Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Khan Academy: The power of YouTube (plus a great teacher).

Maybe I'm a little late to this party (which is kinda strange since I'm a bit of a tech nerd), but I just was introduced to Khan Academy, a not-for-profit educational organization created and sustained by Salman Khan. Khan Academy's mission is to "provide a high quality education to anyone, anywhere" via a free online collection of more than 1,600 videos on mathematics, science, history, and economics.

From Wikipedia:

Salman Khan is a Bangladeshi American born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana...He holds three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: a BS in mathematics, a BS in electrical engineering and computer science, and an MS in electrical engineering and computer science. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. In late 2004, Khan began tutoring his cousin in mathematics using Yahoo!'s Doodle notepad. When other relatives and friends sought his tutorage, he decided it would be more practical to distribute the tutorials on YouTube. Their popularity there and the testimonials of appreciative students prompted Khan to quit his job in finance in 2009 and focus on the Academy full-time.

As of December 2009, Khan's YouTube-hosted tutorials receive more than 35,000 views per day in over 17 million visits. Each video runs for approximately ten minutes, and is produced using video capture on SmoothDraw. Khan eschewed a format that would involve a person standing by a whiteboard, desiring instead to present the content 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."

I watched a couple of the algebra videos (and I can assure you, I was no algebra star). Mr. Khan has an amazing ability to explain concepts clearly. Students (of all ages) post comments and questions on the videos, and give each other help or feedback (peer-to-peer tutoring). The website also includes 70+ modules of automated exercises with continuous assessment for self-paced learning.

Check it out. Maybe your kids can use it for homework help...remedial help...SAT prep. (Speaking of SAT prep, Khan Academy actually has videos working through every single problem in all 8 math practice tests (432 problems) in the "The Official SAT Study Guide" by the College Board. So a student can take the practice test, see which problems they get wrong, then watch the Khan Academy videos to show them how to solve them correctly. WOW -- way cheaper than a Kaplan class or private tutor!)

It's a truly remarkable resource...described by one educator as "reason enough to unblock YouTube in schools."

Check it out at www.khanacademy.org

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