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New Series on the American Revolution from the Aspen Institute

In the summer of 2011, Sal shared a “Big Idea” at the Aspen Ideas Festival. The idea was to combine the power of Khan Academy with the network of the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization, to bring the ideas and perspectives of some of the most respected authorities on various subjects to learners anywhere, for free.

Over the past several months, Khan Academy and the Aspen Institute have been working in partnership to develop a new and exciting series on the American Revolution. Just last week, we launched that series which includes tutorials on the founding documents, founding fathers, and founding mothers of the United States of America. This initial offering of videos lives up to the idea of bringing together respected authorities on the subject, and the videos feature conversations between Sir Walter Isaacson and a variety of phenomenal contributors including Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joe Ellis, award-winning journalist Cokie Roberts, and our very own Sal Khan. 

Rather than offering simplified answers or shying away from unanswered questions, this first series of videos introduces learners to the complexities of the revolutionary era. They use the stories of the prominent individuals and revolutionary documents of the day to draw learners deeper into the history. Beyond the dates, names, and battles, the story of the founding comes alive and beckons the curious to investigate further.

These tutorials on the American Revolution are a great starting point and we look forward to exploring other areas with the Aspen Institute in the future. More to come soon! Check out this and other partner content available today on Khan Academy.

Start here


A Summer Update

Khan Academy has been running small-scale summer camps since 2009 to better understand different models of learning and many of you have asked whether we are continuing them this year. Unfortunately, we are not. However, we have learned so much from those camps that we are now exploring a longer duration, but smaller scale, learning lab in the coming months.

This will be set up to let us have an even more hands-on and sustained approach to research blended learning and education innovation, which will also let us experiment and share our learnings with schools and networks around the world.

This is just one of the many ways we’re learning from educators and students: we connect with hundreds of thousands of folks who use Khan Academy in their classrooms, we run pilots with numerous schools including Idaho State and of course facilitate our teacher workshops. These avenues help us understand so much more about creative ways to teach, and also help make our platform even more useful for learners everywhere.

Stay tuned: we’ll post more updates in the coming months, and we look forward to sharing what we learn soon - sign up here if you’d like to hear more about it. In the meantime, to beat the summer slump, come check out our math missions from early math through calculus!

Posted by Jason Pittman and Sonia Cho (Two of the teachers who’ll be facilitating the learning lab).


MORE Health and Medicine Content Now Available!

Post by Kyle Slinn, Khan Academy Nursing Fellow

Over the last few months we’ve been working tirelessly to create new content. Today we’re adding 26 health conditions and 158 practice questions to our growing collection of health and medicine material. The new content covers diseases from the cardiovascular, respiratory, and hematologic systems, such as non-cyanotic heart diseases, lung cancer, and leukemia. Health science students can use this material as a supplement to their classes, and patients and their families can learn more about medical conditions relevant to them. Over the coming months we’ll continue to frequently release new content, so be sure to keep checking Khan Academy!

Right now we’re looking for volunteers to help us write NCLEX-RN style questions. If you’d like to help us with this exciting project, send us an email.

Here’s an example of a lesson on non-cyanotic heart diseases. You can check out the rest of our new content by clicking here.


Learn about the most famous music ever written

"You take the simplest musical idea. Four notes, and can you make a castle out of four notes? [Beethoven] was fearless….It is simply baffling how imaginative the composer is in using so little….This is the first time the symphony wakes up and is a dramatic essay."

This is how Leon Botstein, conductor and President of Bard College, describes Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in a video from our new partner, the All Star Orchestra. And this discussion is only one of five videos on this symphonic masterpiece. In the remaining videos, Gerard Schwartz, conductor of the Emmy-winning All Star Orchestra, walks us through all four movements, even explaining what he is doing as he conducts many of the nation’s most accomplished musicians.

We love the videos that discuss and explain the symphonies by Beethoven, Dvořák, Stravinksy, Ravel and others, but our favorites are probably those that focus on the individual instruments of the orchestra (everything from the violin to the tuba!). Here, leading musicians describe their instrument and what made them fall in love with it. The All Star Orchestra has made it easy for us all to fall in love with classical music, have a look, you may fall in love too.

Start Here
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 Analysis by Gerard  Schwarz (Part 1)


Khan Academy MCAT competition

Post from Rishi Desai, MD, MPH, Khan Academy Medical Partnerships Lead

The MCAT stands for the Medical College Admissions Test, and it is one of the key milestones on the road to medical school in the US.  For decades, it has been largely unchanged, but in less than a year, the MCAT is getting a make-over.  The 2015 MCAT will include new content in areas like psychology and sociology, and that means that thousands of students looking to become future physicians will be looking for ways to get ready.

One year ago, in order to help students prepare for this important test, Khan Academy partnered up with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Association of American Medical Colleges, to put together videos and questions for the MCAT.  So far, we have generated 400 videos and 500 passage based questions with about 2 million videos watched and 1 million problems solved over the past few months, and new content being made available each week.

Our goal is to generate even more useful MCAT content, and we’re doing that by launching two new competitions – one for talented video-based educators and a second for fantastic question and article writers.  We are going to invite competition winners to participate in free training sessions, in order to bring together a focused group of individuals that can learn and share with one another. Thereafter, winners may be invited to become Khan Academy Fellows to work with Khan Academy on developing the next generation of pre-health and medical education content!

Taking a step back, our goal for creating MCAT content goes well beyond getting students ready for one test on one day.  These resources are aimed at helping students understand the foundational concepts of science as they relate to health and medicine.  Once they are made available, anyone curious to learn more about how muscles contract or how our mind performs complex tasks, can reach for one of these tutorials.

Our goal is to generate world-class content for anyone, anywhere, and we want to get your help to make this possible!  So if you’re interested in making videos, creating questions, or writing articles, be sure to submit your content to us by June 13, 2014.  Have fun!

MCAT competition video: