Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Becoming a fan of Khan Academy

A couple of months ago, I received some contacts by people that associated with http://www.khanacademy.org/ via Twitter and LinkedIn.

I did not immediately respond for two main reasons.

#1 -
For those that cannot tell by the jodhpuri in my picture, I am a gora jamai.
For the non-Indians, this means that on the day of my wedding, I immediately became related to about 1/2 of Northern India.

As such, I immediately assumed that Khan Academy must be lessons in how to star in Bollywood Movies without wearing a shirt by this guy.

#2 - I am pretty much a cynic when it comes to marketing, sales, etc.
In fact, I feel a rant about the number of iPad requests I get every week coming on soon.
Don't even get me started in the number of Non-Public Schools who cannot provide the outcomes that my public educators provide.

Regardless, www.ted.com is one of my favorite websites.
I ran into this presentation, and I also noticed that it was a different Salmon Khan.

I became intrigued, so I went to the website and learned about the Academy.


I immediately signed up my son for an account.
My biggest problem is that I heard rumors of childrens' accounts on gmail, but I haven't figure out how yet. (Anyone? Bueller?)

I am quickly becoming a fan.

Here is my son on a Motorola Xoom working on the Addition 1 Practice Module.
He will turn 5 next month.
The Math goes from 1+1 to Calculus.

What I like:

1. It is free!

2. The videos.
They are a short 2-10 minutes from the ones I have reviewed.
They are multi-modal, you can see the work as he talks.
He uses plain English.
You can review, rewind, etc.

3. It is free.

4. The software.
It is very compatible across platforms.
I have used it on an Android Tablet, an iPhone, and a PC.
(Use the regular website, not the applications or mobile sites.)

5. It is Free.

6. The practice software.
Points and badges make it fun.
There are links to videos and hints.
It tracks data.

7. The coaching software allows a teacher or parent to track usage and progress with intuitive and great data tracking and organization.
I want to see the potential that is has for my resource support intervention classes.

8. It is free.

9. My almost 5-year-old is using it for my initial pilot.

10. If you notice the TED video, he explains how it is designed to support good teaching, not replace it.

Room for Improvement

1. It requires a higher level of user to "get it" or be self-directed.

2. It is not linked to state or national curriculum standards.

3. Some of the modules jump too much from level to level. For example, Addition 1 is questions like 8 +7, but Addition 2 is questions like 83+9. Getting "proficiency" in Addition 1 does not make you adequately ready for Addition 2.

Either way, I highly recommend that you check out the site and the two videos that I embedded.

I particularly like what he says in the TED talk about having lecture at home and increasing the quality of teacher interface time in class.

Too bad I missed the application deadline to be a partner district by 2 weeks.
I only wish that I did not watch so many Salman Khan Bollywood movies or I would have logged on sooner.

I would love to hear your experiences.


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