The Khan Academy

March 16, 2011 at 11:34 pm Leave a comment

“Illinois State University Gladly we Learn and Teach,” if you spend any time on campus this registered trademark is well known.  Ranked as a top teaching school in the nation, Illinois State’s education program is strong.  This commitment to education potentially could become tied to technology through Sal Khan and his Khan Academy.

Watch at least the first 5-6 minutes of this video The Khan Academy and then I would recommend leaving it running while finishing this article and taking the quiz.

Sal Khan creates educational videos.  While his idea was small to start he now has over 2,100 videos, 100 self exercises, and has delivered these lessons to 41,392,293 people.  He primarily focuses on math lectures but all different types of material can potentially be covered.  As Khan saw how audiences responded to this type of learning where they can replay, stop, or look up additional information, like a youTube video, he saw the potential to flip the classroom.  By assigning the “one size fits all” online lectures as homework, when students come to class they work on “what used to be homework.”  This creates a classroom of interactive learning.  Kids get more efficient help from the teacher when the “mandatory lecture” is already provided and now the teacher can spend more time applying concepts and answering questions.  Many school districts look at “student to teacher” ratios to determine productivity; however, Khan believes the real statistic should be a “student to valuable teacher” ratio which would help academics.

The videos allow students work ahead or do extra problems.  The teachers can use supplementary exercises to accompany material.  Khan has also created monitoring systems for teachers to calculate, nearly like a business model, how to approach teaching.  For each student, a printout can show each concept highlighted in green, blue, white, or red.  A green line infers the student is proficient, blue means they are still learning the concept, white means they have not tried the concept, and red means they have tried and failed.  By isolating the “problem concepts” to red or blue categories teachers are able to focus their efforts efficiently.  Printouts also help build statistics on what worked, what did not, and what kind of individual help students need.

Bill Gates endorses the Khan Academy.  The Bill Gates foundation is helping Khan to further this dream and believes this is “the start of a revolution.”  Adults can use it, home-schooled kids, and anyone looking for help can use it.  I watched an algebra video, “Proof: log a +  log b = log ab,” and while I only watched 3 out of the 7 minutes (I waved bye-bye to algebra a long time ago), I found it extremely well done and comprehensible.

Check out the Khan Academy at The Khan Academy Website or the video I watched at Khan Academy_Alegbra_Proof loga, logb, logab

Don’t forget to take the quiz and of course, HAPPY ST.PATRICK’S DAY!




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