Ted-Ed and Khan Academy Show us the Future of Education

by: - Last updated on: December 17th, 2016

The last 24 hours or so has managed to show us what & how the future of education will be like. Khan Academy, the hugely popular not-for-profit YouTube lecture series has just launched its iPad app on the Apple store. The iPad app is the best way to view Khan Academy’s complete library of over 2,700 videos of all different subjects.

Khan Academy iPad App


Khan Academy’s videos have always been available to public for free on YouTube. But with Khan academy iPad app, students can download videos and watch them offline at their own pace. It also includes time-syncing between devices and also an interactive transcript of the lectures for easy searching.

Khan Academy has always tried to ensure that the teachers get to monitor the progress made by the students on these videos, with information about how long students took to answer practice questions, and whether they’re stuck on a certain topic. Though the iPad app does not yet support practice exercises, the academy does plan to include them in the future.

Salman Khan, the brain behind the academy hopes that the free iPad app could possibly replace or supplement textbooks in schools across America. The Khan academy iPad app looks inspired by the TED iPad app with interactive time-stamped transcript.


But the inspiration is bidirectional. The success of Khan Academy has rubbed off on yet another not-for-profit organization, TED, which has just announced TED-Ed, a brand new Education based initiative over YouTube. The aim behind Ted-Ed is to unite the World’s great teachers and animators to spread lessons beyond the classroom.

Though the concept and the idea is very similar to Khan Academy, TED-Ed aims to make learning more fun by using animations. TED-Ed is open to teachers and animators across the world who desire to reach out and help millions of students around the globe

The TED-Ed video content does not seek to replace traditional curriculum, but rather to supplement it by providing teachers with new tools that inspire curiosity and bring lessons to life with dynamic animation.

The Future of Education


Salman Khan believes that using online lectures (rendered offline, courtesy their iPad app) would give much more opportunity for the teachers to interact with their students. On the other hand, students will have the liberty to go through the lectures at their desired pace, while going back and forth till they understand the concept. This should drastically change the way of education which is currently follows ‘one size fits all’ concept.

TED-Ed too is trying to break the traditional way of education. They aim to show the students that learning can be fun and thrilling. Apple too has been trying to redefine the future of education with iTextBooks where interactivity takes precedence over others. Unlike Khan Academy and TED-Ed which focus on lectures, Apple plans to digitize the textbook industry.

The future seem bright. The interactivity which services like iTextbooks offer and the online lectures with ability to pause and rewind offered by Khan academy & TED-Ed should revolutionize the education space by giving the onus back on mastering the subject rather than completing the syllabus.

Interesting times ahead for students.

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  1. There are now tools to make the re-imaging of education possible – actually the bringing together of some tools that have existed and some new tools and people willing to use the in practical ways to make learning what it can be. Khan Academy and Education Ted are but 2 examples of what can be done. 
    Research has shown us that many students can learn much on their own or with minimal supervision and direction so giving them tools to learn more on their own is a logical direction we should go.
    Videos have existed for years and many people use them for demonstrations as well as for comic relief or make something interesting.  Imagine this – recording lectures, demostrations, tutorials about some idea or subject by someone who knows how to present well, knows how to use multimedia or works with those who do and presenting concepts that all of us can learn from.  You get to listen to some of the best presenters, so ideas have a greater chance to be clearer to more people and we can chose who we learn best from or who makes more sense to us since there will be many presenters
    Multi-media can be parsed into segments so even a 1 hour presentation can be viewed or listened to in segments (5-10 minutes or so).  We can view by ourselves or with others so its more self-paced and we learn at the speed we need – some will learn quicker, others take more time and others need to review many times to get it (we can always ask others for insights and help) 
    A teacher then does not have to make presentations but explain connections of ideas and manage projects, tutor those who are behind or need extra help, create advanced work for those who are ahead, coach students to the next level.  They still need to know the material but also need to know enough about multi-media. 
    The librarian can have another or different job than keeping books straight – search expert, multi-media expert, know the available tools and materials that can help teachers with their class and help students learn, etc.  The job of keeping things in order or catalogued can be given to others, but librarians, properly trained, can make learning all the more dynamic.
    Any texts that we use on a device (tablet for instance) is dynamic – explanations with audio, video examples and the ability to annotate it for my needs so ideas make sense.  The multi-media offerings can be changed easily and updated regularly so if one example does not work for me, maybe another one will – photos, images, video, audio, etc.  I can add my own thoughts or the ideas of others that help me clarify some things.  
    Even if you still want to preserve the ‘textbook’ concept, different companies can make whatever we call a textbook more multi-media friendly (audio, video, text, images) and get someone to professionally in compact ways present the concepts and a teacher can make their own commentary on the presentation that students view so they can add their own touch and expand on the ideas as they would but it won’t take as long – no interruptions as in a class. 
    You may even have teachers being able to have more students in a class (the max depends on the teacher) and their time is put more to make sure students learn than hoping they learned.  You can still have the special education experts or tutors available for harder cases and those who are very behind but we don’t have to just keep passing students to keep them with their class.  Advanced students can then also get special focus to keep them interested and advance to their level and maybe even graduate in 3 years or get involved in other activities that will help them with careers and/or higher education. 
    The change is happening – what it becomes depends on imagination and tools and services.  Hold on for the ride!