(PhysOrg.com) -- 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 teachers 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 academys video library to tens of thousands of video tutorials - each about 10 minutes long - that students 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 dont 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 math 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.
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