Tuesday, May 6, 2014

KHAN Academy

We’ve all seen a rise in student achievement when technology is linked to high-quality instruction.  When these two are combined with strong instructional strategies and solid curriculum that is linked across content areas, we see the best results.  

One of the problems is so many high-quality web resources are sometimes difficult to organize and link back to either instruction or curriculum.  Khan Academy is one of those high-quality web resources that organizes its materials, making it easier to make actionable in the classroom.  

Khan Academy is redefining education.  At its core, it is a series of lessons about Math (K-16), Science, Economics and Finance, Humanities, Computing, and Test Prep. It also provides a “coach” function for teachers and parents, and classroom resources.  And the best part?  It’s all free!

Khan Academy, founded in 2006 by Salman Khan. He began by tutoring his cousin, then expanded to other family members through online video tutorials.  To this point, Khan Academy has delivered over 300,000,000 lessons and reaches about 10,000,000 students every month.

A description of Khan’s videos, taken from Wikipedia, reads as follows:
Khan chose to avoid the standard format of a person standing by a whiteboard, deciding instead to present the learning concepts as if "popping out of a darkened universe and into one's mind with a voice out of nowhere" in a way akin to sitting next to someone and working out a problem on a sheet of paper: "If you're watching a guy do a problem [while] thinking out loud, I think people find that more valuable and not as daunting".
The success of his low-tech, conversational tutorials—Khan's face never appears, and viewers see only his unadorned step-by-step doodles and diagrams on an electronic blackboard—suggests an educational transformation that de-emphasizes lecture-based classroom interactions. (Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khan_Academy)

One tool that teachers rave about is the ability to see each student’s learning and progress at a glance, as well as see the aggregate of all students in the class.  

Khan Academy also keeps a statistic on each student and lets students earn “badges” and “energy points”, which are the equivalent of a digital pat on the back for reaching certain milestones (ex. 10 problems in a row correct).

A fairly new offering is a Common Core Map, in which each grade’s math standards are mapped out.  Students can choose from exercises that are right at their level, and this tool also makes differentiation and RtI easier for teachers.

Khan Academy is proving to be such a powerful teaching tool that it has been featured on 60 Minutes (www.youtube.com/embed/zxJgPHM5NYI?rel=0), and founder Salman Khan was asked to present at TED 2011 (www.youtube.com/embed/gM95HHI4gLk?rel=0).

Khan Academy is a non-profit educational website created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan to provide "a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere."  

Khan Academy is found online at www.khanacademy.org.

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