I decided to revisit the world of Salmon Khan, and found a Ted Talk he performed in 2011 titled “Let’s use video to reinvent education.” He starts the talk by explaining why he made his first videos. Khan was tutoring his cousins remotely and made videos and posted them to YouTube to explain concepts to them. The videos helped his cousins a lot, and one even told him they liked him better on YouTube then in person! Other people began commenting on Khan’s videos; “this was the first time I smiled doing a derivative!” Another women explained that her autistic son had trouble learning math and Khan’s videos were the first tool that were able to get through to him and help him to understand what he was learning.
Khan explains that this was an eye opening experience for him; “Here I was, an analyst at a hedge fund. It was very strange for me to do something of social value (5:15).” He goes on to explain how Khan Academy became a real, non-profit organization. I think that Khan’s story is amazing. The videos that he made to help tutor his cousins were found by some people who also needed help learning. Khan had the insight to realize that his videos could help a large range of people, and he had the initiative to create an organization in order to make sure it happened.
A school district in California, Los Altos School District, implemented the idea of the flipped classroom, assigning Khan Academy videos as homework to replace classroom lectures. Students complete traditional homework or practice assignments in the classroom where they can receive individualized attention and help from the teachers. “The results of the pilot were very positive with teachers stating that using Khan Academy has helped them to differentiate math instruction to meet specific instructional needs of each student (LASD).” Khan Academy is paving the way for the expansion of this blended learning environment, one that uses technology such as Khan Academy videos in conjunction with traditional classroom teaching.
What would our world be like if more people had the insight and initiative to do something to create social change? Salmon Khan had an “ah” moment when he realized that he could use a skill he had (making videos) to start a whole new career for himself and help to make a positive change in the world of education. How can we create that “ah” moment for others?