Khan Academy's Discovery Lab Offers Hands-On Learning The Khan Academy is well known for its online video lectures, which have the potential to free up time for more hands-on learning in the classroom. In their Discovery Lab summer camp, Khan Academy staff experimented with project-based learning activities to build better student engagement. For more information, visit http://www.edutopia.org/blog/khan-academy-discovery-lab-minli-virdone
Khan Academy's Discovery Lab Offers Hands-On Learning
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- >>Minli Virdone: It feels great to get students engaged.
- Innately, I believe that they're already engaged.
- And what we're trying to do is just inspire
- and really make the topics really interesting
- so students get excited about learning more.
- >>Karl Wendt: We've got robotics.
- And there's going to be trading games and stock market--
- it's going to be amazing.
- Today it starts off fun and it gets even better.
- >>Minli: Welcome, welcome, to the Discovery Lab.
- >>Karl: You guys excited to be here?
- >>Students: Yeah!
- >>Karl: All right!
- >>Minli: Well done, well done.
- So we're really excited to have you here.
- >>Minli: At Khan Academy, we felt that we needed
- to have our own version of the summer camp, because we had so many ideas
- that we wanted to test out.
- What we're really driving towards is individualized
- and mastery-based learning.
- One would think that a Khan Academy Summer Camp could be be just kids
- sitting in front of their computers watching videos.
- There are videos, and videos are extremely important to help students
- with self-paced learning.
- But that goes hand-in-hand with hands-on projects and activities
- that really drive the intuition, and really get people excited.
- The Discovery Lab will include robotics, computer science,
- mathematical geometry, probability and economics.
- And even more things that we'll add in.
- >>Student: I'll give you a dice.
- >>Sal Khan: Based on this, do you think countries should trade
- with each other?
- >>Students: Yes.
- >>Sal: So why should they trade with each other?
- >>Student: Well, maybe we could trade to prevent wars.
- >>Sal: Well, you brought out an interesting point that a lot
- of people do bring up between trading countries,
- that it often makes the countries more stable.
- If we're reliant on your country for our food, and you're reliant on us
- for your oil, we're not likely to go to war with each other,
- because we need each other.
- You know, it's fascinating, people do PhDs on this.
- >>Sal: You can't learn these things with lectures.
- You have to learn -- pretty much almost everything you have to learn
- by doing it, by struggling with it, I mean,
- because that's what the real world is.
- The real world, you just engage, you jump into an experience.
- And your brain starts to draw connections, your brain starts
- to struggle with it and says, "Well, hey, how does this work?
- Can I see any patterns here?
- Can I make any reason out of it?"
- >>Minli: And the other thing that's really important that's not
- content-based, is resilience.
- These topics are complex topics.
- And students are going to have to work really hard to be successful,
- and they just have to try and try again.
- The summer camp is one of those places where we can allow them to try
- and try again, because we're not set by a particular date
- where you have to have an examination.
- We'll say, "We'll give you tools to guide you,
- but you have to learn how to figure this out."
- >>Karl: Right now we're going to assemble a three-dimensional version
- of Sierpinski's triangle, which is a fractal.
- >>Karl: It's a chance to take a two-dimensional construct and go
- into three dimensions and give the students a chance to sort
- of experience it in a way that they probably wouldn't
- if they were just learning about it in a textbook.
- >>Mohan: In school, I've heard about this stuff,
- I've read about it, but I never did it.
- But today, I've been doing it, and now I can honestly see what it is.
- >>Julia: It's more interactive, and you're doing more stuff.
- You're not sitting down with a piece of paper
- and a textbook doing math problems.
- It's more fun here.
- >>Karl: As we get further along, they'll get a chance to see math
- in a different way, because it's more applied and more hands-on.
- >> I call them quadripoints.
- >> I'm going to look cool...
- >>Minli: There's something to be said about just doing it with your hands,
- and taking out the conceptual world,
- even though it doesn't necessarily translate into an immediate increase
- in test scores or anything like that.
- It does translate into some level of excitement in the student.
- And that is something that you don't measure very often,
- but it's still really important.
- >>Students: Good!
- >>Minli: Discovery Lab, it's a laboratory not only for the kids,
- but it's also for us at Khan Academy, because what's important
- for us is not to just run a summer camp.
- What's important is to understand what it is that works,
- and if we find activities that work really well, we can try it again
- in a different summer camp or in a different setting.
- We believe that we can package this together simply,
- so that there's a curated set of projects that are high quality,
- highly interactive for teachers
- to immediately be able to use in the classroom.
- >>Sal: This is all a work in progress.
- Khan Academy is a work in progress, the summer camp's a work in progress
- over the course of this year, but definitely by next summer.
- We're going to have summer camps that go much deeper.
- Summer camp in writing, summer camp in filmmaking, summer camp in music.
- We really want to explore the experiential side of things --
- not just in traditional STEM subjects -- really across the board.
- >>Minli: Great!
- Thank you everybody!
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