In these past few months, the novel coronavirus has changed the world. It is not only pushing us into a new era, but it is also forcing us to recognize that a new era has already begun.
This new era — driven by the digital revolution— has been sneaking up on us for decades.
COVID 19 has threatens most traditional institutions, like our school system by putting unprecedented power in the hands of individuals. This is what is known as the new normal.
It is true that for decades, the field of education has resisted society’s decentralizing trends.
But now it looks like the coronavirus will serve as the catalyst to help our schools catch up to the decentralizing trends of the larger society.
Education is at a crossroads right now, where the choice is between clinging to old practices and theories or redefining learning. Coronavirus pandemic has forced schools around the world to close, prompting a chaotic scramble to move online and find a way to somehow finish out semesters.
If society is decentralizing, eventually control of our education system will have to decentralize as well. In practical terms, that means giving more control to teachers and parents.
The pandemic has forced millions of teachers, parents and students to try an unplanned and unexpected experiment in homeschooling.
Teachers are learning new ways to connect with students. Parents are facing new questions about what to push and what to let slide. Many students will thrive, others will get by and an untold number will be left behind.
We know that these are challenging times for everyone. And whiles health and safety should be our priority; we shouldn’t forget the education of our kids and even that of ourselves.
In these past weeks, I have written on how to work from home admist coronavirus pandemic, how to start teaching online using zoom and how student and parent can meet teachers online for home tuition on zoom.
Today I want to talk to you about another platform, equally important and best of all free to use for home-schooling. It is called Khan Academy.
What is Khan Academy?
Khan Academy is an educational organization that creates short educational videos that serve as lectures on many different topics. Khan Academy also has educational materials, including practice problems and exercises for educators, that enhance learning with these videos.
Khan Academy allows for the personalization of education, offering students an opportunity to self-pace through lessons that are scaled to their current level of understanding, and moving them forward only once they have mastered a topic within a lesson.
Khan Academy was founded by Salman Khan and he used the initial videos to help tutor one of his cousins.
Today, kids can download and view more than videos on a variety of academic subjects on the website or through an app. A coach can sign up and monitor kids’ progress; kids can also take a test to show their understanding.
Problems include hints and videos have further learning links.
A custom dashboard progress map fills up as kids master skills and earns badges and energy points. Users can watch any video or practice any skill at any time when using the site.
Aside maths, other subjects available on Khan Academy include science, economics, and humanities subjects.
The best part is that Khan Academy is completely free for anyone and everyone, and the organization is committed to keeping it that way forever.
Advantages of using Khan Academy
Here are some advantages for using Khan Academy:
- Substitution: Videos can be used to replace traditional lectures a student would get from their teacher.
- Augmentation: Khan Academy scales material to student needs, allowing them to work and learn at their own pace. Khan Academy also has tools that track students’ progress, allowing them to pick up where they left off in a lesson, as well as giving coaches the ability to see if their students watched lessons in full, see how many practice problems they completed, and at what stage of a mission they are at.
- Modification: You can set up a station-rotation model in your classroom. Split your class into 3 groups. Each group begins by watching a Khan Academy lesson. The group then moves on to teacher-led instruction based on that lesson, but in a much smaller group and thus with significantly more interaction between student and teacher. Finally, the last station ends with students working together collaboratively on assignments based on the lesson. You can also use Khan Academy to flip your classroom. Have students watch lessons at home and complete interactive activities and assignments in the classroom collaboratively with classmates and with direct teacher assistance that students would not get if doing assignments at home. This capitalizes on precious classroom time. Instead of students passively listening to a lecture and going home to complete assignments, the teacher uses the classroom to work students through assignments. This also allows students to work through a video lesson at their own pace – rewinding, and pausing, as needed.
Redefinition: Students can learn from hundreds of teachers, not just the one they have in the classroom. Videos can supplement in-class lessons for added instruction and practice for students who need it. In addition, online discussion forums allow interactions regarding a given lesson with students and experts from around the globe. Khan Academy is completely translated into several other languages as well.
Who can use Khan Academy?
Elementary School (Grades K-5): Assign Khan Academy videos for students falling behind on a given topic or for students who want to go beyond topics being currently taught in the classroom. For example, if a student is struggling with addition and subtraction, you might have them watch a video and complete some of the practice problems from that after. Alternatively, if a student has mastered that before the rest of the class, you may move them on to “Addition and subtraction within 1000.”
Middle School (Grades 6-8): Assign Khan Academy material or missions to students and use class time to complete additional practice and exercises, answer questions, and build upon what they learned in the videos.
High School (Grades 9-12): For a Science course: have students browse Khan Academy topics under Health & Medicine. Have each student give a short presentation in the class about what they learned, and how it connects to two concepts that have been discussed in class.
