Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:52:44
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Nicholas Zakas, Kevin Lozandier, wbwalp, SpongeJR, and Katarina L
Mon, 02 Feb 2015 16:21:00
By: Salman Khan
Update: This Op-ed was part of a Khan Academy initiative to change how people think about learning. Since then we have launched LearnStorm, a free Common Core math challenge for 3rd-12th graders in the Bay Area to give parents, teachers and students a hand-on way to practice better learning mindsets. If you’re a parent, teacher or student in the Bay Area you can sign up for LearnStorm here.
My 5-year-old son has just started reading. Every night, we lie on his bed and he reads a short book to me. Inevitably, he’ll hit a word that he has trouble with: last night the word was “gratefully.” He eventually got it after a fairly painful minute. He then said, “Dad, aren’t you glad how I struggled with that word? I think I could feel my brain growing.” I smiled: my son was now verbalizing the tell-tale signs of a “growth mindset.” But this wasn’t by accident. Recently, I put into practice research I had been reading about for the past few years: I decided to praise my son not when he succeeded at things he was already good at, but when he persevered with things that he found difficult. I stressed to him that by struggling, your brain grows. Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach.
Researchers have known for some time that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it, the more it grows. They’ve found that neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones.
What this means is that our intelligence is not fixed, and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail.
However, not everyone realizes this. Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University has been studying people’s mindsets towards learning for decades. She has found that most people adhere to one of two mindsets: fixed or growth. Fixed mindsets mistakenly believe that people are either smart or not, that intelligence is fixed by genes. People with growth mindsets correctly believe that capability and intelligence can be grown through effort, struggle and failure. Dweck found that those with a fixed mindset tended to focus their effort on tasks where they had a high likelihood of success and avoided tasks where they may have had to struggle, which limited their learning. People with a growth mindset, however, embraced challenges, and understood that tenacity and effort could change their learning outcomes. As you can imagine, this correlated with the latter group more actively pushing themselves and growing intellectually.
The good news is that mindsets can be taught; they’re malleable. What’s really fascinating is that Dweck and others have developed techniques that they call “growth mindset interventions,” which have shown that even small changes in communication or seemingly innocuous comments can have fairly long-lasting implications for a person’s mindset. For instance, praising someone’s process (“I really like how you struggled with that problem”) versus praising an innate trait or talent (“You’re so clever!”) is one way to reinforce a growth mindset with someone. Process praise acknowledges the effort; talent praise reinforces the notion that one only succeeds (or doesn’t) based on a fixed trait. And we’ve seen this on Khan Academy as well: students are spending more time learning on Khan Academy after being exposed to messages that praise their tenacity and grit and that underscore that the brain is like a muscle.
The Internet is a dream for someone with a growth mindset. Between Khan Academy, MOOCs, and others, there is unprecedented access to endless content to help you grow your mind. However, society isn’t going to fully take advantage of this without growth mindsets being more prevalent. So what if we actively tried to change that? What if we began using whatever means are at our disposal to start performing growth mindset interventions on everyone we cared about? This is much bigger than Khan Academy or algebra — it applies to how you communicate with your children, how you manage your team at work, how you learn a new language or instrument. If society as a whole begins to embrace the struggle of learning, there is no end to what that could mean for global human potential.
And now here’s a surprise for you. By reading this article itself, you’ve just undergone the first half of a growth-mindset intervention. The research shows that just being exposed to the research itself (for example, knowing that the brain grows most by getting questions wrong, not right) can begin to change a person’s mindset. The second half of the intervention is for you to communicate the research with others. We’ve made a video (above) that celebrates the struggle of learning that will help you do this. After all, when my son, or for that matter, anyone else asks me about learning, I only want them to know one thing. As long as they embrace struggle and mistakes, they can learn anything.
LearnStorm is powered by Khan Academy with the support of our friends at Google
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:14:00
Back in 2008, Khan Academy started as a simple library of YouTube videos, but has grown to become so much more. Over 15 millions students per month are learning across the platform through video lessons, tutorials and interactive exercises.
In our mission to build a free, world-class education, we’ve heard from students that they want to learn and practice on tablets: it’s easier to access whether you’re at school, on the couch or doing homework with friends. For the past few years we’ve offered a great video viewing experience on iPads - today, we’re excited to introduce the next step in Khan Academy’s mobile story: bringing interactive, personalized learning to the iPad with math exercises, handwriting recognition and more.
So what’s the story? This is the first time that the entire library of Khan Academy has been made available on iPads!
Our app has been built for speed - it’s the easiest and most personal way to access all of our content. We also wanted to build features uniquely suited for the platform, like our beautiful scratchpad that you can use to jot down your thoughts and work through problems in the app.
Our new app has brand new ways to help you learn math and more on the iPad:
Sharpen your skills: over 150,000 interactive, common core aligned exercises with instant feedback and step-by-step hints for each question. Follow along with what you’re learning in school or practice on your own, at your own pace.
Flex your muscles: the app adjusts to give you interactive exercise recommendations that are tailored just for you through the world of math.
Show your work: the app harnesses the power of showing and stepping through your work with a beautiful, expansive scratchpad. Once you have your answer, just write it in, and we’ll recognize your answer!
Track back: your learning auto-magically syncs between your iPad and khanacademy.org, so your progress and recommendations are always up-to-date, anywhere, anytime.
We’re excited that this can help you learn almost anything: we’ve put together thousands of videos on science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and the humanities with tutorials on art history, civics, and finance, too. Our new app has a new, expansive design that highlights our content and makes it more efficient for students to access content at the right level and puts you a few touches away from our full library of videos, articles, and exercises.
This app would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors. It’s available now - download it here and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!
Thu, 15 Jan 2015 14:31:00
It’s a big day for Khan Academy - we’re officially opening registration for our first ever LearnStorm! If you’re a 3rd-12th grade student in the Bay Area, you can sign up now at www.learnstorm2015.com.
So what’s LearnStorm? It’s a math challenge designed to grow your ability to learn anything. Until April 30, you’ll be able to earn points by mastering math skills and demonstrating your hustle. You’ll be able to track your progress on your own leaderboard and work with your friends to accumulate points for your school or city. There will also be weekly challenges to help you build a growth mindset.
LearnStorm officially begins on February 9 and will wrap up with an in-person celebration complete with fun prizes.
LearnStorm is for everyone, whether you’re working on counting or calculus. Best of all, it’s completely free, and you can participate from anywhere - your home, your library, your school, or wherever you like to use Khan Academy.
We’re launching LearnStorm in ten Bay Area counties - Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma - but we hope to expand to more areas in years to come. We hope you’ll join us on this adventure!
If you know a student, parent, teacher, administrator, librarian or anyone in the Bay Area who might be interested please forward some of these resources to them today.
Tue, 23 Dec 2014 19:52:35
From time to time we like to let you know about any changes we’re making to keep our site up to date. We encourage you to check out our Terms of Service here but here’s a simple overview of the main changes:
We wanted to clarify which content is available under a creative commons license (e.g. videos made by Khan Academy) and which is not (e.g. videos from some partners) so we updated the terms to make it clear how that information will be flagged
We wanted to make what we mean by ‘non-commercial use’ clearer so we added more explanation and examples
We wanted to clarify how child accounts can gain parent approval before becoming operational
If you have any questions about these updates, you can email us at email@example.com.
Thanks for using Khan Academy!
The Khan Academy Team