Khan Academy was founded in 2006 by Salman Khan who started tutoring a cousin remotely using Yahoo! Doodle. After creating a few videos he decided to move them to YouTube. Today, Khan Academy’s mission is to “provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. All of our resources are completely free forever, regardless of whether you’re a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology.”
So why is this so important? The videos are hosted on YouTube and are free to anyone, anywhere, who has a computer or tablet and an internet connection. Most of the courses are pre-college and allow learners to take ownership of their education. Khan Academy is designed for computers and tablets, but with Mohu’s Channels, the lessons can be streamed directly to a TV, turning the TV into a vehicle for learning and the living room into a lecture hall.
The premise is simple. Khan Academy hosts, via YouTube, hundreds of mini-lectures on math, history, finance, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and computer science. One of the simple, but most innovative features of many of the videos is that they abandon a traditional “lecture” format and instead the instructor walks the student through the problem solving process using just a dark screen, colored “markers” and a voice-over. Listening and watching the instructor demonstrate his thought process (and make mistakes in real time) is less daunting to the viewer and the colored markers make the lectures more engaging.
Khan Academy also includes test prep for several standardized tests including the SAT. The latest development for Khan Academy is its partnership with the College Board to create free online test-prep materials for the redesigned SAT which debuts in 2016. With parents paying up to $900 for test preparation classes this next step could help close the income gap among students often seen in standardized tests.
In future blogs Mohu will feature the weird and wonderful content available on YouTube. And with Channels coming out soon all this content can be streamed directly to your TV.