Saturday, March 30, 2013

Khan Academy - FREE Tutoring For Your Child!

As a parent, you may not remember your algebra, trigonometry or calculus classes from high school or college. So, when your child is at home and stuck on a math problem and asks for your help, you now have a place to turn for answers to help them with their homework. I have been using and telling people about Khan Academy for several years now. When my youngest son was in second grade he watched a 13 minute video on Khan Academy on multiplication. He understood the concepts right away and started doing the practice problems on the Khan Academy website which really boosted his confidence in his newly learned skill. Shortly after that he started going around asking older kids to ask him multiplication problems to which he enjoyed answering. That is the kind of enthusiasm and confidence you would like to instill in every student in learning about the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects.

Khan Academy was founded by Salman Khan in 2004. Sal earned 3 degrees from MIT (a BS in mathematics, a BS in electrical engineering and computer science and a Masters in electrical engineering and computer science) and an MBA from Harvard. He started out by recording some videos helping to tutor his niece in math and posted them on YouTube. He then started get comments thanking him for his videos. He posted more videos which eventually led to the Khan Academy website which now has more than 3000 educational and instructional videos on Math, Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and more. All of the videos are hosted on YouTube for FREE. The website now has interactive problem solving software that allows the students to do practice problems over and over until they master the topic or concept before moving on to the next topic. Khan Academy has a "knowledge map" for all of the math subjects to help the student start at the basics and move into more complex topics.

In 2010, Google announced it would give Khan Academy $2 million dollar towards developing more courses and shortly thereafter the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave Khan Academy another $1.5 million dollar. This has helped Sal grow Khan Academy and in keeping it free for everyone to use.

You can find the Khan Academy website here:

Khan Academy Videos
You might find yourself using Khan Academy as a refresher for some topics yourself if you are taking some college courses. You can search for the videos by topic and have your child watch a video on a particular topic. The videos are typically from 2 to 10 minutes in length. They are recorded as if he was teaching a class on each particular topic only you don't see him in the video. He uses a pen tablet and screen capture software to record the lessons to video and then posts them on YouTube. So, if you missed or didn't understand what he was explaining, you can always back up the video and play it again. It is like having access to a math or science tutor 24/7 for FREE.

I highly recommend checking out Khan Academy especially if you have students or children that struggling with their math or science classes. The site now has interactive practice problems that allow you or your child to practice the concepts taught in the videos. One issue that Sal talks about is the fact that students have trouble in math down the road if they don't learn and "master" all of the basics. If a student doesn't learn ad and master the basics, their math skills will be like Swiss cheese. They will find some things down the road may be very easy for them, while other concepts that are equally as easy will seem really hard to them because they may have missed mastering a few basic concepts. So, the ability to learn and review at anytime can really boost your child's or student's skills and confidence and eventually their grades.

Salman Kahn's Book - The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined
Right now you can purchase and download the digital version of Salman Khan's book titled The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined from Amazon in Kindle format for only $2.99. It is normally priced at $12.99 so if you can get it on sale, I highly recommend it. It is the story of how Sal founded Khan Academy and what he learned about teaching when he started introducing it to teachers and students. His book was released in October 2012.

You can purchase and download his book directly onto your iOS or Android phone or tablet or onto your Kindle readers directly from Amazon here:

The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined

TED Talk Presentations
I highly recommend watching Salman Khan's TED Talk presentation at the 2011 TED Talk Conference. His presentation gives a great overview of Khan Academy and how some schools in California are using it to flip their classroom learning.

You can find his TED Talk presentation here:
Salman Kahn - Let's Use Video To Reinvent Education

While speaking about math, one of my other favorite videos I show to inspire people on improving their math skills is a TED Talk video from Arthur Benjamin. For math teachers, this is a great way to motivate students and show them what can be done with a practice. More importantly it will help your child or student improve their math skills tremendously if they use the techniques that Arthur Benjamin teaches in his book and in some of his videos.
Arthur Benjamin Does "Mathemagic"

You never know who you may inspire or help by passing this information on to your family and friends. I even recommend passing this information on to your child's teacher as many of the teachers I have spoken with are not aware of Khan Academy.

FREE Digital Textbooks
I guess while I'm on the subject of helpful sites, I should also mention CK12.ORG is a website where you can find and download many free textbooks in ePub, mobi and PDF formats. So, if you have a smart phone or a tablet computer running iOS or Android or even some eBook Readers you can visit CK12.ORG and download free textbooks.