Khan Academy have assembled digital libraries that empower people all over the world to engage with vast collections of educational content through free and endlessly-replayable instructional videos. The Academy has already had a substantial impact on formal education, as its library of videos, which have been translated into 24 different languages, is accessed by roughly six million unique students around the globe each month (Noer, 2012).The ubiquity of digital technology has revolutionized the ways in which we communicate and consume scientific content. Perhaps most importantly, the Internet has enabled easier and more democratic access to knowledge that was once available only though exclusive and often costly academic programs. Answers to some of the most complex questions in science are now available at the click of a mouse, through web videos created by a diverse and highly popular set of so-called “science explainer” outlets, which have proliferated in recent years. Other projects, such as Salman Khan’s
As valuable and groundbreaking as this type of resource is, however, critics assert that a flaw of “content explainer” videos is that they essentially repackage traditional education and deliver it in a new way. Prensky (2011) argues that in addition to disseminating traditional lecture-based knowledge, digital technologies have the potential to provide new ways of reaching learners through games and multi-media tools that foster experiential education. Such resources may be particularly useful to students who have struggled in traditional educational contexts, as these tools may allow them to approach the same content in novel ways (Prensky, 2011).