A couple of weeks back, I attended the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual conference and had the pleasure of hearing keynote speaker Salman Khan tell his riveting story behind the founding of Khan Academy. A story you can watch here in this recent 20-minute interview on Bloomberg.
Khan promotes professor Carol Dweck’s idea that people who believe they can get smarter will get smarter. Her Stanford research has proved this. To convey this message, the Khan Academy produced this poignant one and a half minute video “You Can Learn Anything”. A MUST WATCH!
Khan’s mission is to provide “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” He strives to make Khan Academy a great equalizer in education giving access to anyone regardless of age, wealth, social status, or location. What started out as a series of math video lessons now houses thousands of videos on subjects such as science, computing, humanities, arts, finance, and economics, and over 31 million people around the world have tuned in to Khan Academy.
But it’s the math curriculum and SAT prep that make Khan Academy most valuable.
Khan Academy’s sophisticated software helps students in K-12 learn mathematical concepts similar to how they play video games. They must beat a level before moving up to the next one. They will continue to practice skills until they master them, and it is only after they master a skill that they can move on to the next one.
The SAT prep works in a similar fashion with the program recognizing gaps in students’ understanding of core concepts and not moving on to a new concept until they master the foundational skills. An added bonus is that The College Board, the organization that designs and administers the SAT, develops all of the content. This is especially significant since there are few official resources for the New SAT.
It is important to note that Khan Academy’s instruction is not meant to replace the physical classroom. It is meant to provide supplemental instruction aimed at helping students gain more practice on concepts they are struggling with.
However, the one thing Khan academy lacks is human interaction. While much can be gained from engaging with this online resource, students either have to be focused and self-motivated to reap the benefits, or they need a human being monitoring and encouraging their participation. Having a parent, teacher, or mentor help students find regular times during the week to engage with this resource can be a determining factor as to the success of the program.
I highly recommend that parents encourage their children to check out this site if they haven’t already. After all, what’s not to love about FREE K-12 math tutoring and SAT prep?