8.26.2011

Confession...I'm planning to use Khan Academy this year

It seems Khan Academy (henceforth referenced as KA) has a pretty bad rap in some math teacher circles.  I understand that the videos are somewhat lacking in the engagement factor, and motivating students with points and badges can seem somewhat elementary.  I also see that KA tends to focus more on a procedure/pattern than actual problem solving. 

All that said, I will be using KA this year in my resource classroom.  I have a group of students that are in my class for numeracy skill building/strategies instruction.  I'm supposed to be teaching them 25 mins/day and allowing them 25 mins/day to work on their homework or classwork.  I have students of all grade and ability levels in one resource class, so lesson planning becomes difficult.  Twenty-five minutes is not a long time when you think about it, seemingly less when you think about real problem solving tasks.

Enter KA.  Each student can be working on exercises related to what their individual math course is or will be addressing.  I can monitor their progress as a "coach" and assign them individual tasks.  My district uses Google Apps for Education, so all the students have email addresses that they use to log in.  I can, in theory, email them instructions for which exercises or videos I would like them to do during their 25 minute instruction period.  Two days in, some students are more engaged than others.  That is to be expected.  When assigned topics directly related to material they were working on in their math class, the students were more engaged.

I'm sure that things will change throughout the year as we continue to develop this strategies portion of the resource class, but for now, KA is a useful tool.  Just sayin'.

p.s. I (obviously) made it through week one at the new school.  Yay!

4 comments:

  1. I've been one of those who's been cautioning against using Khan Academy or similar resources. Still, I don't argue that things can be learned from KA - you just have to realize that KA is limited because it doesn't reflect what we know about how students learn best. If you use KA selectively and wisely, it can have it's place. Just be careful that you don't end up with Benny in your classroom (http://blog.mathed.net/2011/07/rysk-erlwangers-bennys-conception-of.html).

    Congratulations on a successful first week!

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  2. Agree with the post above, and I think your use of Khan seems very reasonable - my biggest problem with KA is that it's heralded as the savior of education, which it's obviously not. But in a classroom where you have kids at all different levels, and the classroom is for practicing and relearning in conjunction with classroom teaching... that seems reasonable to me!

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  3. Thanks for the feedback guys.

    I have only 7-10 students in the class at once, so I plan to walk around monitoring not only whether their answers are correct, but also their methods and reasoning. We'll see how it goes. *smile*

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  4. Yes KA is a good tool and good option for students. I do not think if they are focusing more in pattern so it is a problem. I guided few students at http://www.coolmathtutoring.com/ and the pattern was little bit same as KA.

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