The Khan Academy is Changing the World through Enabling Better Access to Education

video conferencing

The Khan Academy estimates that, worldwide, 617 million children are missing basic reading and math skills. The Academy is determined to change that by enabling kids to access engaging lessons that will boost their knowledge and skills.   Using free video tutorials and interactive exercises and other video platforms – not unline the Springbok mobile platform – the Academy provides free and high-quality education to all.

Rationale

Throughout the world, teachers, parents and students are frustrated by inadequate educational materials and delivery that doesn’t meet the needs of all learners.  Some students need remedial instruction to bolster the information that is relayed in the classroom. Others process information differently and need to be taught in a way that meets their individual needs.

Also, parents are increasingly taking the responsibility to educate their children at home through homeschooling.  These parents need access to materials and strategies that will allow them to provide the education that, they feel, the schools don’t offer.

In 2008, Salman Khan created a non-profit educational organization whose goal would be to offer online tools to help educate students. Over the years the organization has grown, producing short lessons in the form of videos that it then makes available, for free, to anyone who wish to use them.

The website and its content are mostly English but there are other supported languages including Hindi, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish, French, German and Chinese.

Subjects

The Academy’s online materials cover a wide variety of subjects ranging from  art and literature to physics, biology, history, math and finance. For each subject, there are hundreds of video clips along with practice sheets and progress information. The Khan Academy’s objective is to provide a rich and engaging learning experience for all learners.

As a student progresses through a series of lessons, s/he earns points and badges. Successful students are urged to act as tutors and mentors for other learners.

Materials are translated into multiple additional languages. Khan Academy staff work with educational institutions to help them innovate classroom instruction.

Sal Khan

Salman Khan is the son of two immigrant parents from India/Bangladesh. He was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and obtained degrees from MIT and Harvard.  While working as a hedge fund analyst, he began tutoring his cousin Nadia online and by phone, in math.  Nadia’s success brought him other “customers” and, to better manage his time, Salman started to record the tutoring lessons on videos and post them on YouTube in order to allow everyone to watch them at their own pace.

As more and more people began to click into the videos, Sal realized the potential that online learning could offer to students around the world. He created his 501c(3) nonprofit in 2008 and by 2009, had quit his hedge fund job so that he could pursue the development of the Academy on a full-time basis.

Early contributors to the Academy were Ann Doerr, Google and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Today, access to the Khan Academy videos and instructional materials is free. There are audio-video materials, articles lessons and practice questions that are all available at no cost.  

The goal of the Khan Academy is to promote personalized learning where students learn at their own pace and practice in a way that meets their own individual needs. Learning begins with opportunities for the student to fill in goals in his/her understanding and then accelerate.

Benefits

The content is created by experts in their field. The Academy also provides pedagogical guidance to teachers, parents and other facilitators so that they can identify gaps in their students’ understanding of the material, tailor instruction to different learning styles and meet the needs of each student through differentiated instructional methodologies.

Using the Academy’s user-friendly materials, facilitators can:

  • Find standards-aligned content
  • Use prepared videos, articles and practice exercises
  • Track student progress

Parents

The Academy assists parents to create a parent account, after which the parent can create an account for their child. Parents can keep track of their child’s progress through the “Missions” tool that shows what the child is learning and how well s/he is acquiring the new information.

Khan Lab School

The Khan Lab School was established in 2014 in Mountain View, California. The school is based on the ideas that Salman Khan presented in his book The One World Schoolhouse and serves as a laboratory for the online academy by tracking and monitoring real students to see what methodologies and strategies will best fulfill the Academy’s goal of developing new, personalized practices that center around the student.

The school involves a mixed age, extended-year, extended-day program that focuses on a project-based learning approach to education. According to the school, the vision involves “Designing student-centered global learning experiences, accessible to the world.” 

The school’s curriculum and activities are coordinated by a team of Advisors, Content Specialists, and Associate Teachers whose goal is to  guide students through gradually increasing levels of independent learning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *