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The Gates Notes: Insights into students' progress

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Shantanu: We tell teachers that you shouldn't be the sage on the stage but you should actually be the guide on the side. But they really don't have the tools that are necessary to really make that possible today. One of the big differences with Khan Academy is that we're not trying to just replicate the existing systems using technology to augment the way existing instruction is done. We're fundamentally thinking about reinventing instruction. Sal: We've gotten letters from teachers who said, "Hey, you've already given the lecture on L'Hopitals rule or the unit circle." Instead of me giving the basic lecture on that and then assigning homework, we flip the model. I'm assigning the lecture for them to watch at home and then they can watch what I assign. But then if they have some questions they can re-mediate and watch stuff that was taught in previous sections. Or if they're bored they can move ahead and go as advance as they want. Then when they go into the classroom they can actually do problems, they should do their homework in the classroom. We have this teacher dash board right now where it shows all of the students and all of the concepts. Within a glance a teacher can see whose mastered what, who's struggling with what, where each student is in their development and learning. They can see in real time where all the students are in aggregate. The coach will be able to see who's stuck. They can click on any one of the concepts and see exactly what the students have been up to. By problem, they can see how long they spent on each problem. Did they get it right or wrong? Did they watch the video before or after working on that problem. If they saw that they got a problem wrong they can actually click on that part and see the exact problem that they got wrong, so they can really diagnose and do very focused interventions to kind of make sure that all of the students are progressing. In every other industry, if you want to diagnose why something is not working, you try to get as much data on it as possible, so that you can really say, "Okay," "I need to just tighten that part right over there." What we're trying to do is give teachers that level of data. Shantanu: We can just try to impact individuals directly without having to change the entire educational system. Sal: To roll out it's actually super simple, it's all web based, it's all free, so literally if a school has internet connectivity and has computers, any type of computer, they're ready to start 1 + 1 and get to Calculus.