KAHNx Academy Please

Just learned that Sal Kahn the amazing force behind the Kahn Academy is visiting SAP Labs in Palo Alto soon. Check out his TED talk. His winning formula has the potential to fundamentally change the way we educate our children as well as ourselves.

This is one of the few moments, where I would love to be back in the Bay Area to be part of the session. I would ask him one question:

When is he going to adopt the TEDx model, and allow external content?

TED used to be this super exclusive conference where once a year for a horrendous amount of money people would share ideas worth sharing over a couple of days. Well the main TED conference is still that, but brilliant idea number one is that they share the recording of all their presentations. Sal Kahn is doing the same, he is where TED was 5 years ago.

TED organizers second amazing idea was, to take a step back and realize, we have a winning formula: Short presentations with no or few slides telling an inspiring story, ideally derived from their own experience.

Now let’s offer that framework to everyone who wants to bring the TED spirit to their local community. There are a few rules, to nudge folks into the framework. They call it TEDx so you know that this is an aspiring TED event, but not the original. For me TEDx is better than the mother ship, because they are local. You get to know the local talent and you bump into each other at other local events or at the farmer’s market. Very powerful.

Now Kahn Academy is also very powerful and has a winning formular/framework: Simple board, off voice and one topic covered per video.

Sal is amazingly prolific in creating these, but at the moment there is only one Sal, he is the bottleneck. For the academy to really explode, Sal should take a page from TEDx, set the framework, call it KAHNx Academy, create a couple of lessons on how to create a topic including exercises and let others try their hand.

First most of the submitted Topics will be lousy, but a simple voting/flagging system will be able to separate the good and burry the bad.

A community will develop that will help not only with the development and ratings, but also improve the process. Sal could review the ones that the community deemed excellent and give them his stamp of approval. You can review many more videos than create.

In the Contribute section of the Kahn Academy’s web site, he asks for help to translate topics, but not for the creation of one.

At least not yet, as I am convinced that this will come. If not by him, then someone else will fill that gap.

Palo Alto colleagues if you are going to his session at SAP Labs, please ask him:  When he will start to accept topics created by others?

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