Khan-tastic: The Next Generation of Learning

I found the greatest teaching/learning site on the Internet.  I heard about the site, Khan Academy, several months ago, but never really bothered to check it out.  Today, I found the time.  If you homeschool your kids, or if you want your kid to be the next Jacob Barnett, or if you don’t homeschool, and want your kids to have an edge in school, or if they’re having a hard time with a certain concept, or if you have a bunch of time on your hands and want to brush up on your “I haven’t used these skills since I graduated from high school and I’m embarrased when the guys at work are having what sounds like a really cool conversation about triple integrals and I can’t join in,” then you should be using this tool.

(Small note: this  blog has now devolved so much that I just linked to a story on TheBlaze.com, the creator of which I know is despised by at least one in my audience.  My apologies.)

Salman Khan was an analyst at a hedge fund, and he was tutoring some of his young cousins in math.  When he was away on a business trip, he continued his tutoring over the Internet, posting his explanations of the lessons on YouTube.  His counsins actually liked him better online than they did in person, and his YouTube posts began to get a LOT of comments, so he created more.  This developed into Khan Academy, which now houses more than 2,100 instructional videos, on topics ranging from math, science, humanities, and test prep.

Something else that I found particularly interesting, and why I think this concept could lead to a transformation in education (if someone can get it past the teacher’s unions), is that Khan Academy is working with a school district in New Mexico to integrate the Khan Academy with its math curriculum.  The revolutionary idea in this integration is a couple-fold:

  1. It allows each student to learn at their own pace.
  2. It allows the teacher to spend less time lecturing, and more time in student interaction.  Some teachers assign the videos as homework, and then having the classroom time for actually DOING the work, with interaction.
  3. There are a TON of metrics to help teachers… they can see how EACH student is progressing, and if they get stuck on a certain concept, the teacher can step in and help them with that concept/topic, or ask one of the other students who has a good grasp of that topic to help that student.

This is an incredible revolution in education.

Here are two comments from YouTube (mentioned in the video below):

First time I smiled doing a derivative.

Same thing here… I actually got a natural high and a good mood for the entire day.  Since I remember seeing all this matrix text in class, and here I’m, like, “I know kung fu.”

And you thought math was boring!

Check out Salman Khan talking about Khan Academy below (if you can’t see the video, if you’re reading this through the RSS feeder or email, click on this link to view it in your browser):