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If school is closed and you stay at home with your children, you can still help them learn valuable lessons, even if you are not an expert.

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Last spring, when schools closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, educational programs became a lifesaver.

As parents, educators, and students tuned in to the virtual audience, many relied on applications and technology to help bridge learning gaps.

Among them was the popular Khan Academy, founded by Sal Khan in 2005 to provide videos and tools to help students study math, science and other subjects.

In an interview with the United States today, Khan’s CEO said he first learned of the school’s closure due to a pandemic in February after receiving letters from South Korea from teachers using the Khan’s academy. In the following months, schools in the United States began to close in favor of virtual learning.

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When it became clear that school closures could happen, we started making a little room for war. “Okay, we need to provide more support for teachers, for parents,” Khan said. not only Khan’s Academy, but other resources to structure a day that can focus on homework or quarantine training or whatever you can name. “

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Khan said that before COVID-19, the site averaged 30 million school minutes. At the peak of spring, the Khan Academy averaged 90 million teaching minutes.

Last week, the Amgen Foundation awarded the Khan Academy a $ 3 million grant to support initiatives, including virtual biology lessons and collaboration with LabXchange, an online science learning platform.

USA Today we talked to Khan about what to expect this fall and how parents can cope.

Q: Where do you see apps like Khan’s Academy that fit the changing curriculum?

Khan:We call ourselves a strategic complement. This is a kind of ambiguous term. What does it mean?

Pre-COVID, you have this notion of a core curriculum. When you and I went to school, it was usually a combination of a textbook, a teacher’s guide, and perhaps some lecture notes or guides to that teacher or district. There are now a few more well-designed core curricula that have day-to-day lessons through which teachers can work.

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No matter what curricula you are looking at, whether they are text-based or some more modern, they are good at signing daily lesson plans. Where they are lacking – and this is pre-COVID – they are not very good at giving enough practice to students, especially practicing when they receive immediate feedback. They do not necessarily provide support when teachers can know in real time what students are doing, what they know, what they do not know.

And traditional core curricula are very weak in how to solve a problem where each student has gaps in the school year. You give them a synchronous lesson every day.

But what if the children are not ready for this lesson, or what if some children are ready to move forward? How do you do this differentiation and this personalization? Therefore, practice, this feedback, monitoring the progress of teachers, as well as personalization, learning – these are the areas where the Khan Academy saw its role in the classroom, where we could add value as a strategic complement.

Now, when you get into the world of COVID, something really interesting happens, because the traditional curriculum that you anchored doesn’t really work the same way. Most traditional training programs are focused on availability – just imagine math classes, five 55-minute sessions a week, and then you want to solve problems on your own. Now, at best, you are going to conduct two or three sessions of increase per week, much more should be distance, distance learning, using some form of online tool.

We still see ourselves as a strategic complement to this practice, feedback, monitoring teacher progress and personalization space, but we imagine – and this is what we saw in the spring – this is that people are going to lean much harder this is why that you can’t gather so much synchronous time together in this world. It’s the same idea, but the value, I think, of these tools online is much more important now.

Q: What new features or suggestions do you hope to introduce this fall?

Khan: They prepare for courses at the class level. Not only is this a way to find out if the children are ready, but it’s also a department that will help them prepare and prepare for the class level, or even if you go to the class level at the same time to fill any gaps they may have accumulated even before COVID, but especially during the COVID period.

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In addition, we create curricula and schedules for weekly schedules to simply give teachers and parents a perspective on what at least a basic level of distance learning might look like. In fact, most areas just walk out of the room with epidemiologists to understand what is possible even physically, and they haven’t really had a chance to think about what the curriculum looks like in this world. How do we teach, what are our learning goals, how do we actually do it?

Thus, we have a role, even outside of any of the tools we offer, to give people a clear view of what this training can look like.

We worked with McKinsey & Company – we’ll publish it in two weeks – a report that looked at what were the best practices from the spring during distance learning, what didn’t work, and what to do next, what are best practices, what is a game book like the district or school may assess readiness for hybrid or distance learning. We will also continue to provide much more support and training to teachers and parents to help as many people as possible get through this period.

Question: What advice do you have for parents who help their children navigate in virtual learning?

Khan:My advice is to take a deep breath first. Don’t even hope that you need to repeat the whole school. It’s just not practical. Nobody gets it. So even if you look at your relatives and you think they’re getting an amazing hybrid experience, it’s probably not as weird as you might think.

But I would say that it is different to focus on these basics. There are two scenarios. There is a scenario where the school supports the family well enough. The main role of a parent is to stay busy with what the school tells you, make sure you can form habits and patterns with your child, review the calendar together so that the child shows up and does whatever activities teachers want them to do.

There is another scenario – and unfortunately I think it can be quite common – where families do not get the support they need and they have to do it on their own. That’s where I would say focused on the basics. Depending on the child’s age, math, reading and writing, if they can get at least 20-30 minutes a day, they are not going to atrophy and are going to progress.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @ brettmolina23.

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