Can One Guy Educate The World Via YouTube?
from the very-cool dept
This one is a bit personal. A dozen years ago, when I moved out to Silicon Valley from New York, I shared a house with two super smart guys, who had also just moved out to the area. One was a buddy of mine from college, and we needed a third guy to cover the third bedroom in the house we had just found. After asking around among friends, we were introduced to Sal Khan, who was looking for a place as well. We used to sit around and talk about cool ideas for businesses. I think we lived in the same house for a year, or maybe two, before going off in separate directions, though we ran into each other at the movies here or there, and every so often would email each other. About a year ago, Sal sent me an email mentioning a project he was working on called the Khan Academy, in which he videotapes himself teaching various educational lessons on anything from math to chemistry to history to finance and beyond. He even has a whole special section on the credit crisis, with an analysis of both former Treasury Secretary Paulson’s plan, as well as current Treasury Secretary Geithner’s plan.
It’s really impressive. And now a lot of people are noticing. Just a few weeks ago, I was literally out walking my dog, and started talking to someone else walking their dog, who was telling me all about this amazing thing, the Khan Academy. And, more recently, Slashdot had a nice post about it, noting that it’s basically one “very, very devoted man” and a YouTube channel, which is now getting over 100,000 views per day — all of which are under a Creative Commons 3.0 attribution-share alike license. The Slashdot piece was based off of an article from the San Jose Mercury News, which quotes Sal talking about how he’s trying to teach people the way he wishes he were taught — where they make subjects interesting and “show the beauty of what they” are teaching.
Now, I may be biased since I’m proud to see my old housemate be so successful with his project but it’s these sorts of projects that really do help demonstrate the kinds of powerful new opportunities the internet and things like YouTube allow. While giant companies like Viacom want to convince the world that YouTube’s success is really all about people wanting to watch clips of Viacom content, and others tell us that without DRM or strict copyright no one creates useful or compelling content, here’s just one guy, who is helping to educate the world and is flipping the basic model for educational information on its head by recognizing that great things happen when information is shared and more people are knowledgeable.