26 7 / 2012
One of my favorite parts of working at Khan Academy is updating our stories page, where we share some of the many inspirational testimonials we receive from our users. I was scanning some letters today and it made me think it’d be nice to blog about it.
Below are a few of my personal favorites. We hope you find them as interesting and inspiring as we do. If you like them, visit the site to read more. Better yet, if Khan Academy has impacted you, send us your story :)
Video from a Philadelphia teacher who scraped together money for 10 classroom computers, and how that impacted his kids (click to play)
From the mother of an autistic child:
I am the parent of a high functioning autistic child. The available services at my sons school could not reach him. He cannot learn in a large group setting but the small group learning available was way below his skill level. This left him feeling stupid and discouraged. It makes me wonder how many kids are like him. With Khan Academy his math skills are blossoming but more importantly, his confidence in his academic abilities is growing by leaps and bounds. My mom, a retired Junior High Math teacher, is beyond impressed with Khan Academy. Our Question- Why aren’t more schools adopting this?
From a 69-year old learner
I’m 69 years old, a writer and photographer. I decided I wished I’d studied calculus, so I went to Khan Academy. I quickly discovered that I needed to brush up on my algebra, and before that, on my pre-algebra. I’m nearly through algebra now, three months later, and this morning topped 100,000 points. I’ve never had so much fun learning anything.
From a mother
I convinced my gifted but underachieving son, who finds math tedious and irritating, to watch one of your pre-algebra 10 minute videos. When he was done, I asked him how it was and he slowly turned to me, his eyes wide and filled with wonder, and said breathlessly “Mom, it was the coolest thing ever. It all made sense. I understood everything, and it was so exciting that I got this funny feeling in my chest, all tingly, and all I want to do is learn more that makes me feel that way”
From a college student in Australia who battled with drugs and behavioral issues
I was originally from Singapore where I spent the first 15 years of my life failing school, day after day I would not understand a word the teacher was saying as they said, “you must remember this or you won’t get a job in your future.” and every year I would fail school. When I was 14, I started failing pretty badly and fell into a world of drug addiction. When I was 15, my drug addiction got so intense that it affected my grades so badly that I had to be held back a grade in my high school in Singapore. Finally in January 2008 (the year I was 16), my parents decided to move to Perth in Western Australia. They had me enrolled in a private school where within 8 months I was expelled for fighting and drugs. At the end of that ordeal and closely evading arrest, they had be enroll in a local public school where I was faced with the worst problem of my entire life. The final exam of high school that determines if you go to University or not was coming, and I had no idea what to do as I never listened in class since I was 13. All I could do was expand a bracket and that was it, no factorizing, solving an equation or doing trigonometry. I first met the Khan Academy in 2007 where I stumbled on his videos on Complex Numbers on YouTube. I had a whole load of heavy weight subjects like Literature, Physics, Advanced Maths, Chemistry and Biology. Everyday when I came home from school, it would be a 4pm - 10pm study session driven by my own fears. With 5 years of work to catch up on and only Khan Academy helping me, it was a grueling experience. I failed every test and exam that year, thankfully none of those tests and exams contribute to your final University determination grade. I struggled through the Khan Academy playlists on Basic Algebra, Trigonometry, Physics, Chemistry and Biology before moving on to the “higher level” things like Calculus and Differential Equations. Thanks to Salman Khan for quitting his day job as a Hedge-fund Analyst, he has allowed a drug addict whom the public would look down upon to persevere through his A levels and come out on the other side with a result good enough to get into Western Australia’s best University. I hope and pray that the Khan Academy will expand to do subjects like Modern Physics and Maths topics like Topology, Differential Geometry and so on. In any case, I thank you Salman Khan, and the effort you have put into the Khan Academy. You’ve opened doors for us that we would have never been able to unlock alone.
From a teacher in rural Tennessee:
I teach 3rd grade in a rural, low-income area near Knoxville, TN. Most of my students do not have access to computers or internet at home. Mostly, my learners began the year with a distaste for math and an associated low self-esteem in the subject. My school is unique with our mission closely aligned with innovating instruction using technology. We have a computer lab, 4 student computers in my room, and I was lucky to pilot our district’s 1:1 iPod Touch program.
I began the year rotating students through my 4 classroom computers during daily math centers. YouTube was blocked at the time, so I’d begin a unit by downloading a video at home and showing to the whole group the following day. With soaring support from our district tech supervisor, Google and YouTube access was opened on the server. Then, the Archiver App was released for iPhone/iPod and I was able to assign videos for students to view on their iPods for homework. Once per week my class has the computer lab reserved for math where every learner can work on modules at their own pace.
Now, there are 3 weeks left in the school year. My kids beg me to log onto Khan Academy because it’s fun and they want to keep earning those energy points! My class began the year, on average, slightly below grade level. Year-end data indicates average growth of 3+ grade levels in math! My kids love math now and are hungry for more math content. They are eager to advance and are accountable for their own learning. KA has given me the flexibility to challenge advanced students with projects and devote quality 1:1 time with others struggling on a topic. Peer-support has also grown dynamically with Khan academy. It’s amazing to see children coming to the aid of their classmate and creatively reteaching a topic they have already mastered. I am a firm believer in Khan Academy’s philosophy and encourage all teachers to consider using this learning tool in some fashion that suits your classroom’s needs.
From an 8th grader:
I am going into 8th grade now, and still doing math problems over the summer. Everyone thinks I’m crazy because on my time out of math classes, I’m doing math. I just love it so much! I always ask adults to teach me about things above my grade level, like quantom physics or vectors. But no one explains it to me and says I am “too young.” I was so happy to find a website that not only teaches me fun stuff, but explains it in a fun and understandable way. Thank you Khan Academy, and I love you “tree-with-a-hand” symbol.
Video from a Music major returning to college years later for an Electrical Engineering degree (click to play):
Thanks to all our users - you inspire us every day to work even harder and faster to provide a better experience for you to own your learning path and get where you want to go.