Friday, March 30, 2012

Kahn Academy

Jack is watching Khan Academy. You can learn about all kinds of cool stuff. So far he has watched several Fibonacci videos, right now he is watching a video about how plants make leaves at particular angles - "simple rules, complex consequences". Jack loves science, "because it is real; except not in Spanish"

The other night, I was talking with the folks in my writing group and we came onto the topic of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), which is basically the specific knowledge about how to teach a particular subject a teacher must have in order to teach a subject. We were talking about science. One issue that we have found is that teachers don't really like to teach science. Why you ask? Well that is a great question, which another of my colleagues is trying to answer. We were pondering this question: some theories - Scientists believe that science is "tentative" (yeah, tentative like, uncertain, more questions and less answers) But most of the science curriculum is teaching kids a series of labels (so far this year Jack has learned how to label the water cycle, the parts of the plant, the types of rock, the types of soil)

Okay.... So good teachers (that is, those with PCK) seem to know how to ask good questions - this is true in math, science, etc. So what if we left the labeling to the Khan Academy and helped teachers develop their PCK. What if we started thinking about math, science, learning, etc. as "tentative"? Go watch this gal, who knows her math content knowledge, she has a series of videos called doodling in math class that are awesome.

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