Khan Academy

With the time for finals quickly approaching, students at colleges and universities throughout the US, both traditional and online, are starting to hit the books hard.  Students will enlist study groups, text books, class notes, discussion boards, professor’s office hours, and every other resource they can find to help gain enough information to ace their classes. In recent years, a new online resource, Khan Academy, has been helping many students excell in classes.

Khan Academy  is a free online database of over 3,000 short video clips, explaining many academic topics. Khan Academy uses simple, clear language and straightforward methods to provide short tutorials on topics including math, sciences, and humanities.  Each video clip runs for 10-20 minutes and provides a information on a specific topic within a general subject (for example, there’s a 16 minute, 44 second video clip in the math section on linear algebra explaining inverting matrices). These video clips are clearly filmed to be informative, not entertaining. Rather than showing animation or the professor speaking, the video consists of an electronic chalkboard which shows the written work, with narration by Professor Khan.

Kahn Academy provides simple explainations and straightforward video tutorials on numerous academic topics (photo by shonk).

Khan Academy’s programs are useful in both K-12 education and college education.  Forbes estimated that about 6 million viewers who use Khan Academy every month, and that Khan Academy is used as part of the course curriculum for over 20,000 schools.  Clearly, Khan Academy, which at just a few years old is still a relatively new program, is making an impact on the world of online education, distance learning, and tutoring, both at the K-12 level and in higher education.

For students using Khan Academy as a tool for learning information on a single topic or topics, Khan Academy is able to store information about a student’s progress. This allows for a student to see what they’ve spent time studying and what they should move on to next; in essence, a student would be able to move through a whole basic linear algebra course, or a whole basic art history course, with their progress recorded, for free on Kahn Academy. This makes education more accessable to students throughout the world.

For college students, however, Khan Academy has a more flexible, helpful adaptation.  The videos on Khan Academy can be accessed in any order, by any student. This allows Khan Academy to be a perfect basic tutor for a student struggling with a specific class or classes.  When studying for midterms, finals, or any other time, it is natural for a student to come across an area of the course that is difficult to understand.  Khan Academy is an easy, quick, and free solution for students looking to understand a specific topic within their course. Simply type a topic into the search bar, anything from Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks painting to electrostatics, and the resulting videos will be found. This makes it easier than ever to review, practice, and ensure that you have a full and thorough knowledge of whatever topics are being covered in your course.

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