Khan Academy aims to reinvent education through video (w/ video)

March 29, 2011 by Lisa Zyga, weblog
Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, speaks at the TED Conference on March 2. Clip from video below.

( -- The problems with basic education, both in the US and other countries, are complex, but one website may have the ability to improve education on a global scale. The Khan Academy, whose mission is to "provide a free world-class education to anyone, anywhere," currently has 2,200 video tutorials on subjects ranging from math to science to history. Not only could the free educational videos help individual students learn better, but the concept could also reform schools by redefining the teacher’s role and laying the foundations for a global classroom.

Since the site was launched in 2006, the videos have been viewed millions of times. The videos have received positive reviews from viewers due to their clear, conversation-style approach and simple drawings, which are made in SmoothDraw. But, as founder Salman Khan explained at a TED conference earlier this month, he thinks the Khan Academy could do a lot more.

Salman Khan speaks about the Khan Academy at the TED Conference on March 2, 2011.

Khan wants to increase the academy’s video library to tens of thousands of video tutorials - each about 10 minutes long - that would watch in the evening as “homework.” Then the next day in class, the students would work on homework-like assignments, where they could ask the teacher questions and work with their peers. In essence, by “flipping the classroom,” students could watch a video lecture as many times as they like, at their own pace, and then have time in class to ask specific questions.

As Khan explains, traditional teaching methods keep moving students forward, even if they don’t quite grasp the basics. By using the Khan Academy videos, students learn at their own pace until they master a lesson. Then students use a web-based exercise system to correctly answer a certain number of questions on each topic before moving on.

The concept has recently been piloted in the Los Altos school district in fifth grade and seventh grade classes. Teachers can track how well each student understands every aspect of a lesson, using detailed data metrics that the teachers have helped develop.

In 2009, Khan quit his job as a hedge fund analyst to work on the Khan Academy full-time. Since then, the non-profit has been endorsed by Bill Gates and has received $2 million in support from Google's Project 10100 to translate the videos into other languages.

Explore further: A global teacher of 1,516 lessons and counting

More information:
via: Physics Buzz

Related Stories

A global teacher of 1,516 lessons and counting

June 27, 2010

From a tiny closet in Mountain View, Calif., Sal Khan is educating the globe for free. His 1,516 videotaped mini-lectures -- on topics ranging from simple addition to vector calculus and Napoleonic campaigns -- are transforming ...

iTeacher: Program Brings Web 2.0 to the Classroom

March 12, 2009

( -- Online media and social networking Web sites - Web 2.0 standards like Facebook and YouTube - are the new tools for communication and entertainment among K-12 students. Safety and inappropriate content issues, ...

Sociologist examines a new American elite

March 22, 2011

Shamus Rahman Khan, an assistant sociology professor, is interested in elites. As a graduate of St. Paul’s School, one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the nation, he thought that by going back there for a ...

YouTube PSAs: Comments more persuasive than videos

November 19, 2010

( -- Michigan State University researchers, studying public service announcements placed on YouTube about marijuana use, have found that the comments accompanying the PSAs are more influential among viewers than ...

Gengis Khan basecamp found in China

December 25, 2006

Chinese scholars have found a series of ancient wells they believe provided water for Genghis Khan's legendary hordes during their campaign in Western Xia.

Recommended for you

Are palaeontologists naming too many species?

March 14, 2018

A comprehensive new study looking at variations in Ichthyosaurus, a common British Jurassic ichthyosaur (sea-going reptile) also known as 'Sea Dragons', has provided important information into recognizing new fossil species.

Pterosaurs went out with a bang, not a whimper

March 13, 2018

Fossils of six new species of pterosaurs - giant flying reptiles that flew over the heads of the dinosaurs - have been discovered by a research team led by the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, revealing ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (4) Mar 29, 2011
I absolutely LOVE Khan Academy! I'm a student myself and I use it all of the time for calculus and physics. I've even had time to pick up on topics I might never have looked into, like astronomy and organic chemistry.

I'm glad this teaching method is getting publicity, and I think we're about to begin tapping into even more of the already abundant educational prospects of the internet.
3 / 5 (2) Mar 29, 2011
I absolutely LOVE Khan Academy! I'm a student myself and I use it all of the time for calculus and physics. I've even had time to pick up on topics I might never have looked into, like astronomy and organic chemistry.

I'm glad this teaching method is getting publicity, and I think we're about to begin tapping into even more of the already abundant educational prospects of the internet.

