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Using Khan Academy for distance learning

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When teachers are supporting students in a distance learning environment, we recommend pairing Khan Academy’s course mastery system with assignments in order to best meet the needs of all students.
By pairing course mastery with assignments, you combine the best pieces of long-term, self-paced work with in-the-moment, teacher-directed skill focus. You enable students to focus on mastery learning by allowing them to move at their own pace through a year’s worth of rigorous content, and you provide opportunities for students to directly focus on key skills right now. (View this article for more on pairing course mastery with assignments.)
Below are recommendations for using this model for distance teaching and learning.

Use face-to-face time for community building and problem solving

Face-to-face time can be limited in distance learning environments. As a result, experienced teachers recommend using this valuable time to connect with students and help solve their most challenging questions.

Connecting with students

Start your virtual lesson with an opportunity for students to connect with you and with each other. Human connection is essential for all students, so try to provide students with time to connect when you can, while saving independent working time on Khan Academy for later.
If you’re looking for support in stimulating class conversation, especially within a distance classroom, try Khan Academy’s Refresh, which is a collection of five-minute classroom activities that offers a breath of fresh air and helps students arrive on time, ready to go.
Also, if you can, allow time at the end of class for students to ask you and each other additional questions. Each class is a unique community, and it’s important to provide time to build community, especially when students are physically far from each other.
To make more time for interaction in distance learning environments, you can use Khan Academy’s instructional videos to supplement direct instruction. By using videos to supplement or replace direct instruction, teachers can spend more face-to-face time on problem-solving and community building.

Challenging problems and reteaching

Since students are not physically in the same space with their teacher when they are working through exercises, they may be less likely to ask for help when they need it.
Before live time with your students, use Khan Academy’s Skills report to identify skills where students may be struggling. Then, during your distance lesson, showcase a particular skill to students, give them an opportunity to ask questions, and even work through a sample problem together. Try encouraging students to work on their own whiteboard, slide, or scratch paper alongside instruction, and when appropriate, ask a student to lead the step-by-step process from their own screen.
You can also use Khan Academy’s Assignment responses report to identify the questions most commonly missed by your students. Select a question from the report, and give students an opportunity to ask questions and share challenges with the presented question. Then, work through the problem together.

Expectation setting and feedback

Since students are working on Khan Academy independently during distance learning, be sure to set clear expectations about what content students should be working on and how much progress you expect them to make. Experienced teachers recommend including both long-term goals (through course mastery) and short-term goals (through assignments). Include students in the goal-setting process, and read this article for more on goal setting and progress monitoring.
Be sure to provide students with an opportunity to reflect on their goals and progress—some teachers encourage using a digital document as a virtual shared journal to write back and forth with students to provide more regular feedback. These goal-setting templates help students focus on short-term priorities, long-term goals and provide a space for reflection.
Also, students are used to receiving feedback from their teachers in the classroom. While Khan Academy does provide instant feedback and progress reporting to both teachers and students, it is not a replacement for meaningful feedback directly from teachers. Take time to review each student’s progress weekly and communicate with the student and their parent/guardian directly to celebrate successes and highlight areas of opportunity.
If parents/caregivers are interested in tracking student progress, you can share this parent quick start guide to help them set up a parent account on Khan Academy.

Find opportunities to connect with other teachers

It’s easy to forget yourself in the distance teaching and learning experience. If you have budgeted time for a peer-learning community or other opportunity to connect with teachers—do it!
One of the most consistent recommendations we hear from experienced teachers is to share your challenges and successes with each other. Distance teaching and learning is challenging, and the best practices and best support in these moments can come from others in the teacher community.

If you’re looking for more support

If you find yourself looking for more information, please visit our help center. If you’re looking for additional insight from other teachers, visit our Teach with Khan community on Facebook or Twitter.

Want to join the conversation?

  • blobby green style avatar for user Edith Stanesti
    Thank you Khan Academy for helping us to understand better this platform and to become more technological. Education is a human right, and should remind being free and easy.I wish this could have exist when I was a student.
    (4 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Theresa Sherman
    Do you recommend deleting the classes from last school year before adding new classes for the 2020 - 2021 school year? Following your directions in the Khan Academy Teacher Training, I deleted student names, but I didn't see directions for deleting the classes.
    (4 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user KELLYM
    WE are in Orange County Public schools in Fl. Students will be using Khan Academy for SAT Practice every week. Anything special we should know as they are starting out online?
    (1 vote)
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  • leaf green style avatar for user peter.wilson
    I like the daily schedule. This really helps a lot.
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Glenn McCarthy
    Even though I have been using Khan Academy, there is so much more you have presented in this course to help me be more effective. I appreciate your efforts!
    (1 vote)
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