Wednesday, April 23, 2014

General Tech Tool: Khan Academy

Khan Academy is something that I couldn't live without as a PBL educator. In a PBL math classroom, we are often torn between digger deeper conceptually with the mathematics in the project and needing to make sure our students have procedural fluency. Khan Academy provides me with just what I need to help my students get the best of both worlds.

Overview


Name of Tech Tool: Khan Academy

Brief Description of Tech Tool: Khan Academy is an online resource that has instructional and educational videos on a wide variety of topics, form micro-economics to astrophysics, cryptology and beyond. Khan Academy is most frequently associated with mathematics learning as it provides not only video instruction assistance, but procedural practice in a wide array of skills from middle elementary through trigonometry and beyond.

Technical Costs & Considerations: Users will need access to technology and the internet to access the site. If using it with students, it is a good idea to have students signed up with their individual emails. This is particularly easy if your school uses Google emails. Students will also need access to YouTube since videos are streamed through that service.

Additional Information

Khan Academy users are able to track their individual progress, "level-up" their mastery and earn badges of accomplishment throughout their learning endeavors. Teachers, parents and coaches can track this progress on the back-end and assign specific topics and videos to their students to master.

You can create your own classes in Khan Academy and track any number of students assigned to various learning plans. You can even customize what your students are working on and set dates for when it should be completed as means of differentiation and extension. Then view their stats to see how many attempts they made and adjust your assignments from there. Statistics show student mastery level in addition to this other information, helping you to see how well your student has mastered the procedures.

Helpful Links from Khan Academy:

How Khan Academy Supports and Supplements PBL/PrBL
Khan Academy is an awesome supplement to a blended-PBL classroom of any kind, but I particularly appreciate it for mathematics. When working on projects, I can direct my students to specific videos that will help them to learn and practice the procedures they need in order to best utilize the concepts they are developing throughout the project. I can also create customized playlists for each student that includes just what that individual student needs to cover and nothing they don't.