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Saturday, July 02, 2016

Khan Academy: Equity

I'm a big fan of Khan Academy. I believe that Khan Academy provides awesome access to learning for educators and students alike. I use Khan Academy to brush up on concepts and learn about new ways to think about or teach knowledge, concept, and skill.

A friend of mine uses Khan Academy every year to motivate, inspire, and educate her city students. Their math scores are tops. Another education colleague has noticed the amazing growth of her students, particularly students who have different languages at home and have immigrated to this country. I'm hoping that these colleagues will present their Khan Academy approach at our ECET2-MA2016 since the way they use Khan in the classroom provides wonderful access to learning, and that access serves to build equity, independent learning skills, and success.

Some don't embrace Khan Academy because they mistakenly view it as a narrow path to teaching and learning. I view Khan Academy as an incredible resource or a guide at the side. It's a tool to use in a multi-dimensional teaching/learning environment. Of course you don't want students glued to a computer day after day doing Khan Academy, but you can show students how they might use this rich resource to build skill, knowledge, and mastery. When studying for the Massachusetts K-6 Mathematics MTEL teaching test, I used Khan Academy to review all concepts--it was an efficient, successful resource.

I've also encouraged my sons in high school and college to use Khan Academy when a concept is confusing or they have to study for a test such as the SATs. I must say they're reluctant to sign on because of the independent nature of the study. That's why Khan Academy can't stand alone, and it's integral to develop wonderful learning experiences that are both collaborative and independent as well as learning experiences that are holistic, multi-dimensional, relevant, meaningful, and student-based.

However, with all this in mind, showing students how to use powerful, well-supported, and researched tools like Khan Academy provides those students with the tools they need to get ahead. My friend who has been so successful using Khan Academy with her students also noted that one of her former students, an immigrant from Ghana, is on his way to Yale University next year. I can't help to think that my friend's use of Khan Academy and/or similar equitable strategies and resources, played a part in this boy's success.

Do you make use of the tremendous learning resources available via Khan Academy? And, if you do, how have you used the resources in ways that support terrific, holistic teaching/learning endeavor. As I watch the ed-tech world grow, there are wonderful tools that keep getting better like Khan Academy, and there are many tools that have short lives. It's important to hitch our teaching/learning wagons to tools, resources, research, attitudes, organizations, experts, and experiences that matter, and it's just as important to work with students, families, and other educators to continually assess how, why, and what we use in order to teach as well as we can.

What do you think?