When the Bill Gates Foundation invests in a start-up education company, all parents should take notice. And I’ve just discovered a site on YouTube, called Khan Academy,
The concept is quite simple (another one of those wish I had thought of that ideas). Children don’t always understand the lesson during the 50-minute classroom time and there is very little time for individual attention in classrooms where 30 children are the norm. And then they are asked to do homework on the lesson and the only feedback they get is a grade, then the teacher moves on to the next lesson. Unless the foundation lessons are solidly learned, future steps will be weak.
What if your child doesn’t fully understand the concept the first time? What if they are just grasping the ideas but need more practice and more instruction to absorb the principles? Sadly there is no more time in the classroom, and parents who lead busy lives can only refer to the chapter in the child’s book for coaching, if they take the time at all.
The global statistics for OECD countries are revealing. The US and the UK rank 20th and 28th respectively in overall combined reading, maths and science scores.
Mastery comes not from a one evening’s homework assignment, but from repeated practice until there is understanding and demonstrated mastery. And that’s where the Khan Academy comes in.
In order to help his cousins with their algebra homework, Salman Khan, an investment banker, would create little “homework lessons and practice sessions” on his computer and post them on YouTube. His cousins were hooked and wanted more, as did their friends. The Khan Academy was born. It now has over 2100 video lessons and 100 self-paced exercises in all major school subjects, posted on its website. If you want to hear the story from Sal himself, watch his talk on TED.
It’s not about upping your country’s global ranking, it’s about helping your child gain the understanding, mastery and educational foundation they can build a positive future on. We do Khan Academy every night at our house, how about you?
Tight Lines . . .