Author Archives: Mike Painter

Khan Academy MCAT Video Competition: And the winners are….

Jun 27, 2013, 11:00 AM, Posted by Mike Painter

Mike Painter, senior program officer Mike Painter, senior program officer
Rishi Desai, medical fellow at Khan Academy Rishi Desai, medical fellow at Khan Academy

The Khan Academy, AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced the winners of the Khan Academy MCAT Video Competition today. Our goal was to identify up to 15 individuals who demonstrated particular skill, aptitude, and passion for making compelling online educational videos that will help prepare viewers for the Medical College Admissions Test. 

It was a challenging challenge, to say the least. Participants had to prepare and submit three educational videos on MCAT material along with 10 related questions about their video topics. The winners will have the opportunity to attend an all-expenses-paid Khan Academy boot camp in the San Francisco Bay Area from July 14-21 to hone their video-making skills.

The competition was popular—67 individuals submitted videos and questions. Entrants included undergrads, medical students, nurses, MDs, PhDs and faculty from 22 states, D.C. and one territory. Over a recent weekend, the judges inhaled all 67 submissions—about 200 videos and 600 questions—and identified the lucky 15 winners. 

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Return to Oz: Behind the Curtain at Khan Academy

Jun 6, 2013, 11:00 AM, Posted by Mike Painter

Dr. Paul Wang addresses students at Stanford Medical School Dr. Paul Wang addresses students at Stanford Medical School

I recently stepped out of my largely virtual, long distance relationship with the Khan Academy and went behind the wizard’s curtain to see how it’s actually done.  Certainly, we here at RWJF have met many Khan personalities in real life, including Sal, himself, as well as Dr. Rishi Desai, who leads the Khan Healthcare and Medicine Initiative. However, it's one thing to meet individuals outside of their natural habitat—and quite another to track them back to their offices in Mountain View, California, and see what gives. 

From SFO, I carefully followed my Droid Navigator’s directions off Highway 101 into a warren of non-descript low-slung office buildings—non-descript except for the telltale proliferation of Google signs and young adults riding colorful Google bikes.  I drove around to the back of several of those complexes and finally found the correct numbered grouping.  It really could have been any office or doctors’ office complex in the U.S.  The Khan suite is on the second floor. 

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Good for Kaiser. Good for America.

Jun 4, 2013, 3:00 PM, Posted by Mike Painter

Mike Painter, senior program officer Mike Painter, senior program officer

Earlier this year, Fast Company released its list of the 50 most innovative companies and named Nike No. 1. In that article, Nike CEO Mark Parker noted, “One of my fears is being this big, slow, constipated, bureaucratic company that's happy with its success…. Companies fall apart when their model is so successful that it stifles thinking that challenges it.” Kaiser Permanente did not make the Fast Company list—this year.  But this nation-leading health care provider is working hard to ensure it’s not a big plugged-up company satisfied with its past success. KP works hard at innovating. KP's leaders and staff clearly do not take their past success and excellence for granted.

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A Learning Journey

May 7, 2013, 11:31 AM, Posted by Mike Painter

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A sea change is happening in education. Millions are taking free online courses, some offered by elite universities. Lectures in crowded halls have moved online, with teachers and students using class time for discussion and problem-solving.

Unlike online courses and degree programs, the increasingly popular MOOC (massive open online course) is a relative newcomer to online education. The model beefs up regular classes while offering a free taste of college to anyone with a computer and Internet access.

Critics fear MOOCs may replace or cheapen brick-and-mortar education, and point to their high student drop-out rates. But many leading researchers consider MOOCs a worthy experiment.

Online educator Khan Academy is convinced of the value of online content. Like a MOOC, the material it creates is free and available to anyone, anywhere.

But that’s where the similarities end.

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Whoa! Did You Feel That?

Apr 8, 2013, 1:00 PM, Posted by Mike Painter

Mike Painter

Have you read “The Swerve,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by renowned historian Stephen Greenblatt? In it a canny Renaissance era book hunter discovers and releases knowledge in the form of a medieval, controversial poem lost to posterity. The poem had dwindled down to a single handmade, leather-bound version held behind the vine-covered, ancient walls of an Italian monastery. According to Greenblatt, the unleashing of that book changed everything that came after. That small book with the long poem on the nature of things set in motion forces that challenged the status quo and triggered dramatic, world-wide change—a swerve. The only way that knowledge survived the millennia was because monks trained in hand crafting books had carefully copied the one survivor—and saved it for centuries. 

Last week, the Khan Academy, AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation may not have triggered quite such a momentous unleashing—but this powerful collaboration did start something very interesting with potentially significant implications for health care education.

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