New Thinking Inside The Box

Sal Khan was a math wiz and wanna be entrepreneur who moved to Silicon Valley after graduating from MIT in 1998. After the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 he knocked around the valley looking for the next big thing. He got into the hedge fund racket in the mid 2000s.

In 2006 he got a call from a cousin in New Orleans where he had grown up. She was having trouble with Algebra and wondered if cousin Sal could tutor her long distance. Sal jumped at the chance to teach a little math and recorded a 10-minute video on the topic and posted it on YouTube. His cousin loved it and asked Sal for more help and Sal made more videos for YouTube. The lessons caught fire on the Internet channel and all of a sudden people from around the world were learning Algebra from Sal Khan in 10 to 20 minute lessons on the Web.

Sal quit his day job (his wife is a doctor) and started making more videos for the newly named Khan Academy. Everything was free—and the educational and philanthropic community was taking note of what was going on as Khan was piling up viewers from Green Bay to Calcutta (where his parents came from before ending up in Louisiana).

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation put up $2 million for seed money, which now helps fund him and a dozen associates. Khan has made a point to steer clear of the educational establishment, but amazingly to him, the progressive Los Altos, California, school system is partnering a hybrid approach which allows kids to use his videos as part of the math curriculum.

For tutors and home schoolers the Khan Academy is a godsend. The lessons are in digestible chucks, available anytime, and are free. Sal Khan is changing the world, one 10-minute video at a time. And that cousin from New Orleans just finished her freshman year at the elite Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

(Much of this information came from a Chris Kendrick article in the Palo Alto Weekly.)

Question: Do you have any experience with homeschooling?

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2 thoughts on “New Thinking Inside The Box

  1. Lloyd GraffLloyd Graff

    He gets money from foundations and now from the Los Altos School District. It is a classic nonprofit approach for the moment.


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