In this series, we share information about alternative forms of education and educational philosophies. So far we’ve examined Waldorf Education, Reggio Emilia, and Montessori. Next up is a relatively new idea that only the advent of technology has allowed: the Khan Academy.
Over a decade ago, Sal Khan, a hedge fund analyst who was living in Boston at the time, had a profound insight as he started tutoring his cousins in New Orleans.
Instead of having live conversations about the subject matter, he decided to record a YouTube video of the lessons. He learned something remarkable in the process: his cousins actually preferred watching the videos, rather than chatting with him about the work.
Well, what Sal came to discover, and this is what birthed the Khan Academy, was that by using video, his cousins could “pause and repeat”, learning at their own time and at their own place. They could jump ahead, or even go back and relearn things that would be helpful to the task at hand.
“A personalized learning resource for all ages”, as Sal has come to describe it. One in which, learning isn’t about a one-size fits all curriculum, but a more individualized approach.
Instead of a teacher looking on, with their expectations and understandings, and even their judgements and time constraints, Sal found that his cousins could accelerate their abilities at their own pace.
They could speed up or slow down depending on their needs.
The Khan Academy website put it rather eloquently:
“Most people are held back not by their innate ability, but by their mindset. They think intelligence is fixed, but it isn’t. Your brain is like a muscle. The more you use it and struggle, the more it grows.”
The Khan Academy hopes to achieve just that – inspiring you to flex your brain. With over 50 million users worldwide, and tutorials on a plethora of subjects, we’d say they are doing just that.
Have you or your children used the Khan Academy?
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