This guy got coverage from NPR over a year ago, but I'm glad Gates has noticed him.
Here is his Kahn Academy website.
Sal Khan: Bill Gates' favorite teacher - Aug. 24, 2010
When I first heard the story of his success (based on free, short tutorials on youtube.com) I was impressed with the simple beauty - the elegance of the idea. I still haven't had a chance to view his work, but suffice it to say that anything new in educational theory (in this case trying a new delivery method, tho some call them "mcnuggets") is good, in my not so humble opinion.
I love that Gates and his foundation are looking for ways to revamp American education - the entire approach needs to be examined.
And yet I know that no matter how great Kahn is, or how well his "shorts" serve students, there is something missing when we take face-to-fact interaction away from students and teachers.
Being "live" in the flesh doesn't always matter, and if you can't get a real teacher a virtual or long-distance internet version may be the best you can do.
But make no mistake. Fast food is not the same as home cooked. Gourmet meals are not really packaged in the freezer aisle of the grocery story. And online interaction is not anywhere near as good as the communication that happens when two people are in the same room together. Yes, there are advantages, just like heating up a meal in a microwave or driving thru McDonalds, or canned food is sometimes the best you can do in a pinch.
Don't fool yourself. We should be careful what is served to our children and in our colleges - and how it is delivered.