If we believe ourselves to be life-long learners, then Khan Academy (KA) would be a resource that any autodidact might want to have in their arsenal to learn and grow a little (or a lot) every day. My role as an instructional technologist is to help teachers find resources that help them teach more effectively and efficiently. However, KA could be equally useful for teachers in their out-of-school lives. If you’re a learn-by-doing kind of person (“that’s me!” says the author), this would be a good parallel as it helps fill in the gaps that the sometimes non-linear path that learning in real time misses.
If you’re asked to take on the role as church treasurer or your children’s school parent blog, you might consider “going back to school” and use KA to brush up on the skills you’d need to do these tasks effectively. Once using KA in this ways, my bet is you’d quickly see how it fits into your classroom instruction.
Let’s get things straight first – if you teach French, Spanish (ixl.com now has a Spanish module), Music Theory or Religion, KA won’t be of much use in the classroom, as they haven’t added those subject areas in their vast library of resources. They’ve come a long way though! KA started out as solely math-focused, with science and engineering following closely behind. Over the years, KA now includes World, US History and Government, Language Arts/Grammar, Comp Sci, as well as a comprehensive set of lessons regarding test prep. There are even more modules that deal with careers, growth mindset, personal finance, entrepreneurship, and so much more.
Perhaps, most amazingly, Khan Academy is FREE! As in free free free free free free! However, it has the feel of a well-oiled, well-funded organization which it is because Microsoft and other companies have a large stake in their desire to provide quality educational resources for all!
Here are a couple of resources on how to get up and running with Khan Academy:
As a middle school, we use ixl.com extensively and over the years ixl.com has also expanded from its initial math-only roots. If you haven’t looked lately, please view the added subject areas that they’ve added over the years. If you’d like to try subject areas other than Math, English, and Science such as Social Studies and Spanish, let me know so we can upgrade the ixl accounts to allow you to utilize those subject areas.
- Here’s a nice primer on using KA as a newbie – link
- How to use KA in class practice – link
- How to use KA for homework – link
- How KA supports personalized learning – link
Although it’s getting later in the school year, you might consider implementing this into your classroom instruction in the fall! Remember, your EdTech Team is here throughout much of the summer to work within a more relaxed and non-stressful setting. As one of the video states, computers/technology can replace teachers, but it can help teachers be better at what they do! Khan Academy might be just the thing you need to help your students help themselves!