Virtual School : Khan Academy : Changing the world

A client put me on to this one.

I have drawn on Wikipedia for some background here.

In late 2004, Khan began tutoring his cousin Nadia in mathematics using Yahoo!’s Doodle notepad. When other relatives and friends sought his tutorial, he decided it would be more practical to distribute the tutorials on YouTube. Their popularity there and the testimonials of appreciative students prompted Khan to quit his job in finance in 2009 and focus on the Academy full-time. Bill Gates once said that “I’d say we’ve moved about 160 IQ points from the hedge fund category to the teaching-many-people-in-a-leveraged-way category. It was a good day his wife let him quit his job.

Now is on a mission to deliver world class education to everyone.

It is a not for profit that has the backing of the Gates Foundation amongst others.

Khan eschewed a format that would involve a person standing by a whiteboard, desiring instead to present the content in a way akin to sitting next to someone and working out a problem on a sheet of paper: “If you’re watching a guy do a problem [while] thinking out loud, I think people find that more valuable and not as daunting.” Offline versions of the videos have been distributed by not-for-profit groups to rural areas in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.While the Khan Academy’s current content is mainly concerned with pre-college mathematics and physics, Khan states that his long-term goal is to provide “tens of thousands of videos in pretty much every subject” and to create “the world’s first free, world-class virtual school where anyone can learn anything.”

The Khan Academy also provides a web-based exercise system that generates problems for students based on skill level and performance. Khan believes his academy points an opportunity to overhaul the traditional classroom by using software to create tests, grade assignments, highlight the challenges of certain students, and encourage those doing well to help struggling classmates.

The success of his low-tech, conversational tutorials — Khan’s face never appears, and viewers see only his unadorned step-by-step doodles and diagrams on an electronic blackboard — suggests an educational transformation that de-emphasizes classrooms, campus and administrative infrastructure, and even brand-name instructors.

This is amazing stuff. Bill Gates says that he regularly watches a quick video to refresh his memory on something. My client’s 14 year old son “got” a maths technique that he had been struggling with in a few minutes from watching a video.

Just reflect on the global power of this. Mind boggling impact !

I strongly encourage you to browse this site and watch this video.

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