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Khan Academy at Eastside College Prep (grades 6-8)

Video transcript
JEN JOHNSON: I went to college to study environmental science, and thought that I would be a scientist. And after many summers of working with kids at summer camps, spending time outdoors, I just decided I really liked working with kids, instead. And so, I went back and got my master's in teaching science at Stanford University, and I came to Eastside. And I've been here ever since. You really need to capture a student's attention in middle school. They still have that intellectual curiosity. They're not jaded yet. And they just really enjoy learning. But you can still have really deep conversations with them, and they understand things at a higher level. SUNEY PARK: When I first heard about Khan Academy, the most appealing point of it was that it was going to reach all students where they are, and to meet them where they are. When I heard that they can work at their own pace, and that it would free me up to be able to work with individual groups of students, I just jumped on it. And I know you always take a chance with something unknown . But I felt that it was a chance worth taking. And so, I just decided to go for it. 'Cause you never know unless you try. JEN: I think it has to be a very thoughtful process, to make Khan Academy work in the classroom. You need to think about the culture of your classroom, and setting up norms. SUNEY: We're the only two piloting the program, so we share ideas all the time. We want the expectations to be similar; because the sixth graders will soon be her seventh and eighth graders. And we wanna keep it consistent. JEN: We talked about peer tutoring; we talked about how to watch a video, and learn from it. So, we did a little active listening lesson. And then the kids got to explore. We gave them computers: setup their e-mail accounts; let them explore Khan Academy. And it started out with 45 minutes, every other day, of working on Khan. We started aligning the curriculum with the Khan modules. And it morphed into this wonderful map that we have of each unit—— all of the assignments that the kids have; and they keep it in a folder. It's very neat and orderly. But that's pretty much how it's morphed over the year. SUNEY: On a given day, in my math class, you'll have a fraction of the students doing Khan modules, listening to videos and learning. Another fraction will be working on their textbook work, and learning through their textbook, and through the notes that I've given. I ask, "OK, today, who's really struggling with this particular concept?" And it's amazing. The kids will just raise their hand, and say, "That's me. "The video hasn't been enough. The book, I don't get it. And I'm going to need you." And so, I'm always with about four or five students, and working in small groups. And, before you know it, the hour's gone. Even though I don't get to visit each group, I trust them, and I know that they're really engaged. And then I can always look back at the dashboard, to see what they've done and accomplished. And so, it works out really nicely. JEN: I am most excited about the dashboard, and the instant feedback that I get— that my students get—, to show where they're not understanding certain things— both for themselves, and for me. So that I can help them; and they can recognize their areas that they need to improve. And I think, Khan has done a great job in making it a very user friendly dashboard. Integrating Khan Academy into our classrooms did take time up front. But, in the end, we're not only saving planning time, but we're also getting through the material more quickly. And so, we've got a little bit more cushion time for the kids to really understand what they're learning, and practice more. SUNEY: It took a lot of work. But in the end, though, hard work pays off; because, then, it's like a well oiled machine. It just goes. And the kids are on their own and independent. And they're really engaged in it. I'll probably never go back to the way I used to teach. JEN: What it's done for my students is really being able to pinpoint where they're struggling. Before Khan Academy, they weren't as aware about their math skills as they are now. And so, I've had a lot more success with students taking tests. The last two units, all the kids have passed. And that doesn't happen all the time. SUNEY: Two minutes before Khan Academy math time is over, I ring the bell, just to let them know that it's time to wrap up And then they groan, and they scream, and they say, "No!" "Two more minutes!" "Two more minutes!" "Five more minutes!" And that's always a joy for teachers to see kids that don't wanna stop learning.