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Khan Academy in Tal Sztainer's 12th grade classroom

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(gentle music) (crowds talking) Tal: I'm Tal Sztainer. I'm a secondary teacher at Olney Charter High School. Olney Charter High School is a public high school that, just this year, was taken over by ASPIRA, in efforts to improve its condition. The school, located in North East Philadelphia, has been on the persistently dangerous list for several years, and has had some of the lowest standardized test scores in the city. (ringing) Okay, let's get started. This year, I have the privilege of teaching 12th grade math. By the time these students reach 12th grade, there is such a range in their skill level. Some of the students are college-bound and have a high level of math skills, others are still struggling with their times tables. (gentle music) Having so many different students with such different skill levels, cause quite a bit of problems in the classroom. With all of the needs of all of the students in the classroomS, there are times when I feel like I'm running a marathon in there, trying to get from one student to the next. I wish that I could give every student one-on-one attention anytime they needed it. Student: In class, I hate it when people gets the topic faster than I do. If I don't know what was going on in class, I distract other people and really don't do my work. I just mess around with people. Student: If the stuff too hard, and the teacher don't come and help me right away, I put my head down and go to sleep. Give up. Student: It's annoying when I wanna learn something new, but we can't because we have to go over the stuff again and again. Tal: What very quickly started frustrating me was that outside of school my students are subject to a fast paced world where they are constanlty texting, tweeting, surfing, gaming; and at the same time, in the classroom, I am expected to teach them in a 19th century model, with a teacher lecturing in the front, with one objective on the board for all the students. (gentle music) I spent a lot of time this year thinking about how to introduce technology into my classroom, and how to make sure that the higher level students and the lower level students were both learning. I made it my goal to get a set of computers for my classroom. I knew that, if used effectively, they would benefit my students and help me out a lot. I found a non-profit where I could buy 10 used computers for $100 each, and after making some phone calls to family and friends, was able to raise the money to pay for them all. Right off the bat, both my students and I fell in love with the free web-based program, Khan Academy. Students were able to individually work on topics of their own levels, practicing with interactive exercises, watching videos, and easily allowing me to monitor their progress. Once I figured out several ways of implementing Khan Academy, the changes in my classroom were beyond noticeable. (harmonica) Khan Academy has shifted the class to being more student-centered. The differentia of opportunities have noticeably increased students' self confidence and excitement to learn. Student: I like having [unintelligible] because I can see what I have accomplished. Student: Teacher compete. They got, like, 30 other students in the class, and so they can't help you right away; but, you on the computer, it can help you right away, get your feedback right away. You working on a problem, you got it wrong, it'll tell you you got it wrong, and then it'll explain it to you. Tal: Now I use the computers daily. I'm able to group the students by skill levels or by learning styles. Not only does Khan Academy aide in strengthening students' content knowledge, it allows me to work with, and give my attention, to smaller, more focused groups. Besides the fact that students can work at their own levels, the behavior in the class in the class has improved significantly. I can now focus more of my attention on teaching, rather than managing behavior. Student: It takes away a lot of distractions. The class is more peaceful. Tal: The students get engrossed in the exercises, and their accomplishments, and as expected, they enjoy some healthy competition. Student: That's wrong! Oh, that's right. (laughs) Student: Ah, it is. It's right. A star! Student: You know what? Shut up. Student: Being at the top, you get lonely up there. (laughs) Student: (clap) Student: (laughing) The score says it all. That's not even updated. Hold up! Tal: I'm not claiming that Khan Academy solved all the problems surrounding urban education, nor am I suggesting that teachers are obsolete, but the truth is, with a few cheap computers, and this incredible, free program, my classroom transformed dramatically and students learned more. Thank you, Khan Academy. (acoustic music) (contemporary music)