Salman Khan was featured on 60 minutes last week. He and the Khan Academy have become wildly popular and have officially achieved rock-star status. How many followers does Khan have now? Over 3.5 million unique users.
Now, TED-Talks is soliciting the lessons of teachers. They are attempting to showcase on an international medium, what can only be seen in individual classrooms. This has the potential to radically change the face of teaching as a profession.
People do not chose teaching for fame and money. Many have written op-eds about how we undervalue teachers, and many politicians have given lip-service to the raising of teachers' salaries. But no-one has come up with a salient way to do this.
Perhaps now, if teachers are judged on popular opinion, and their value spreads beyond the classroom and into the homes of millions, teachers will start demanding larger salaries. Our culture puts monetary value on popularity for popularity's sake - perhaps academia can use this to its advantage.