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College students share their experiences with Khan Academy

This spring, Stanford Consulting - a nonprofit, student-run organization - ran a survey to learn about the impact that Khan Academy has had on the educations of current college students. These students were asked whether they “found Khan Academy meaningful to their education” and whether they were the first in their family to go to college. The results are in, and today we’re excited to share some of the key findings.

Of the students who responded to the survey…

- 65% of Stanford students found KA meaningful to their education (out of 504 surveyed)
- 57% of students in other top schools* found KA meaningful to their education (out of 159 surveyed)
- 64% of first-generation college students (the first in their family to go to college) at these schools found KA meaningful to their education (out of 164 surveyed)

*Surveyed schools include Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, UC Berkeley, Caltech, Notre Dame, MIT, Vanderbilt, and Yale.

We’re thrilled to see how many college students have benefited from Khan Academy and to hear their stories. One first-generation student from Stanford shared the following note with us:

For all the times I couldn’t turn to my parents for homework help, I had Khan Academy videos to help me. Khan Academy was the private tutor that my family could not afford. For all the times I wanted to learn for the sake of learning, I would pick from the hundreds of Khan Academy videos.

Have you found Khan Academy meaningful to your education? Tell us your story in the comments below!

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Can you earn more points than me this summer?

Hi, I’m Cam from Khan Academy, and I challenge you to join me for a surge of summer learning!

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I can’t unicycle yet, but I’m learning. My other summer learning goals are focused around biology and economics.

No matter what you choose to learn on Khan Academy, you’ll be eligible to earn two special badges:

  • Get the Summer Surge badge by earning at least 50,000 energy points this summer.

  • Get the I Beat Cam badge by earning more points than I do this summer.

The challenge runs from the June 23rd through August 28th (official rules below). There’s no special signup to earn these badges; all you have to do is start learning now!

Not sure what you want to learn this summer? Here are three ideas:

  1. Supercharge your math skills. For example, if you’re headed into Algebra I, jump into the Algebra I mission and get started on those mission foundations (pre-requisites) to make sure you start the school year strong!

  2. Join Pamela in a Summer of Scripting! Sign up for reminders and weekly contests to help you learn JavaScript, one of the world’s most popular and important programming languages!

  3. Explore a new topic you’ve always been curious about, such as economics, finance, art history, or health and medicine. Remember: You can learn anything!

I look forward to learning alongside you this summer. You can track my summer learning progress by watching my KA profile or by following me @icamlearn on Instagram or Twitter. Let me know what you’re learning using the hashtag #KASummerSurge.

Your fellow learner,

Cam

Official rules

All points earned anytime from the very start of the day (PDT) on June 23rd to 11:59pm PDT on August 28th will count towards these badges.

Badges (described above) will be awarded only after the contest has ended. I’ll give everyone their badges on August 31st.

Who is beating me so far?

I have earned a total of 0 points so far this summer (as of June 23rd), so I imagine lots of people are beating me right now. But, remember, badges are awarded at the end of the summer (after August 28th), and you’ll only get the “I Beat Cam” badge if you earn more points than I do over the course of the entire summer.

Check back here in coming weeks to see a list of usernames that are beating me.

UPDATE (July 16th): Because so many of you have earned so many points, I’ve decided not to post a list of everyone beating me - it would fill up the entire screen! Instead, here are instructions for how to figure out if you’re beating me:

Step 1: Calculate your starting points (points earned since June 23rd).

  1. Go to your activity page (profile–>progress–>activity).
  2. Set a custom range to see your progress since the 23rd.
  3. Sum your daily energy points to find your summer earnings.
  4. Subtract your earnings from your current KA energy points to find your starting points.

Step 2: Spin of this awesome CS program and input your starting points.

Step 3: Watch the program calculate whether or not you’re beating me :-)

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Official SAT Practice - now available for free exclusively on Khan Academy

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Last spring we announced a partnership with the College Board to create free, world-class practice tools for the new SAT (exams begin March 2016). Today we’re excited to unveil Official SAT Practice on KhanAcademy.org—making personalized SAT practice available to all students for the first time ever.

We’ve worked directly with the writers of the SAT to make sure that Official SAT Practice mirrors the actual test as closely as possible. In addition to thousands of practice questions created in partnership with the College Board, you’ll find:

- Detailed information about the redesigned SAT, including explanations of each section of the test
- Video lessons and reference articles to help you practice and review the skills tested on the SAT
- Short diagnostic quizzes to help you identify the skills you should focus on
- Personalized practice recommendations to make the biggest impact on your performance
- Four official full-length practice tests written by the College Board
- Instant feedback on your answers so that you’re always learning and seeing your progress
- Study tips and suggestions for test day.

