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Khan Academy at Marlborough School

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Video transcript

(gentle music) - Marlborough is an all girls private school, urban day school in Los Angeles. We have 530 girls at the school, grade seven through 12. My classes are small, the girls are motivated I really feel like Marlborough provides me a place where I can practice the art of teaching without interference. (upbeat music) Even with all the resources that we have you know, year after year my department struggles with retention, in other words what exactly are we doing that is allowing these kids to score well on tests but not retain the information. - I've always been a fairly confident math student so when I would come across stuff that wasn't familiar to me or that I had trouble with I could kind of just sort of muscle through it but I have a little brother and he really was kinda struggling in his math class we learn very differently and I couldn't really teach him the way that he needed to be taught so I was you know messing around on the internet and I found this website called Khan Academy and I showed it to him and he loved it. And then I started having trouble in one of my classes and I said why don't I use Khan? And I looked at it and it worked for me and I said this is so crazy because it worked for him and it worked for me and we're completely different people we learn totally differently. And I had the opportunity in January of 2011 to write this essay for something they do at my school called the Garen prize. You write an essay about the living American who you'd most like to meet and the winner gets to meet him. I wrote about Sal Khan I ended up winning. - India was scheduled to meet Sal Khan last June and she asked me if I'd be willing to go with her. He talked to me about the idea of a mixed level math class where kids from all different ages would be in the same room with the same teacher. It would involve peer teaching, group work, projects and they would get their instruction online through Khan Academy and I just you know my eyes lit up so I thought this might address the retention issue that we had had so he asked me if I would try it and I said sure. The first day that I had my Khan Academy class I could not believe how engaged they were. The bell rang and nobody wanted to leave my classroom so I had to actually tell them you have to go to your next class, you cannot continue working on math here, so that's when I knew okay we're on to something here. - I'd never loved math, I actually kind of hated it. Math was my least favorite subject and then I did Khan and I actually started to enjoy it and my grades started to improve. (gentle music) - Basically how I manage it is, I look at the content that they're supposed to be learning in each of those courses and design a content sheet for them where I make a playlist for what they should look at on Khan Academy and then I'll give them three weeks and I'll say go and I circulate and help them when they need it and then what happens kind of organically is kids end up tutoring each other so the algebra two girls might tutor the geometry girls when they get stuck or the calculus girls might help a pre-calculus girl or even a pre-calculus girl might help a pre-algebra girl. (gentle music) I can't emphasize to you how much more engaged these students are in this style of learning. - Before Khan no one ever asked me for math help I was definitely not the person they came to but now I feel like given my new confidence and my new skills people are willing to ask me for help and I'm not afraid to ask them 'cause they have more confidence and skill so it's change dynamic we're kind of all equals. - I feel as though through Khan I've understood that it's not enough to just kind to get something you have to really get it because it's fine to do well on a test but I'm trying to do well and to understand it you know, fully not you know for two or three weeks I wanna get it you know for the rest of my life. - I've learned that sometimes I underestimate what the kids can do and when they're left to their own devices they do a lot more than what I thought that they could do so having the kids being in control of their learning and me facilitating that it's just completely changed my role for those girls. - I have to say my favorite part is just being able to like learn at my own pace. Before I always felt behind, I don't have to be worried about holding a class back or getting too head which is an amazing thing. (upbeat music)