Search for Web 2.0 Tools

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Having trouble at home because you don't have a textbook, try using Khan Academy

Recently our district has moved to a "Beyond the Textbook" philosophy.  Teachers are encouraged to move away from the textbook and into more interactive, hands-on, engaging method of teaching.  In doing so though this has left some parents and students who are used to using a textbook as guidance in learning their materials, that some are feeling a little lost and struggling with ideas on where to get materials that they can use to help their students understand the concept being studied.  This problem is found mostly in the study of mathematics.

Today I am going to blog about Khan Academy.

What is it?

  • Khan Academy was founded by Salman Khan.  His creating a huge "bank" of education tutorials that are easy to follow and understand.  Right now he has created over 2700 videos mainly for math, but has recently been adding other subjects like science and art history.  He is now backed by Bill Gates, Google, and a half a dozen other companies that want this site to succeed in helping students from around the world to have a free source of educational material.



What can you do with it?
  • When it first started, the site was all about Youtube video tutorials.  Now you can watch the tutorial and then actually practice it online.  After the practice you can take a quiz to see how you are doing.  Once you have mastered the concept it will keep track of your progress and reward the student with points that can be used to earn badges.  Again, the way Khan presents the material makes it easy for a user to understand.
  • These videos can also be embeded.  In other words you can take the embed coded and place these videos right into your own website or blog so that when your students go to your site they will have direct access to the specific video concept you would want them to have.
How do you use it?

1.  First go to www.khanacademy.org .

2.  You could then just start browsing the videos and start watching the concept that you need, however I would recommend signing up for the academy so that it can keep track of your progress.

3.  To sign in, click the login button in the top right corner of the screen.  This will take you to a login screen.



  • I find that the only thing I don't like about the site is that it forces the user to login with either a Facebook account or a Google account.  Now creating those are both free, but I wish it would allow you to create an account for just Khan Academy.
4.  Click either the Google or the Facebook button and then agree with the following screen.




5.  Congratulations you are now set up as a Khan Academy student.

6.  At the very top there is a search feature.  Just give a few key words of the concept you are studying and this will pull up a list of videos that you could watch.



  • As you watch the video you will notice the points found below the video increasing.  The longer you watch the video the more points you receive.




7.  After you are done watching the video click the "Practice" link at the top.




8.  Now you can search for that same lesson in the practice search box.





9.  Click on the right lesson.






10.   Solve the problem and enter the answer in the answer box.  The neat thing is that if you get it wrong you can click the "Next Step" buttons and see how to solve it.





11.  If you want to see how you are doing on your progress then at any time just click on your name at the very top of the screen.




That is really all there is to using Khan Academy.  I highly recommend this site for those who need a little added help or need refreshers on helping your own children.  If you are a teacher and need a resource that your students can use as a reinforcement tool, then www.khanacademy.org is the way to go.