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YouTube + Math = Education

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A typical teacher will lecture to a couple dozen students each day. Sal Khan, who lectures to about 70,000 students each day, is not your typical teacher.

His classroom is a YouTube page.

At YouTube.com/khanacademy, you can find more than 1,500 of his instructional videos on math, probability, statistics and basically any other subject that's sure to make you a hit at the next accountants' party. Kahn, a 33 year old former hedge-fund analyst, uses an off-the-shelf microphone, a drawing tablet and the free digital-chalkboard software SmoothDraw to make his videos.

For his work, he was awarded the 2009 Tech Award for Education.

Khan's success represents a change in how we can educate ourselves. When people want to learn a language, they don't need to head to the nearest community college for night-school courses, considering that a similarly priced copy of the Rosetta Stone language-learning program will do just fine. It's even simpler to search for step-by-step video instructions at a website like eHow.com to learn anything from car repair to arranging for bail.

We're still a few years away from being able to get a college degree by using your iPhone (though iTunes does let you download college lectures for free). It's also true that although instruction has become more accessible, real education is still only taken advantage of by people who are willing to put in the hard hours of studying.

It's like that old saying: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him do differential calculus.


THE WEEK ON THE RANGE

We shared new polls from Rasmussen, Magellan Strategies and the Arizona Guardian on various state races (check this week's Skinny for key takeaways); posted video from the Clean Elections debate/slugfest between Republican attorney general candidates Andrew Thomas and Tom Horne, and from the more civilized debate between Democratic AG candidates Vince Rabago, Felecia Rotellini and David Lujan; and showed you Democrat John Dougherty's first Internet ad for his U.S. Senate campaign.

We also told you about a Gallup poll that showed Republicans were much more enthusiastic about voting in November than Democrats; directed you to an Esquire interview with Congressman Raúl Grijalva; and let you know that Grijalva wanted more money for border ports of entry.

In other border news: We noted that Gov. Jan Brewer was struggling to walk back her comments that "the majority" of people who cross the border are drug-dealing criminals; linked to a Washington Post article that revealed U.S. Sen. John Kyl was backtracking on his assertion that President Barack Obama told him he was holding border security hostage until comprehensive immigration reform became reality; and shared a Talking Points Memo report that Congresswoman Sue Myrick, a Republican from North Carolina, warned the White House that Hezbollah was partnering with Mexican drug cartels.

On the Chow beat, we discussed the food at the Hot Rod Café; told you about the beer-based cocktails at Maynards Market and Kitchen; let you know that Shane's Rib Shack is now open at the Tucson Mall; and informed you that Dr. Andrew Weil was starting a garden at Hacienda del Sol.

We also shared photos and more from UA journalism students Jeff Kessler, Michael Palazzolo, Chelsea Rarrick and Taylor Medeiros.


COMMENT OF THE WEEK

"I would like to see Sen. Pearce's long-form birth certificate, please."

TucsonWeekly.com user "Tucson Dean," in response to a post on The Range about state Sen. Russell Pearce's plans for a bill to block children of illegal immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens, and his proposal to start charging children of undocumented immigrants tuition.


BEST OF WWW

It used to be every parent's worst nightmare that their children would run away to join the circus. These days, it's encouraged. The Tucson Circus Arts summer camp gives kids a chance to learn such big-top skills as stilt-walking, poi-spinning and aerial silk acrobatics. See a slideshow along with Irene Messina's column at TucsonWeekly.com.

Also online, check out what politicians are saying about the border in our video recap of Monday's Gabrielle Giffords-Terry Goddard press conference. You can learn more about the new and exciting job that the National Guard is being asked to do to stem the flow of drugs into the country.

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