Khan Academy Review

Posted by admin on June 23, 2012 under Review | Be the First to Comment

Khan Academy reviewsKhan Academy is an educational organization that provides online classes for free. It was created by Salman Khan in 2006, a man who graduated from MIT and Harvard Business School. Khan states that the aim of the academy is to accelerate learning for students of all ages. At present, there are well over 3,000 video lectures available online on YouTube. There are a wide variety of topics covered including mathematics, physics, finance, astronomy, biology, healthcare, organic chemistry and economics. As late as 2009, Khan was still working as a hedge fund manager earning millions of dollars a year. However, his desire to make Khan Academy work meant that he quit this lucrative vocation to focus on his project.

Format
The whole idea began to take shape back in 2004 when Khan was tutoring his cousin in mathematics. He used the Doodle notepad provided by Yahoo! Such was his skill that various members of his family and friends asked him for similar assistance. Rather than spend time teaching individuals, he decided to create a series of mini videos and post them on YouTube. A Wacom tablet is used by Khan to create the drawings thanks to a free application called SmoothDraw3 with Camastia Studio screen capture software also used. All videos are available through the special Khan Academy YouTube Channel but can also be accessed via the Khan Academy website. Users can log in using Google or Facebook. Khan’s main goal is to provide tens of thousands of videos in almost every subject and create a virtual school worldwide which allows anyone to learn anything.

There is also a Khan Academy exercise program that provides problems for students to solve based on their individual skill level. The software is open source and operates under the MIT license. According to Khan, the academy offers the education system the opportunity to completely alter the old traditional classroom format by using software to highlight challenges of students, give tests and encourage high achievers to help their fellow classmates.

As well as having over 3,000 videos available, more than 150 million lessons have been delivered online through the Khan Academy. There are also automated exercises which have continuous assessment with more than 300 practice exercises available, predominantly in mathematics. The Khan Academy is funded by donations from various wealthy philanthropists. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Google are responsible for providing significant backing. Initially, the Khan Academy made thousands of dollars a month from advertising on its site but all advertising was eventually removed. Google donated $2 million in 2010 with a $5 million grant from the O’Sullivan Foundation in 2011 also added to the Khan Academy coffers.

Verdict
Salman Khan has rightly earned a number of plaudits for his innovative idea. He was named amongst the top 100 most influential people in 2012 by Time Magazine and has appeared on a number of national news programs. Khan could have become yet another billionaire. Instead, he has devoted his life to improving the educational prospects of others. For that, he should be applauded.

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