New generation of schooling


Science teacher, Dr. Gremski, participates in online education by providing her students with supplemental YouTube videos.

Science teacher, Dr. Gremski, participates in online education by providing her students with supplemental YouTube videos.
Taylor Michael ’13

Founder of Khan Academy, Sal Khan, did not expect for millions of students to watch the pre-algebra videos he made to help his cousin Nadia. However, what started out as tutoring through videos has now turned into an established not-for-profit organization that as of Tuesday October 2, 2012 delivered 194,677,020 lessons worldwide.
Khan Academy uses YouTube videos and problem sets called modules to help provide all students with “ a free world-class education” which is Khan Academy’s motto. The site not only offers topics in math ranging from arithmetic to calculus, but also science, the humanities, economics and test prep.
Khan began making videos about math in 2004 when his seventh grade cousin Nadia asked for him to tutor her in math. Nadia lived in New Orleans and he worked as a hedge fund analyst in Boston, Massachusetts.  When he posted his videos on YouTube, he received positive feedback.
“I started getting feedback like, ‘You know, my child has dyslexia, and this is the only thing that’s getting into him.’ I got letters from people saying, ‘You know, we’re praying for you and your family.’ That’s pretty heady stuff. People don’t say that type of stuff to a hedge fund analyst normally,” Sal Khan said in a 60 Minutes interview.
Some schools have integrated Khan Academy into their curriculum Classrooms that adopt the Khan Academy method “flip the classroom,” according to Sal Khan in a TED Talk. Students will go home and watch the lesson online and then will work on problem sets in class. Sal Khan advertises that this method transforms the classrooms so that students can work together more. Using this program the teacher will not have to lecture as much. He or she can instead use time during class to interact and to help each student individually.
Khan Academy has also had some success at Convent of the Sacred Heart. Although the program is not directly used in the curriculum, some students use Khan Academy to supplement teaching and solidify difficult topics.
“In the Khan Academy videos, I can quickly see a way new explanation for a concept that I had been struggling with before,” senior Taylor Blevin said.  “Having a different explanation from the one my teachers give can help me to understand something more.”
However, not every teacher finds the program helpful for struggling students. According to Valerie Strauss’s blog “The Answer Sheet” on The Washington Post website, Khan does not  explain conceptually why the equation should be used but rather how to use the equation.
“The impression I have from the few I have watched is that they focus more on the process of solving problems, rather than the conceptual understanding that underlies why the process works,” Sacred Heart Upper School Science Teacher Dr. Saffron Castle said. “The brevity that makes his videos accessible sometimes makes the content ambiguous.”
– Taylor Michael, Photo Editor