20 March 2011

Could One Person Fix American Students Lousy Math Scores? Meet Sal Khan.

Posted by Dan Satterfield

I found Khan Academy by accident.

I was reading a paper on climate science and realised that I poorly understood a concept in statistics, so. I googled it and found khanacademy.org. I’ve been hooked ever since ,and if you know a student who is struggling in maths, show them the web site immediately. If you did lousy in high school or college maths, (and want to understand it better) then show yourself Khan Academy!

Sal Khan has a million students learning math like never before, and when I say like never before, I mean he has 5th graders doing college level math! This truly is the future of education and if anyone person can turn around our third world math scores, it may very well be him. I’ve written before here about how far behind USA students are (in math and science) compared to most other first and second world countries, and this is the first glimmer of hope I’ve seen.

Let Sal tell you how all this happened in the video below ( his recent TED talk):


There are over 2,100 5-10 minute videos on the site. It’s mainly math, from addition and subtraction, to differential equations, but he also has great videos on chemistry,physics and biology (I never knew how DNA codes for proteins until Sal explained it!). His explanation of natural selection at the beginning of the biology videos is superb and he handles the intelligent design question (many students have) very adeptly

Sal Khan has been given a bunch of well deserved awards and prizes, but what he has done will make an amazing difference in the lives of thousands of students. He makes math fun (and very few k-12 kids think it is!). This is truly the future of education.

I think there is another award that Sal Khan should be given so I hereby nominate Sal Khan for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I think that what he has done is that important to this country. Since President Obama does not usually ask me what I think about anything, (much less who should be given the nation’s highest civilian award) it may take a ground swell of support among teachers and scientists for it to happen.

I say we start now.