As a middle school teacher, I am always looking for new methods that allow my students to practice concepts in various ways. We do many lessons and games on paper, but I have been trying to use technology more and more every year! My class adores using computers and I find there are many skills when using technology to teach that will help them in the future. An Open Education Resource is even better than just any resource so that teachers may use them without having to worry about prices or copyright issues.
In my years as a teacher, I have been able to use some great resources to better my students’ learning with technology. I have used Kahoot and Blooket for quizzes ( the ability to make French grammar fun with these games is amazing!)
I also enjoy Jeopardy for reviews and many Google Apps for projects. Prodigy is a big hit with my students ( They ask to play at least 3 times a week). Prodigy reminds me a bit of the OER ” Khan Academy” that I have decided to explore a bit more in the eyes of an educator.
On its homepage, Khan Academy uses this quote ” Our mission is to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere”. This sums up an Open Education Resource to a tee. With Open Education, we can share content, collaborate, and learn no matter where we live, who we are, or the cost, since it is more accessible.
Things I Enjoyed About Khan Academy
It’s very easy to use for teachers and students!-I signed up for Khan Academy for an educator profile right away to be able to experience it to its full potential. I enjoyed the simple interface and how it was easy to set up. It even allows a tour experience as a student so you know what your students will see. It’s also very simple for them as well!
The ability to assign specific work- I was able to add a class so that my students would be able to join. That way, I can see their progress and assign them work. Assigning homework, lessons, and quizzed related to the unit and lessons we are working on is very important as a way for my students to have extra practice As I was learning about Khan Academy, I decided to look at Prodigy and see if they also had this tool ( they do!) In a classroom, you will always have students that finish assignments quicker than others. It’s great to have something like Khan Academy that doesn’t take long to plan.
It’s an Open Education Resource!– Unlike Prodigy that has premium accounts for a better experience that you must pay for monthly or yearly, Khan Academy is free for all! It is accessible all over the world. This also means that teachers or schools don’t have to pay for their classrooms and children don’t have to beg their grown-ups for a premium account. Everyone wins! However, since it is a nonprofit organization that is simply asking for donations to be able to create a better site, it has still not reached its full potential ( more on that later). But it is a great start!
What Khan Academy Needs To Do Next
These next few points are simply due to the fact that Khan Academy is an OER. Being a free site that is up and running from donations alone, they are simply trying to make a site that will allow free learning. When more people become open to OER’s, I believe that Khan Academy can become even better!
Add more subjects- Khan Academy has plenty of math units and language lessons for elementary, high school, and college levels. However, they lack in the elementary department in other subjects. It’s also important to note that these courses aren’t specified to Saskatchewan, and even at times, Canada. So teachers must watch for those differences like historical content.
Add more courses in different languages– Even though Khan Academy is an OER and accessible to many, most of their subjects are in English. Being a French Immersion Teacher, I changed my settings to French and found a huge difference in the amount of content. For example, I would use Khan mostly for Math and grammar practice. In French, there are still many concepts, but they are not divided into levels. I was unable to find any other subjects for my grade level besides Math in French.
I really enjoyed browsing and learning about Khan Academy. I appreciate that they are an OER, how easy it is to use, and the ability to assign specific work. However, as a French Immersion Teacher, it would be great if it was more accessible. Keeping in mind that this site is an OER, they are doing their best!
I would love to try this out in my classroom and ask my students what they think! I would try this for Math and assign French Math activities that go with the concepts we are learning. Even if I am unable to find what I need in French, I know that my students would still benefit from revising some basic math concepts in any language. I am not sure Khan Academy will be able to take their top spot ( that belongs to Prodigy), but I think my students would enjoy something new!
Have you ever tried Khan Academy? If so, how do you use it in your classroom?
4 thoughts on “Khan Academy- An OER for Educators”
I agree with your post regarding content. Although Khan has many great math and language lessons I wish there were more lessons in the social studies area. I often struggle in trying to find a good resource to supplement and build into my social studies units or lesson plans. Thank you for introducing me to prodigy I am going to spend some time this weekend looking it over.
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Megan, you have a great post here that has raised some valid points about how Khan Academy could evolve or change to better meet the needs of teachers and students. We had lots of teachers that started using Khan Academy during the pandemic and used videos to help support the shift to online education. You discussion about having more access to French Immersion content really sparked my attention. With very few numbers of French Immersion teachers in the province, I am curious if there are any types of provincial groups that have been helpful in sharing resources? I know that some French teachers would be alone in a building and would not necessarily have the luxury of getting the resource support from their colleagues.
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It can be tricky finding resources, especially those that get students interested in learning. There is a version of TPT called MieuxEnseigner that I like to use. However, a lot of content is either for Core French or Quebec/France French. Not a lot specifically for French Immersion. I do find our small French Immersion community to be very generous in helping each other find good resources or sharing resources we made. Our school division does have a French Immersion coordinator so there are also some worksheets/lessons plans there!
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When Khan was in its earlier days, I used to use it in the classroom as supplemental material to figure out how to do something in math a different way than I was teaching it, or to help students enrich or supplement their learning. It was a good way to also provide tutoring programming (loosely) for those families that were busy or that couldn’t afford more traditional tutoring-type programs. Because it didn’t always align perfectly with the math curriculum at the time, a colleague and I started creating our own math videos that went right with the content that we were teaching. I do find value in Khan and it has been a pretty great resource, although not a traditional OER I think it is quite beneficial especially in the elementary school setting.
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