Today when talking on discord someone mentioned their approval for Khan Academy, stating that it was what allowed them to pass their class. I have too consulted Khan Academy on a few occasions, and I thought the teaching was well done. I believe education is a human right, and I thought I would see what I could do to contribute. I was alarmed to discover the lack of ways to do so.

I voiced my thoughts in a brief way in discord, and was quickly attacked by nearly everyone there. People seem to all love khan, holding it as the savior of education, and in some way’s, it is. Khan was the first platform I could find to offer easily accessible k-12-beyond learning for anyone, for free. It provides a central place with “trusted” content, but ultimately khan academy solves no issues in our education system, while getting all the support of the internet.

I write this “rant” to be the first person on the internet to say khan is not so great.

A dictatorship

There is no public information on khan academies power structure, aside from the fact that it has executives. There is no way to vote in leaders, and no real way to hold them accountable other than abstaining from donation. This leads to near unlimited power. Sal has networth in the millions alone, and due to its dictatorship structure a hostile takeover to broadcast information on a “trusted” site like khan is possible - as we saw in freenode. This power structure ultimately leaves not only the people but the teachers powerless, leaving for issues like the traditional school board.

Closed source

I don’t give a shit about the website source code, but the curriculum is pretty close to closed source. This means if misinformation is spread on the site, we are unable to easily maintain a “correct” mirror. If the site goes down, so does the learning. For similar issues, offline users in low income countries especially are barred.

While khan material is under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US, it’s near impossible to effectively copy without using web crawlers.

Closed doors

Finally, Khan contributors are always employees. This means we are relient on bug reports to fix issues, and who knows when or if it will be fixed. Additionally, raised issues are viewable only to khan staff removing even more accountability.

Want to write more new content for khan for free because you love learning? You can’t without giving up your job for a paid position.

Uncited

I struggled to find citations for anything asserted on their site. This is especially needed in the sciences and social studies, where misinformation is rampant.

We can do better

I dream of a curriculum where we are free. Free to and easy to clone, redistribute, and to modify. Where there is democratic government, so a hostile takeover is near impossible. Where changes are made in the open so that we hold those that make them more accountable. A curriculum that is modern and interactive, with a smaller focus on lectures.

I don’t think this exists today, but for a true radicle education platform something must change, to avoid all the issues we face today with the world’s education in an online platform.

At the very least, the world must rid of the “Khan will change the world” mentality.


PS: Sorry if my thoughts are slightly raw, wrote this in a hurry

PPS: These are flaws in khan, but they apply to many other “free” learning platforms. Hell, khan under it’s license is “free”, but in reality it’s far from it. I am yet to find a alternative that really does what needs to be done, although I am hopeful this community is a step in the right direction

This post and all past material written by me that is hosted on lemmy is UNLICENSED. Do as you wish.

@uberstar
mod
link
fedilink
61Y

I dream of a curriculum where we are free. Free to and easy to clone, redistribute, and to modify. Where there is democratic government, so a hostile takeover is near impossible. Where changes are made in the open so that we hold those that make them more accountable. A curriculum that is modern and interactive, with a smaller focus on lectures.

This is part of the reason why I opened this community, while it isn’t a dedicated “platform” like Khan, OpenStax, etc… it’s a place we can collect great resources that are truly “open” into one community (“open” as in having the right to do pretty much anything to your heart’s content under the CC/PD/etc license). It’s a good start and I envision myself going further and opening a truly free and open-source platform (“free and open-source” as in anyone can do the former + contribute to changes in the knowledge base) specifically to address the problems with modern-day public (and private, mind you) education. When will it come to fruition is an on-going mystery I have to solve myself.

Accountability is the one that I am most concerned about in the current landscape of today’s education systems, including online ones like Khan. A little bit of projection here but it seems to me that anyone at the top (say, the principal(s) or board of education, administration) is able to absolve liability if they fuck up in any way. The fact that they can make changes without unanimous approval from students and teachers is appalling and leaves a huge burden to deal with. You could voice your concerns but the chances that your concerns are taken seriously are slim.

Sorry for the tangent here, I am just furious about how little progress in the grand scheme has been made for the past decade despite technological improvements.

Evan
creator
link
fedilink
3
edit-2
1Y

So glad someone is filled with a similar passion. I am currently working on a open source project that provides emergency broadcast systems for schools, it is pretty early in development but after it is done I will be happy to join you in development

Be the change you want to see in the world

Khan Academy is great but a crowd sourced alternative would do wonders. I tried creating a small language learning website (OurKorean.com) but I’m not quite up to the task.

If there comes a day where a crowd sourced alternative starts popping though, I’ll be on there creating lessons in my spare nights :). Education for all is how we get a better future.

Open Educational Resources
!open_e_resources

    A community focused on sharing and talking about free/libre/copyleft/public domain resources for educational use. Resources may include things like textbooks, audiobooks, web apps, apps and more.

    Rules:

    • Follow Lemmy site-wide rules and Code of Conduct

    • Prior to posting and if possible, specify the license/nature of the resource(s) and anti-features. The resources should be at least “redistributable” and “remixable” by anyone and everyone.

    • Avoid sharing resources encouraging nationalism, fascism or one-sided views. International solidarity is key.

    • 0 users online
    • 1 user / day
    • 1 user / week
    • 1 user / month
    • 1 user / 6 months
    • 142 subscribers
    • 15 Posts
    • 18 Comments
    • Modlog