I am also compelled to agree with your statements.
The labs, I want to start the laboratory complement to this excellent teaching effort. Something like "Myth Busters" on wheels with meals. Not just boring scientific fact gathering but labs that illustrate and stimulate the imagination. SHUCKS!! Khan is a great idea!!!!!!
Now if I can just get the students some practical touchy-feely time...we change the world :-)
5 / 5 (3) Mar 29, 2011
All throughout my education, I was wondering how nobody had created something like this yet. It's just so obvious that computers are superior to paper and blackboards. They can do so much more for education. The Khan concept has a ways to go, but at least it's an embarrassingly-long-overdue start.
5 / 5 (5) Mar 29, 2011
This is awesome! This will make a big difference to the world!
Education is key for the progress of humanity and for our future survival as a species.
5 / 5 (3) Mar 29, 2011
Watch the video if you haven't. The concept makes a lot of sense. Particularly with the integration they've built in to allow teachers to track what their students are doing.
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
I like the idea, and I definitely applaud Kahn's efforts, but I think that to integrate this into school there are other obstacles to overcome. If the students are lazy, as many are, they will simply not watch the videos at night, then cheat off their friends in class. I went to a pretty bad high school though, so maybe other people's experiences are different.
5 / 5 (3) Mar 29, 2011
I already have my degrees and I still use this site to refresh my memory on differential equations and linear algebra. I've also reviewed some more obscure physics equations that I never have to use. The site is great.
5 / 5 (3) Mar 29, 2011
This is the revitalization of education in action.
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
yes the success of this should be noted by teachers' unions. you better adapt to this technology, or you will be victimized by it.

the problem with learning is that you can learn knowledge by being spoon fed knowledge, but this does not teach you patience, creativity, or much else.
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
I can see how this method could be tailored to individual students within a class. A bright student could easily progress into areas way ahead of the rest of his peers without being separated from them. And it could resolve a lot of problems for parents - "I can't help you" "You do it like this - it's the way I was taught" - as these questions go into the classroom.
I would have loved it as an intelligent, intellectually curious child continually left unsatisfied by the knowledge of my teachers and parents, and by out-of-date books.
5 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2011

(Somebody had to say it.)
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
The fact that TED, Bill Gates, and the media love Khan Academy shows the failure of education. Khan Academy looks great because our country has reduced teaching and learning to preparing students to bubble in answer sheets for multiple choice tests. But if we shift the purpose of education from consuming knowledge and stating answers to creating knowledge and exploring solutions, the fallacy of Khan Academy reinventing education is blatently apparent.

Removing lectures from the classroom and putting them online is not revolutionary. Removing lectures PERIOD is what needs to be done.

Rather than instructing students with Khans videos, shouldn't we be inspiring them to figure things out on their own and learn how to create their own knowledge by working together?

How does Khan Academy foster problem posing and creativity?
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
Truly, this is one of the most exciting times in educational related HISTORY. Life as we know it, is Over. The doors of academia a being Blown beyond Wide Open & I couldn't be happier to see they are going to be blow OFF.
Finally, Mr. Gates vision is coming true and the marriage of TED & GATES is a whole new Level of Wonderful. Truly, for Science it's a spectacular moment.
5 / 5 (2) Mar 30, 2011
I'd like to see free, accredited tests too (or cheap, accredited tests). Most HR departments that hire don't care if potential employees have knowledge. They just want that piece of paper (your diploma) and your salary is based on THAT, regardless of your intelligence, true knowledge, and ability to apply it. If Khan could become "accredited" also certify your knowledge, more doors of opportunity would be opened to smart and driven people that may not be able to afford secondary schools nor have the time resources to leave work to fit the odd-ball schedules of schools.

Once THAT happens, everything changes. Until then, it's just another resource (as awesome as it is) for curious and driven individuals.
not rated yet Apr 01, 2011
Once THAT happens, everything changes. Until then, it's just another resource (as awesome as it is) for curious and driven individuals.

I absolutely believe that will be the next step and it will happen within 20 years. Universities could still function as kind of a proving ground for all that you've learned, serving as a place for student projects and field experience before you are accredited.
5 / 5 (1) Apr 02, 2011
I retract my earlier statement about kids cheating. After learning more about how the academy works, they actually have an amazing array of tracking and evaluation to make sure kids watch the videos and learn the concepts. You can tell Khan used to be an analyst!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.