Salman Khan identified a systemic problem of students being forced to move on to the next level in schools even when they possess huge gaps in knowledge. Pursuit of a solution lead ultimately to the creation of Khan Academy. Here at Digital Bridge we look to Khan Academy as an example of what can be accomplished by determined groups who set their sights for shaking up the education system, and who don’t shy away from facing big challenges.
What is Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a nonprofit educational service started in 2006 by Salman Khan. Their website serves a collection of more than 4,000 video lectures on a comprehensive range of subjects spanning from math, science and physics all the way to systematic methods for solving brain teasers. These videos are available fee of charge and are provided in 23 different languages.
As an alumni of MIT & Harvard, Khan is familiar with quality education. The videos on the site are each delivered with enthusiasm and follow a systematic structure. The service also offers progress tracking tools for students, and classroom data for teachers. To date Khan academy has delivered over 242 million video lessons to students all around the world.
Why it was built
The roots of Khan Academy can be traced to Khan’s early years as a tutor. Using available internet tools Salman provided individual tutoring for family members and clients. Through the testimony of those under his tutelage requests poured in quickly and and he eventually found the need to distribute videos more efficiently, and his search eventually brought him to host videos on YouTube. Within a few years momentum was significant enough that in 2009 Sal quit his job as a hedge fund analyst and began working full time producing content for his site.
Future of Khan Academy
With its millions of global users Khan has become the poster child for a new type of classroom. Different from the Massive Open Online Courses we have covered in the past, Khan allows for individually paced curricula and the selection of courses, or individual lectures that suit the student’s needs.
Khan’s approach has spawned some inspirational stories from students everywhere who use the site’s tools to master new subjects, revisit old ones, and move their lives ahead through the benefits of education.
According to Khan their short term goal is to build a platform where the average student can go to become proficient in subjects where he or she has trouble. And as far as the long term, he is thinking even bigger. In a 2012 interview he had this to say:
“There is an abundance of opportunity for developing The Khan Academy,” Khan said. “In the long run, we envision being able to offer kids in rural Africa access to an education better than they could ever dream of, and enabling children with chronic diseases, student athletes, actors or prisoners to receive a free equivalent to in-person tutoring.”
Khan Academy has already benefited millions of students. The organization’s integrity and passion have caught the attention of Google and the Bill and Melinda Foundation, leading to the donation of million of dollars. Khan Academy has a strong model and vision for the world of digital learning. With their impressive track record and their ever-growing network of promoters they are well positioned to continue to be a leader in the educational space.