Khan Academy is a non-profit online education platform where students of all ages can view 10 minute lessons on mathematics, the sciences, finance, and history. Video lessons are very simple with founder Salman Khan writing on an online blackboard while offering conversational instruction.
While not a credentialed teacher, Khan earned three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and got his MBA from Harvard University. He was working as a hedge fund analyst when he began tutoring his young cousins by making YouTube videos explaining math concepts. The videos quickly grew in popularity. Sitting in a converted closet/office in his Silicon Valley home, Sal continued to record and post more lessons. In September 2009, he quit his job and poured his energy full-time into Khan Academy.
Today Khan Academy offers more than 2,400 video lessons, mastery-based software for students to practice exercises, and data tracking tools for teachers, parents, learning coaches, and students.
Students can watch the instructional videos then complete 10 exercises in a row in order to move on to the next concept. The data tracking tools provide real-time graphs showing individual student progress, repetition of videos and exercises, focus areas, and more. Students begin by locating their current learning level on Khan Academy’s “Knowledge Map” where the now 8-person team has charted math and science concepts from single digit addition to calculus.
Schools have begun to deploy Khan Academy lessons in the classroom. The Los Altos School District is piloting a program for fifth and sixth graders where students watch Khan Academy lessons for homework and do their exercises in the classroom. The data tracking tools allow teachers to monitor student progress and intervene in-person during class time.
To build student motivation, Khan Academy has created game-like features including “badges” and points. Students can earn badges by getting a certain number of exercises in a row correct, speed solving, good listening, persistence and more.
More than 75 million Khan Academy lessons have been delivered to students worldwide.
Users include middle and high school students, homeschoolers, college students, academically advanced students, autistic students, retirees, classroom teachers, and teacher training institutions, among others.