Higher Education (and all grade levels): Challenge your students to watch several Khan Academy videos (on any topic) and then make their own for a given assigned topic that a Khan Academy video does not exist for, as opposed to writing a paper or giving a PowerPoint presentation.
Test preparation: If you are preparing for standardize test like PSAT, SAT, ACT, GMAT, MCAT, CAHSEE, etc. Khan Academy will help.
Make sure you treat this practice test seriously—time yourself and take it in a quiet place. This will allow you to see what you would actually score if you took the test, and it will give a benchmark for measuring your progress as you continue your test preparation.
Khan Academy allows for students to self-pace through material, and scales material based on student progress, something that is impossible in a traditional classroom.
Students can be linked to “coaches” who can be their teacher, a parent, a tutor, or a peer-tutor. The coach can track student progress and intervene and make suggestions based on student progress. For example, if a student does not seem to be mastering a topic, a coach can identify if the student watched the lesson completely, completed an adequate number of practice problems, etc.
It is a great tool for flipped classrooms, personalized learning, and blended learning, ensuring that you are meeting the learning needs of ALL of your students and not just teaching at the pace of your “average” student.
On Khan Academy, In addition to searching for keywords, you can also explore the following subject offerings: Math, Science, Economics and finance, Computing, Test prep, Partner Content, College Admissions, Talks and Interviews, and Coach Resources.
Meanwhile, Computer Science lessons cover important topics like data encryption and information theory. The Hour of Code tutorials are especially convenient since they boil lessons down into easily digestible one-hour chunks, perfect for busy adults or impatient children.
Lessons are highly interactive. As the instructor describes and types code on one end of the screen the effects become immediately visible on the other end. The same is true whenever you take control. Your errors are also quickly addressed and explained.
Thanks to a growing list of partners, Khan Academy has more content for adult learners than it had a few years ago.
Astronomers will gravitate to NASA, which has posted a track on the solar system, while another series at American Museum of Natural History lets learners tour the boundaries of observable universe. Art and art history is another strong suit, thanks to series from the MoMA, including one on abstract expressionism, and a new series from The Met, in which curators highlight the best of the collections.
Khan Academy offers a simple approach to machine-graded assessment.
Consider the first quiz of the Enlightenment and revolution program.
To pass, users need to answer five questions in a row. Missing one question resets the score, but not the questions, which, despite my best efforts, do not repeat. Users can request a couple of hints, but that’s it; after you exhausted your hints, you’re on your own.
Assessments are even richer when it comes to test prep.
In addition to an exhaustive College Admissions section that includes tutorials on standardized testing, extra-curricular activities, admissions essays, and school selection, Khan Academy offers specialized resources on each of the major standardized tests. For example, the SAT program includes a test overview, a downloadable full-length practice test, online exercises, and tutorials for Math and Reading and Writing.
Read Also: 25 Silent Benefits of Homeschooling
Join Khan Academy
Follow these four steps to begin using Khan Academy with your child.
- Step 1: Create your account.
Go to khanacademy.org.
Select Join Khan Academy as a Teacher and follow the prompts to create your account.
Note: No matter what you select, once you start creating your account you’ll have the option to identify yourself as a learner, teacher, or parent.
- Step 2: Create a class.
Go to your Teacher dashboard, accessible through the username dropdown menu at the top-right of the screen. Click the Add new class button.
Either enter your own class name or import a class from Google Classroom.
Then, select a subject for your class. For more information on creating a class click here.
Note: Adding a subject allows Khan Academy to suggest relevant content for you to assign. It will not prevent you from assigning other content to students or prevent students from practicing on other parts of the site.
- Step 3: Add your students.
There are three ways to add students to your class:
Link to your Google Classroom account and import the class. You will need your username and password for Google.
Have students add themselves by class code. Each class has a unique class code. You can share a direct link with students or students can enter the class code at www.khanacademy.org/teachers to join your class.
Add students without email accounts. You’ll create Khan Academy accounts for them.
- Step 4: Navigate the site with confidence.
The Teacher dashboard is the teacher homepage on Khan Academy. You can always get back to it by clicking the top-center Khan Academy logo or by clicking Teacher dashboard in the username drop-down menu in the top-right corner of the screen.
If clicking the Khan Academy logo doesn’t take you to the Teacher Dashboard, you’ll need to change your settings. Click on Settings in the top-right username drop-down menu, scroll down to Roles and make sure your Homepage is set to Teacher dashboard.
You have seen now how you can use Khan Academy to homeschool your child.
But if all of these looks cumbersome for you and you find it difficult to get, don’t worry, we are here to help you.
Excellent Home Classes offer both in-house tuition and online tuition for students of all levels and in all subjects.
We will help sign your child on, provide him/her with a personalize coach and also monitor the lessons.
We will even direct your kids to videos and other helpful materials that can help boost their confidence and also improve their grades.
If you like what you read and the information in here makes sense to you, please share and also comment below.