会进入自己选择的大学,未来职业之路从此被引入了快车道,将有更高的收入,并将开始享受中上层阶层的生活。

对于剩下的99%考生而言,统考制度带来的结果并不怎么样。在中国和印度有近4,000万名大学生。大多数人就读的学校只是在以低成本大批量地制造着毕业生而已。学生们抱怨他们所接受的教育如同工厂炮制一般,枯燥乏味。用人单位也是叫苦连天,称许多毕业生需要先重新参加培训,之后方能完全胜任自己的工作。

目前来看,美国的大学体制仍是远远领先。不过再过十年,全球在下一代的教育方面,将有一争,中国和印度有潜力改变当前的力量均衡。随着大量适龄学生即将进入大学求学阶段,这两个国家已经将改革本国大学列为重中之重的首要任务。

中国和印度还有多长的路要走?在波士顿咨询公司(Boston Consulting Group,简称BCG),我们开发了一套新的排名系统,对各国的教育竞争力进行比较,我们称之为BCG E4指数。这套排名基于四个E:Expenditure(开支,即政府和家庭用于教育方面的投入水平);enrollment(人数,即在校就读的学生人数);engineers(工程设计人才,即进入就业大军的合格工程设计人才数量);elite institution(精英学府,即在全球高等教育院校中名列前茅的学校数量)。

美国和英国分列第一和第二位,主要因其教育开支较高,且在全球排名靠前的大学以及工程类院校数量多。中国排名第三,印度是第五,主要是因在校就读人数多(排在第四位的是德国)。美国独占鳌头的原因很明显:其一,美国用在教育上的花费最高,每年的教育开支达9,800亿美元,是中国的两倍,印度的五倍。美国还是生产工程设计人才密度最大的国家,每一百万名居民中就有981个工程专业毕业生,而中国和印度分别是553个和197个。

目前整体而言,美国大学在给学生提供就业准备方面,做得最好。世界经济论坛(World Economic Forum)预计,美国81%的工程专业毕业生可以立刻胜任工作,而只有25%的印度毕业生做得到这一点,中国的这个比例是10%。中国某大学的系主任对我们说,“中国学生能够照猫画虎地解决一个问题,但一旦需要独创的思维和自己的发明创造时,我们就没辙了。我们正在非常努力地弥补这个不足,我们正努力让我们的理工科教育成为解决问题的基础。”

在中国,成立于1898年的北京大学(Peking University)整体实力在国内名列前茅。一位北大的学生以极其严肃的口吻告诉我们,“要能在图书馆占到位子那你运气够好。哪怕是凌晨三点,你在那里都找不到空位。”

目前,北京大学是中国的九校联盟之一,九校联盟是中国借鉴美国常青藤盟校模式、于2009年建立的学校联盟。其目的在于通过九大资金雄厚之院校的合作,吸引到最好的学生和教师。最近,这些院校每家从政府那里得到了2.7亿美元的资金,他们还在吸引“海归”(即那些在海外拿到博士学位的中国学子)回来领导这场中国的文艺复兴,给海归的回迁红包高达15万美元。

尽管这九大院校最有实力闯入全球精英院校之列,不过中国政府还选出了一百家主要大学院校作为第二梯队,政府为这批院校投入了总计28亿美元的资金。

这两批院校在校生之间的差距通常并不十分明显。每年参加中国教育系统全国性高考的高中学生有1,000万人,高考决定了他们的排名以及能够进入哪所大学。高考状元们都成了全国皆知的明星。不过,批评者们认为,高考过于强调记忆能力,依靠对事实的死记硬背以及考生的反应速度就能决定是否可以被大学录取,这未免过于武断。有个最近高中毕业的考生告诉我们,“高考那天我感觉不太舒服,结果我的排名在前10%,不是很好,进不去九校联盟。我感觉好像生命就此完结了似的。”

与中国相比,印度未来要走的路更长。印度理工学院德里分校一位资深系主任说,他每天要面对的事情就是去处理设备短缺、教师的薪酬过低以及学生指标问题,有些时候一些不会说英文或是读懂英文的学生会凭借指标进入大学(这个指标旨在弥补印度种姓制度所造成的后果)。他在自己那间敞着门的酷热办公室里抱怨道,“我们资金不足,教师队伍中拿博士学位的人太少,而我们的入学人数有五分之一被指标生占据了,对此也没有任何补救措施。”

印度大学资金不足的一个原因在于,印度中央政府拿出来的教育经费相对较少,只占教育总开支的15%。印度28个邦的教育开支则因富庶程度和基础设施情况而异,悬殊很大。不过,同中国不一样,印度的私立教育系统很发达,私立学校有近20万家,还有1.7万所私立大学。世界银行(World Bank)和私人投资者正源源不断地将数十亿美元投入印度的教育领域,而印度政府也计划进一步发展壮大印度最知名的综合性大学以及社区院校。当前这个五年计划中建议将教育领域的投资提高到180多亿美元。

不过,即便是加上目前所做的这些努力,中国和印度用于高等教育的资源合在一起也不过是勉强达到了320亿美元──这是哈佛大学(Harvard)一所学校就能筹集到的资金水平。不过在中国和印度这些国家,就成功的基础而言,重要的不只是资金,还有态度。印度理工学院那位第十九先生代表了发愤图强、天资聪慧且有意改善自己生活状态的一代学生。在北京大学一间学生宿舍,贴着的励志箴言反映出了这一代学子上进的决心:“只要功夫深,铁杵磨成针。”

(Silverstein是波士顿咨询公司的高级合伙人,Singhi是波士顿咨询公司在印度的消费者业务部门的合伙人兼主管。本文节选自由哈佛商业评论出版社(Harvard Business Review Press)于10月2日出版发行的《10兆美元的奖赏:吸引中国与印度的新富阶级》(The $10 Trillion Prize: Captivating the Newly Affluent in China and India)一书,该书的联合作者还包括Carol Liao和David Michael。)



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function errorhandle_clickhandle(message, values) { if(values['id']) { showCreditPrompt(); show_click(values['idtype'], values['id'], values['clickid']); } }

 

 



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