A LearnStorm is sweeping the Chicago Public Schools, and while students taking this nine-week Khan Academy math challenge will build their skills, teachers can learn a thing or two as well.
If Khan Academy was a traditional classroom, we'd see some of the best practices in education happening, and I dare say we'd see much more engaged, happier students.
- I love the motto: "You can learn anything." Such an empowering proclamation should be plastered on every classroom wall. Every teacher knows the cliché "every child can learn," but it's meaningless if kids themselves don't believe it's true.
In my 13 years in education, I've discovered that a teacher cannot make a student learn; our primary job is to inspire students to want to learn. Once a kid intrinsically believes in his or her ability, the battle for academic achievement is half won.
While Khan Academy mostly supports math (not reading) for younger kids, it provides succinct videos explaining how to solve math problems and gives kids loads of practice. Too bad Khan Academy wasn't available when I was teaching that third-grade class!
Sometimes an adult is needed to make sure the children are doing the computerized program, though many times kids are self-motivated to do the work, driving their own learning.
My fourth-grade daughter is proud of her 147,678 energy points and her 40 badges, but she's even more astonished by a boy in her class who has 900,000 energy points. It's fun for them and they get excited to see their math-skill levels climb higher while sitting with a laptop open on the kitchen table.
"Im only 10 is it too early to look for a good college and start planning my future."
"What if I am going to college early? I am 9 years old."
"How long do I wait to be in college if I am in 6 grade."
On April 1st, the LearnStorm will end in Chicago, but Khan Academy will continue doing its thing on the Internet, proving to kids--and adults--that with the right supports, you really can learn anything.
Our challenge as educators is not only teach to high standards, raise test scores, send our kids to college, but to also present knowledge in a way that fans the flames of our students' natural curiosity and sets them on the path of lifelong learning.
You can also find this post at Education Post as 5 Reasons Why This Educator Is Loving Khan Academy for Her Students and Children.