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Education

The Khan Academy: Next Big Thing

If you have a passion for learning, or if you or your child is struggling to grasp the concepts being taught at school, you may want to check out what The Khan Academy has to offer. The Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization which provides an online resource for all types of learning. The academy educates in the format of short lectures presented in YouTube videos. It also provides tools for educators. The site is free and accessible to all who wish to sign up.

The Origin: Salman Khan

The organization was launched in 2006 by Salman Khan, but the concept hatched a bit earlier when Khan was asked to help tutor one of his cousins. Through trial and error, the two decided that the best teaching method was to have the cousin learn through tutorials Khan published for her on YouTube. Khan soon found out that his videos were being watched worldwide. This kind of response lead Khan to eventually quit his job to focus on the tutorials and launch his academy.

When you visit the Khan Academy web site, there is a clear explanation of the courses offered. These include various levels and subjects in math, science and engineering, computing, arts and humanities, economics and finance and test prep, including SAT testing. They also offer downloadable apps, adding convenience and accessibility to the Khan learning experience.

kids classroom computer

Innovative Teaching

Khan’s innovative teaching tactics might help him stand above the rest in the learning process.  Khan never resorts to a prewritten lecture. He lets his lessons flow naturally, creating a more conversational vibe that keeps his lessons from becoming dry and boring. He never edits, preferring a natural flow to his communication. If he doesn’t ‘nail’ a video in one take, he films the whole thing over again.

He also thinks there might be something to the fact that he never appears in his videos. You only see his hand and handwriting. Khan feels this lends to a more intimate vibe and keeps the students from getting the feeling they are being talked down to.

In Action in the Classroom

In November of 2011, the Khan Academy was adopted as a classroom tool. Students were encouraged to watch his videos. Teachers were able to keep track of what videos their students were watching and what questions they got right or wrong. In this way, teachers received valuable feedback on their student’s progress and needed areas of improvement. The Khan Academy also offered students game like rewards for their achievements, a system they responded to remarkably well.

The Khan Academy is purely a nonprofit organization. However, it is also recognized as a highly-esteemed form of education. Because of this, many supporters have made generous donations including Bill Gates, the U.S Department of Education and Disney Pixar and Animation Studios.

Khan never imagined that he would become so innovative in the educational process. However, his organization is being recognized all over the world for its groundbreaking progress in giving children the tools for learning. To quote one Khan Academy student, “You made me realize that anyone can learn the material if it’s being presented in the right way.”

To find out more about the Khan Academy, you can visit the site online at khanacademy.org. You can also make a donation there to this worthwhile cause. 

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