The Kahn Academy is a non-profit organization whose mission is, “to provide a world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” Khan Academy
Khan developed an interest in education while tutoring his cousin, Nadia. Initially communicating via an internet tool, Khan began posting his mathematics tutorials on YouTube in 2006. The videos attracted millions of viewers. In 2009, Khan quit his job as an analyst to devote himself full-time to the set of videos that formed Khan Academy. The academy provides free online instruction to students across the world. Salman Khan Biography.
The following link shows a short video about how we all begin this life the same. As we read, practice and persevere, our brains develop and help us learn. We are all capable of learning and when we learn we exercise our brains! I have shown this video to my class and we had a wonderful discussion about the brain and it’s capabilities. It was also a wonderful complement to the Mind Matters Program, which I am currently using in my class. The program teaches children how our brain controls our emotions and how we can be resilient and deal with our anxieties and stresses about learning. You can learn anything!
What appeals to me about the Khan Academy is the fact that it is a non-profit organization whose main goal is to educate and help students, parents, educators and anyone who wants to further educate themselves. In chapter 5 of, Entrepreneurial Mindset, Martin and Osberg’s view is, “social entrepreneurs, are aiming for large-scale, transformational benefit that accrues either to a significant segment of society or to society at large”(pg. 3). Khan didn’t start out with the concept of creating an on-line learning academy that would be used by globally, but the obvious need was there, and thanks to the power of YouTube and the generosity of many donators and various foundations, this wonderful academic resource expanded to become a global classroom for all. The resources of this global classroom are being translated into 36 languages. The fact that this on-line resource was created out of a desire to reach as many people as possible because of a problem being identified, shows the entrepreneurial mindset working as it should. Sal Khan is a risk-taker who saw an opportunity and was confident enough to use his abilities and achieve results.
Creative and Innovative
The Khan Academy incorporates the kind of innovation spirit and ingenuity that defines social entrepreneurship. I say this because, Khan had the skills and mindset to create a new job, based on a need in society. There is a lot of emphasis on standard testing and homogenizing what children will learn. I thought about these factors as I was researching the Khan Academy and had the question, is it just another way to teach common curriculum outcomes? I realized that Khan achieved what Martin and Osberg tell us, “that entrepreneurship is quite widely associated with the ability to recognize and seize an opportunity”(pg. 2). The variation in learning resources, wide range of uses within the site and the fact that it can be accessed for free offers diversity for students because they now have access to mentors outside of the school environment. Some suggestions that Zhao (2012) offers in order for schools to contribute to a culture of creativity and innovation are: provide a school environment with more freedom and flexibility for students to be decision makers, offer diversity in physical space and access to learning facilitators. In answering my question, I say no, I believe that children need a wide variety of learning opportunities and resources that can support their learning styles and interests. The Khan Academy is another way for students to acquire knowledge and confidence in their ability to learn.
In Sal Khan’s TEDTALK he shows how the Khan Academy can be used to help kids work at their own pace, develop mastery in a subject area and take charge of their learning. Teachers can create a dashboard to show them the students who need further instruction and those who fully understand a concept.
“Don’t waste inspiration”
― Salman Khan
In the Classroom
Students love to learn when the can use their hands, relate their thinking to the real-world and be involved in the learning process. As educators if we can incorporate these concepts into the child’s learning experiences we will be instilling a love of learning. As much as we may or may not be comfortable with the use of technology, our students are engrossed by and infatuated with it. Social media and its use is a large proportion of our students daily lives and how they are able to learn, as a student has said, “social media is like an ocean, you can help us navigate it or watch us drown.” Helping children use the internet for ‘good’ via, educational websites, twitter, YouTube, and Facebook are ways in which we may inspire them to be creative, think globally and learn beyond their circle of friends.
The Khan Academy is a learning tool that can be used by the classroom teacher in a variety of ways. The teacher is able to create a link that allows them to import their students names and add certain areas they want that child to access and watch. The student and parent can access it from home. It can also be used to supplement a class lesson. Children are engaged in videos that are short, easy to understand and by seeing a variety of strategies it may help a variety of differentiated learners. I like the math videos and will use them in my class. I have viewed the following video on patterns and found it to be an easy to follow lesson for fourth graders. Toothpick Patterns
When teaching my students about persuasive writing I found a YouTube video by Teaching Without Frills. It incorporates 6 mini-lessons using a cartoon format. It helped me implement another way to help my students understand the skill of persuasive writing. Not only were they able to see a different approach to learning something, they saw how we can use social media to help us learn.
Their are so many educational websites that are being used in schools, but many need a license and can be quite expensive. Our division uses a digital Math program called, Dream Box. This program is geared toward grade one and two students and the license is paid for by each school. I like the Khan Academy website because it is free, teacher, student and parent friendly site. Anyone can have access to a variety of learning resources and videos in many subjects, including sustainability, entrepreneurship and world issues. Learning this way is not for everyone, but I think that having options and different perspectives of a concept is a powerful way to reach many different learners abilities, especially when taught with a passion for the subject.
“I teach the way that I wish I was taught. The lectures are coming from me, an actual human being who is fascinated by the world around him.
O’Brien, C. (2016). Education for Sustainable Happiness and Well-Being. Taylor & Francis/Routledge.
Zhao, Y. (2012). World Class Learners: Educating creative and entrepreneurial students. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.