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Hour of Code Day 1: Coding is Caring

Post from Pamela Fox, Khan Academy Computer Science Content Engineer

Since I’m a woman in technology and that’s considered a rare find, I often get asked the question, “How did you start programming?” and I respond with this story:

When I was a kid, I was a bit forgetful when it came to buying presents for holidays, and I woke up on Mother’s Day realizing that I had no present for my mum. We lived in the boonies, and the nearest store was a two-hour walk away, past a high-security prison.

Well, I could have done the “draw a card, it’s the thought that counts” route, but I’d already done that in forgetful years past, so I needed a new “thought that counts” gift.

I had just recently discovered the web, and thought “Hey! I’ll learn how to make a webpage!” After a few Yahoo! searches (Google didn’t exist then) and a download of the “Microsoft Internet Explorer Assistant Plug-in,” I had made my first webpage.

It was just a converted Word art banner proclaiming “Happy mother’s day!” but hey, it was a webpage! And I made it myself! Needless to say, my mum was impressed, and from then on, I’ve been a programmer *and* never had to buy presents. :-)

So when it came to coming up with the curriculum for our Khan Academy Hour of Code, I thought I’d bring that same experience to the many new students learning to program this week, and made the final project be a greeting card, to share with anyone you want.

We’ve had thousands of projects made today, and it warms my heart to see that many of them are greeting cards filled with warm fuzzies and addressed to loved ones. Here are a few of my favorites — addressed to parents, relatives, teachers, and friends:

I love that the creators of those cards are learning that they can not only use coding to solve problems, but also to show they care.

We’re looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with on the second day!


Thanksgiving: Giving thanks in the classroom

Post from Suney Park, Teacher in Residence at Khan Academy and 6th Grade Teacher at Eastside College Prep, CA

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share how I like to give my students regular opportunities to publicly thank classmates who have helped them. This has two great effects: the person thanking acknowledges that they need others, and the person being thanked feels significant and valuable to the classroom community.

How do I do it? Two simple initiatives:

1. At the end of every math session I dedicate about five minutes to Thank Yous, and students rush to put their hands up to give props to their helpful classmates.

2. Once a month my students are randomly paired with one another for a weekend letter-writing homework assignment. In the letters, they thank, appreciate, and compliment one another; sometimes the letters include creative touches such as drawings, stickers, and little snacks!

Once I started doing this, giving thanks and verbally expressing appreciation became a regular part of my classroom culture. Now, my students feel safe enough to ask for help and confident enough to offer it. I was only able to implement my Khan Academy “Need Help/Can Help” board during math class because of this foundation of classroom culture.

Plus, it warms a teacher’s heart to hear students thank and encourage each other so effortlessly and sincerely. Just last week I heard a student say, “I want to thank Nayely for helping me because without her I would still be stuck on finding the least common multiple the long way instead of using prime factorization.”


Getty Museum Partners with Khan Academy to bring art education to millions more learners

Post from Khan Academy’s Art Historians, Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker:

Khan Academy is very proud to announce a partnership with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

The Getty is one of the world’s premier cultural institutions with an exceptional collection of works of art that include Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises, an impressive collection of Rembrandts, and one of the world’s great collections of Greek and Roman antiquities. The Getty has played a leading role among cultural institutions in exploring how digital technologies can aid research, conservation, and education. An important recent example is their Open Content Program, making high-resolution photographs of public-domain art in the collection available for download, free of charge. And if that wasn’t enough, the architecture and gardens of the Getty Center and Villa are breathtakingly beautiful.

We are especially excited about this partnership in part because we have been using The Getty’s amazing library of innovative short-form video in our own classrooms for many years. Much of this amazing content will now be available to new audiences on Khan Academy. Perhaps even more importantly, The Getty is determined to deepen this collaboration and explore how we can best use the Khan Academy learning platform to create a dynamic learning experience around their online content.

Take a look at all the Getty Museum tutorials.

The mummification process


Seeking medical content creators

This past summer we ran a competition to find new medical content creators and the response was overwhelmingly positive (see new content from the winners here). The contest helped us identify a team of amazing content creators who are helping us build out our Biology, Chemistry, and Physics materials. But we’ve just gotten started and now we’re ready to push forward. We want to create free, world-class content focused on medical/healthcare conditions.

We have teamed up with the Jonas Center and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to cover key concepts found in the NCLEX-RN (the nursing licensure exam in the United States and soon to be in Canada). This material will be an asset for the approximately 200,000 nursing school graduates who sit for the NCLEX-RN each year in addition to medical professionals and patients looking for information on various diseases.

If you’re interested in making free medical content focused on the NCLEX-RN topics and being trained as one of Khan Academy’s new healthcare content creators, Apply Here.

Or if you know someone who may be a great medical content creator, forward the link on.

The NCLEX competition begins today. We’ll be reviewing submissions as soon as they come in, so if you’re interested, get started right now! We’ll close applications when we have identified our core set of competition winners or by January 17th, 2014, whichever date comes first. Winners will get an opportunity to help thousands through their videos and questions. To hone their skills, they will get a 1 week training session (March 2-9) where they will work directly with Khan Academy and one another! Winners will then have the chance to be invited to become Khan Academy Fellows and join our team of healthcare content creators.

NCLEX-RN competition :


Khan Academy and MoMA Collaborate

Post from Khan Academy’s Art Historians, Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker:

Khan Academy is delighted to announce a collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, which houses the world’s finest collection of modern and contemporary art and whose mission is (in part) to help all of us “understand and enjoy the art of our time.”

Full disclosure, we both once worked at MoMA and we admit it’s one of our favorite museums anywhere. Not only is MoMA home to Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, and Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, but in recent years, MoMA has become a leader in thinking about the museum in the digital age.

This collaboration is particularly valuable because over the years, MoMA has produced a truly exceptional library of video (and audio) content. Much of this great video content is now available on Khan Academy where it can reach new audiences. This collaboration is another example of MoMA’s leadership in digital media and education. We look forward to continuing to work with MoMA to bring exceptional education content to a global audience.

Check out MoMA’s tutorials on Khan Academy. Learn about printmaking techniques, go behind the scenes, or learn about the drip technique of Jackson Pollock, one of America’s most iconic and influential painters.

AB EX NY: The Painting Techniques of Ad Reinhardt: