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The Gates Notes: Administrators in Los Altos

Administrators in Los Altos School District share their experiences with Khan Academy.

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Video transcript

JEFFREY BAIER: When I first saw Khan Academy, what was attractive to me was the ability for students to learn concepts at their own pace, when they were ready for them. And it brings that learning to students both in the classroom and at home with a seamless transition from one location to the next. ALYSSA GALLAGHER: What caught our eye in using it to differentiate instruction is the interface that the students have, and really on the back end, all of the complex data that's provided to the teachers. It would take them hours to get that same kind of data. SANDRA McGONAGLE: It was easy to roll out. Thankfully, I have some teachers who are just great risk takers and saw the potential of how it would help their students. Cost wise is great. I know there are other math programs out there that you can purchase, but it is a cost and it's not real time. JEFFREY BAIER: The data sets the Khan Academy provides allows principals at the school site level to have conversations with their teachers about progress students are making; to recognize very quickly which students are grasping skills and moving ahead, which students are struggling with a particular concept, and which students are stuck and need some additional intervention. ALYSSA GALLAGHER: Khan Academy is directly helping because every day, every child has the opportunity to have individualized learning opportunities, where they are specifically working at their level, being provided with instantaneous feedback. Which is not something that they would get in the traditional teacher lecture model. SANDRA McGONAGLE: I see every student utterly engaged in what they're doing. And they are talking about math. They are excited about math. They're appropriately challenged. And those kids who are really math superstars are able to push themselves to where they want to be. JEFFREY BAIER: The parent involvement aspect is important, as well, because they can actually see the teaching, the instruction, as the student hears the instruction in class, as well, because they, too, can watch the videos. It brings an opportunity into the home for parents to have conversations with their children about math, about learning, and about what they're doing in school. SANDRA McGONAGLE: I am most excited that our kids are happy and excited about learning, and especially learning math, because it seems to be the older you get in grades, you either have determined for yourself that you love math, or you're not good at math. And so if kids can have success at their level, to build that mental math capability, I think that's amazing. JEFFREY BAIER: When both teachers and students are excited about the teaching and learning going on in the classroom, it has limitless possibilities.