Friday, April 8, 2011

The Evolution of the Khan Academy

Sal Khan and the Khan Academy continue to evolve and progress over time. I've enjoyed and posted about their instructional videos a few times in the past, but they are expanding their services as he has gathered a greater following and additional funding. No longer a one man show, Sal and his team have added methods to track what your students are learning, adaptive assessment exercises, statistical analysis on student progress, a knowledge map for exercise progress, and classroom data for teachers and coaches. If all of that wasn't cool enough, students can now earn "badges" and "points" for learning. The more you learn, the more you earn. Hmmmm... isn't that the way life typically works anyway?

Watch the following Ted Talk featuring Salman Khan and Bill Gates then read below to learn more about their newest services:

How it works for students
Students can make use of our extensive video library, practice exercises, and assessments from any computer with access to the web.

Coaches, parents, and teachers
Coaches, parents, and teachers have unprecedented visibility into what their students are learning and doing on the Khan Academy.

Over 2100 videos
Our library of videos covers K-12 math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and even reaches into the humanities with playlists on finance and history. Each video is a digestible chunk, approximately 10 minutes long, and especially purposed for viewing on the computer.

A world of exercises, with help along the way
Practice math at your own pace with our adaptive assessment exercises. You can start at 1+1 and work your way into calculus or jump right into whatever topic needs some brushing up.

Each problem is randomly generated, so you never run out of practice material. If you need a hint, every single problem can be broken down, step-by-step, with one click. If you need more help, you can always watch a related video.

Your stats, instantly
Every time you work on a problem or watch a video, the Khan Academy remembers what you've learned and where you're spending your time. We keep all of this data private but expose powerful statistics to each user and their coaches. You get at-a-glance information about everything you've been learning and whether or not you've been hitting your goals.

You can drill all the way down from a bird's-eye view of your profile into each and every exercise problem that you've ever worked on. You'll see real, hard data about your increasing mastery of math.

A map of knowledge
The knowledge map shows all of our exercise concepts. You can zoom in and out and pan around all the different exercises, just like on a normal map. You can start working anywhere on the map, and the Khan Academy will suggest the best exercises for you to work on. We'll even remind you when you need a review.

As you zoom out of the knowledge map, you'll find our challenges, which combine the concepts from multiple smaller exercises. Zooming all the way out of the map and completing all of our challenges is a sign of math mastery. We're constantly adding new exercises to be discovered.

Your classroom data...finally
Teachers and coaches can access all of their students' data. You can get a summary of class performance as a whole or dive into a particular student's profile to figure out exactly which topics are problematic. The class profile lets coaches glance at their dashboard and quickly figure out how to best spend their time teaching.

We've put a lot of energy into making sure that the Khan Academy empowers teachers by giving them access to the data they should've had for years. You'll know instantly if a student is struggling in multiplying fractions...or if she hit a streak and is now far ahead of the class.

Badges worth bragging about
We're full of game mechanics. As soon as you login, you'll start earning badges and points for learning. The more you challenge yourself, the more bragging rights you'll get.

We've heard of students spending hour after hour watching physics videos and 5th graders relentlessly tackling college-level math to earn Khan Academy badges. Some of the smaller badges are very easy, but the most legendary badges might require years of work.

Click HERE to visit the Khan Academy.

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