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The Gates Notes: Teachers in Los Altos

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

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Video transcript

RICHARD JULIAN: It's a tremendous impact, actually, that I'm seeing through Khan Academy. The most impact I see are for those kids who really need the challenge. And I also see the spark in the kids who've struggled, who, in a whole group math lesson, can appear to be lost and then shy and then try to hide. And now they can hide behind their computer screen, so to speak, and continue to work at their own pace. COURTNEY CADWELL: A lot of students are very cognizant of where they are in relation to their peers. Some of them won't want to appear smarter. Some won't want to appear slower. Those students will hesitate to ask questions. They just want to be right there in the middle. Teaching to the middle only does the middle good. And it seems like you're leaving out 2/3 of the class that way. And so there has to be a better way to do it. KAMI THORDARSON: The Khan Academy offers an assessment piece that's incredible. It's so right there and immediate. It's a quick picture of where students are at, where they are having issues, where their struggles are. COURTNEY CADWELL: So I know who I need to visit with, and where I can help them, where I can come alongside, and remediate and support. KAMI THORDARSON: They love those "aha!" moments where they can be the teacher. And they can tell me about something that they think I don't know how to do. RICHARD JULIAN: My students select weekly goals for themselves, based on their own data. So I have them looking at their own data now. COURTNEY CADWELL: In a graphic way, they're able to visualize, in a very concrete way, their progress. Usually you just move through a math classroom. It's like, OK, we finished this chapter. We finished that book. But the kids don't really see everything that they've accomplished. And this lets them see it, and it makes it real for them. RICHARD JULIAN: And then, at that point, I was excited for my kids, because I saw that, again, as being a tool for them that ultimately would help them become responsible for their own learning, and deciding hey, this is where I need work. COURTNEY CADWELL: The kids are enjoying it because it's very engaging for them. I'm enjoying it because my kids do, my students do. KAMI THORDARSON: Kids go home excited about math, and that's what parents see. They see that kids are talking about math. They're discussing what they did in class. They're showing them something on the computer that they just learned how to do. COURTNEY CADWELL: Parents know their kids better than anyone. So they can encounter a Khan Academy problem if they're working through it with their child. They can say, hey, remember when we were at the beach? And we did this, and this is what was involved. And so they can really help me tie these new concepts to previous learning if they get involved with their kids, with the Khan Academy, at home. RICHARD JULIAN: Math, I always found after teaching for 21 years, kids love it or kids don't love it. And now I think I've got 27 kids in my class who could, at some point during the day say, hey, I love math.