In the months ahead, we’re excited to continue our work with the College Board to help level the playing field for all students who want to take the SAT and go to college. We’re also looking forward to receiving lots of feedback from students, parents, and teachers so that we can make our practice tools even better and more personalized for the fall.

Want to learn more? Check out Official SAT Practice, and don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments below!

Press release available here.

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NOVA Labs on Khan Academy: a brand-new way to explore science

Have you ever wondered what causes solar flares or how clouds form?  Do you have questions about computer viruses and hacking? Or are you curious about  RNA, the wonder molecule that’s crucial to life as we know it? Starting today, you can explore these topics on Khan Academy through lessons created by our partners at NOVA Labs.

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NOVA Labs (pbs.org/nova/labs) is a free science resource from the producers of the NOVA television series on PBS,  the most popular science series on American television. Through NOVA Labs,  teens and lifelong learners take part in real-world investigations by visualizing, analyzing, and playing with the same data that scientists use. These games and activities foster authentic scientific exploration, supported by the world-class science videos that NOVA has been making for over 40 years.

Khan Academy is now excited to offer five different investigations from NOVA Labs for aspiring scientists: Cybersecurity, RNA: the wonder molecule, The Sun and solar storms, Energy, and Clouds. You’ll learn to predict solar storms, design renewable energy systems, track cloud movements, design biomolecules and more. Start exploring today, and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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How a math challenge can teach more than just math

Students celebrate at the LearnStorm finals

Students celebrate at the LearnStorm finals (photograph by Andrew Weeks).

Sherry*, a 5th grade student, didn’t want to come to Google. For months she’d been working hard on LearnStorm, the Khan Academy math challenge, and had earned a top spot on the leaderboards. For weeks our team had been working with Google to build the most epic final award celebration we could devise. We asked her teacher, Jen Ellison, what was up and the response was heartbreaking:

“I don’t ride in cars much.”

Ms. Ellison said Sherry’s response reminded her of the crippling effects of poverty. Sherry is ten years old. She doesn’t often leave her neighborhood. “Driving an hour away might as well be the moon.”

The thing is, this kind of self-limiting thinking is not only a problem for kids from underserved neighborhoods: most people are held back in some way by their mindset. Last year Edelman-Berland helped us do a poll that showed that the majority of people think their intelligence level is fixed. The research shows not only that this is inaccurate, but also that when students think this way, their test scores suffer, and they are less likely to take on the learning challenges that will set them up for future success.

We designed LearnStorm as a direct attack on these ways of thinking. We knew that to be truly impactful we would need to create a hands-on way to practice positive learning mindsets. Could we design a math challenge that taught a lot more than just math?

We launched LearnStorm in the Bay Area as a pilot. Based on what we’d learned from other math competitions, we aimed to reach at least one percent of students in grades 3-12, which is about 13,000. Three months later, over 73,000 students from about 1,600 Bay Area schools have participated in LearnStorm. They’ve earned points and prizes not only for mastering math skills but also for showing “hustle,” a metric we created to measure grit, perseverance, and growth. They competed over 200,000 hours of learning and 13.6 million standards-aligned math problems.

In addition, thanks to the generosity of Google.org, DonorsChoose.org, and Comcast’s Internet Essentials, 34 underserved schools unlocked new devices for their classrooms and free home internet service for eligible families, increasing student access to online learning tools like Khan Academy.

Bella Vista Elementary

Bella Vista Elementary, one of the 34 schools that earned new devices for its classrooms through LearnStorm

On Saturday, we invited the LearnStorm students who mastered the most math and showed the most hustle to a finals celebration on the Google campus. These students competed in individual and team challenges and earned educational prizes from organizations such as the Exploratorium, Ardusat, the Lawrence Hall of Science, the Tech Museum of Innovation, the California Academy of Sciences, NASA, NASCAR, and the San Francisco 49ers.

Thanks to the efforts of her teacher, Ms. Ellison, Sherry was there. Thanks to her grit, determination and growth in math, she earned a prize and was celebrated by 300 of her peers from across the Bay Area at the heart of Google. As Ms. Ellison put it:

“LearnStorm taught us about hope, endurance and grit… It taught us to encourage one another because everyone struggles. It taught us that you can learn anything. It taught us that we are capable of more than we can imagine…. Oh, and we learned some math, too.”

Teacher Jen Ellison tells Sal her school's story

Teacher Jen Ellison tells Sal her school’s story (photograph by Andrew Weeks).

At Khan Academy we’ve been inspired by Sherry and all the participants, volunteers, teachers and parents who made this LearnStorm pilot such a success. We’re working with the same hustle, grit and determination to make LearnStorm bigger and better. So stay tuned for updates later this year!

- James Tynan, Adoption Lead

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