# A Video Critique of Khan Academy

This is a great idea. Dan Meyer and Justin Reich are sponsoring the MTT2K Prize. In short, this idea was inspired by John Golden and David Coffeeys Mystery Teacher Theater 2000 in which they make a video of them watching one of the Khan Academy videos. Dan and Justins plan is to award a cash prizes to the best video critiques of Khan Academy videos. Its that simple. To participate, just create a video critique and upload to youtube with the tag #mtt2k.

First, I think there is much room for improvement in Khans videos. As I have pointed out before, most of the Khan videos seem to take the approach of this is how you get the answer to this problem rather than to aim for deeper understanding. I suspect this is part of the reason that the Khan videos are so popular with students. They are stuck on a homework problem and in their mind the goal is to get the answer. Surely you have seen students take all sorts of crazy approaches to solving homework problems. Approaches that avoid addressing the real meaning.

This solution to problem solving would be like Mr. Miyagi (you know, for The Karate Kid) telling Daniel to paint the fence with up and down strokes. What if Daniel googled how to paint a fence and decided to rent a spray paint machine. That way the fence could be painted quicker right? Wrong. Mr. Miyagi would be disappointed and Daniel would get destroyed at the karate tournament by Cobra Kai. The point isnt the painting of the fence, the point is learning to block attacks. If you have no idea what I am talking about, go watch the original Karate Kid.

There is another good reason to critique videos (not just the Khan Academy videos). What better way to assess someones true understanding than to have that person evaluate a Khan Academy video? You really have to know your stuff to see any problems in these. I could make the final exam in physics an evaluation of these videos. It would be awesome. Or maybe you could make this a group activity. Find a KA video and critique it. Next, make your own version. That would be win-win. The true learning comes not from watching a KA video, but by being actively engaged in something. Maybe this was Khans plan all along. Maybe he puts errors in the videos so that they can be used for the real learning.

If Dan and Justin start a game, I cant sit out can I? So, here is my video critique of a Khan Video. I mostly picked one at random (from the physics videos). The MTT2K style of critique is really nice, but I didnt have a partner or an easy way to set it up. Also, the audio is suckier that it should be sorry about that. I would remake the video, but I am a blogger not an actor. I cant just re-say what I have already said. It wouldnt feel authentic.

Here is my critique. The Khan Video is a problem to determine how fast a ball would be moving if dropped off a cliff.

If I had to focus on one main problem it would be Khans lack of respect for vectors. In particular he sets a vector quantity (the velocity) equal to the scalar value of zero. Yes, this may seem like nit picking, but isnt a critique supposed to be about nit picking? It does matter though. The equal sign means the thing on the left and the thing on the right are equivalent. Can a person be equivalent to a car? No. They are different things.

The other big error Khan makes is to say that a velocity going down would be a negative vector. He wants to say something is negative, but it isnt the vector. A vector velocity in the downward direction would have a negative y-component, but you wouldnt call the whole thing negative. Really, Khan is trying to do a one dimensional kinematics problem. In this case, you dont even need to include the vector idea.

If Khans video is so terrible, why dont you make your own? Of course Frank Noschese (@fnoschese) already addressed this common question.