The Khan Academy, started in 2006, currently has at least 3400 tutorial videos on the subjects of Math, Science, Computer Science, Finance, Economics, Humanities and Test Prep (SAT, GMAT etc.). Subjects are taught in depth – lessons on polynomials alone span through 79 videos; matrices, 33. As classes are rapidly translated to video tutorials available online, should the role of the teacher begin to change? Years ago in high school, I sought the help of random Youtube videos when I was learning trigonometry. My teacher spoke with a heavy dialect and I received little from being in class. I would’ve benefited a lot from comprehensive tutorial videos from a respectable source such as the Khan Academy, which had only just begun then. Now they’re legitimate tutorials coming in from respectable sources everywhere: University of Michigan, Berkley, Chicago, and business schools of Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, UPenn, and NYU are just some examples of colleges getting in on this. Then there are sources that range from the likes of Khan Academy, Freelance Teacher, to TED talks. Not only is every popular subject covered, but also the quality of teaching is top-notch, clear and reliable.
This sudden shift of knowledge to be made easily accessible online could perhaps change the role of the teacher. Not replace, but change. The teacher-student and student-student connection is without a doubt very important to learning and irreplaceable. So as video lectures inevitably grow popular, teachers need to emphasize being an incubator more than ever – to have students synthesize ideas and projects from data, as well as to motivate students to learn.