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Khan Academy at Summit Public Schools

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No one ever says, "Oh, I just don't read," or, "I didn't like the English language" But it's totally okay and socially acceptable to say, "Oh, I don't do math." We live in a really quantitative world, and I want to help students see how math is everywhere. When they shoot a basketball; when they drink a cup of water; and I want them to be able to think quantitatively; because that's, to me, a huge skill that'll get them ahead in life In a lot of different ways. Summit San Jose is the third school in the Summit Public Schools network. The first school, Summit Prep, was featured in Waiting For Superman, a few years ago. And we just started, this year, as the third school in the network. We decided we would do something different than the other Summit schools, when we opened this school up. So, we have this special math program. We combine face-to-face instruction with this computer-based learning -- in ways that make the most sense for kids, to create the best learning experiences. I heard about Khan Academy last school year, probably when the first TED Talk aired. We looked at all different content providers. And they promised that they would give us a strong relationship, and help us out when we needed it. We started the year not knowing what would unfold at all. We've really worked with them on saying what we need. And they've been really good at giving us what we need, and what other teachers need. And I think that's only going to get better and better. Khan Academy is great for a lot of reasons. It makes your job harder, because it just sets your bar higher of what you should be planning for your students. When you get all that data--that's really easy to access-- it pushes you to say, "Maybe this lesson, that I thought was good for my whole class, is only good for 20 percent of my class. I should go back and think about what I'm really asking my students to do-- whether that's something that's on too high of a level for 80 percent of the class, or something that's too low of a level for the class. When you assign homework, oftentimes you're solidifying bad practices, and you're solidifying misconceptions. What Khan is really good at doing is giving instant feedback, to all 36 kids in my classroom In a way that I could never do. So, every student, on every problem, is getting instant feedback. Those misconceptions are not solidified. I think that's the one thing Khan has changed dramatically is now, they're learning processes, they're learning how to do them correctly, as opposed to just learning how to get by. The students kind of see it as a video game where, [as] in a video game, you fail all the time. Right? In math you fail all the time. In everything in school you should fail all the time, and you should learn from those mistakes. and what we've noticed that has been great is that students learn from their mistakes, before it's too late, and they grow, and they learn the math; instead of continuing to pretend they understand it. Just like for any adult, goal setting is very important. And we've found, with the students, making those goals very specific, and very attainable, are things that get them motivated. Everybody can go on Khan Academy now and say "I have a goal to finish these six exercises." And it keeps track of it on the top, it shows you what percentage of it you've finished, and then it tells you when you're finished with you're goal and our students have really liked that validation, that they set a goal, and that they completed it, and they had a sense of accomplishment from it. :) It's changed my students, because they're more accountable, and they know where they're at. They definitely have a sense of whether they know something or they don't. They're much more vocal, and they advocate for themselves. And it's changed me, because I know a lot more about my students. Khan Academy doesn't allow the students to hide the deficits in their knowledge. It really challenges you to provide really excellent lessons for as many students as possible, because you just have all of this information about your students. It's great for motivation, it's great for practice. I wouldn't go back and teach another way, if I'd had the choice.