How to Use Learning Platforms Like Khan Academy During School Closures?

How to Use Khan Academy

The COVID-19 outbreak has adversely disrupted the education systems across the world. As the pandemic demands social distancing, schools and other learning centers have been forced to remain closed, affecting the learning of millions of students across the world.

However, education has to continue. This led education stakeholders to think of alternative ways of providing education to the learners. As a result, most schools, colleges and universities switched to online distance education using different channels, setting off an unplanned and rapid shift in the education sector.

To support the education community, but most importantly to ensure the continuity of students’ learning, several tech giants and education technology companies also stepped forward to offer their tools and services, many for free during the school closures. For instance in China, companies such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Huawei have stepped forward to offer free online classes for students of different levels across the country during the lockdowns. The country’s Ministry of Education also issued statement encouraging schools to use online platforms as an alternative way of teaching the students. Thus, most traditional bricks and mortar schools across China began to explore and embrace online education at a scale like never before, giving a boom to the country’s edtech sector.

In India, too, several edtech companies have stepped forward to offer their platforms and services to ensure the continuity of learners’ education. Among them include popular online learning platforms such as BYJU's, Unacademy, Vedantu, Toppr, ViDU, Impartus, LIDO Learning, and PlayAblo, among others. The country’s technical education regulator All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has also launched a free e-learning portal to support and enhance student learning amidst the crisis.

While all learning platforms offer different tools and services to students, teachers, and institutions, most of them come with a cost for the end users (except some for certain period during the lockdowns). Many of them also have other limitations, such as language, curriculum, region, etc. However, there are certain platforms that are completely free at all times and offer world-class education to anyone and irrespective of any geography in the world. One such is Khan Academy, a non-profit organization with the mission to provide a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere.

With more than one billion children worldwide being impacted by school closures, Khan Academy has been experiencing soaring demand for its free resources. In fact, during the lockdown period, Khan Academy has been a ‘savior’ for many students, especially those from the lower income family. As schools around the world continue to offer remote and hybrid learning, and as students continue to learn from home, we tell you here how to use learning platforms like Khan Academy during school closures.

What is Khan Academy and what does it offer?

Khan Academy is a free resource for students, teachers, and parents. It offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. Khan Academy offers free lessons in math, science, and humanities from kindergarten through the early years of college. It also offers test preparation (SAT, Praxis, LSAT) content.

Khan Academy focuses on skill mastery to help learners establish strong foundations. Students can practices with exercises, quizzes, and mastery challenges, and get immediate feedback and support. Khan Academy is available in 40+ languages and aligned to national curriculum for over 10 countries. Students who don’t have laptops can access the Khan Academy website or use the Khan Academy app on smart phones.

Khan Academy’s resources to support students, parents, and teachers during school closures

Khan Academy has been doing everything it can to support the education community during these exceptionally challenging times. As part of its effort to support the community, the organization has been having regular webinars and live streams on Facebook and YouTube for students, parents, and teachers navigating school closures. Khan Academy has also created some helpful guides for parents and teachers that can be used for distance learning during school closures.

For parents:

  • Daily Schedules – Khan Academy wants to make every parent ensure their children keep learning during the school closures. To ensure this, it has created daily schedules for students from Pre-K to grade 12 (or ages 2 to 18). Parents can use as they are, or modify to better suit the needs of their family, classroom or district. These daily schedules include chunks of age-appropriate learning time, lots of breaks for movement, and time to work on hobbies and passions.
  • Weekly Math Learning Plans – These weekly math learning plans for Grade 3 through Algebra 2 are designed to keep children on track for the rest of the school year. Parents can choose their child’s grade and start using the weekly plans so they can master key math concepts for their grade level.
  • FAQs for Supporting Learning During School Closures – Khan Academy tries hard to understand the most pressing issues facing parents and children to keep learning going during school closures. Thus, it provides answers and tips to most frequently asked questions and challenges that they face while supporting their children’s learning.
  • SAT updates and Official SAT Practice how-to – Khan Academy has created a guide for parents and students on how to use Official SAT Practice amidst the evolving COVID-19 situation. Parents and students can check the SAT study suggestions as shared by Khan Academy test prep team. Teachers using Official SAT Practice in distance learning scenarios can consult this list of Official SAT Practice FAQs during school closures. They can also directly refer using Official SAT Practice in the classroom and SAT Coach Tools Guide for information about how to support students and view their activity on Official SAT Practice.
  • Khan Academy Kids YouTube Channel and free printable activities for kids ages two to seven – Many distance learning options require a device, but it’s important to limit screen time. These free printable activities offer an off-screen learning option for families to enjoy.
  • Getting started with Khan Academy and Khan Academy Kids for remote learning – If you are curious about how to use Khan Academy and Khan Academy Kids for remote learning, you can watch this YouTube video to start using it.

Khan Academy Kids for early learners

Khan Academy also offers early learning resources. If you have a child or children who are aged between two and seven, you can use the Khan Academy Kids app. In addition to building early literacy, reading, writing, language, and math skills, the app encourages creativity and builds social-emotional skills. It is 100% free, with no ads and no in-app purchases. The app is available on iTunes, Google Play, and the Amazon App store.

For schools and teachers:

If you are a teacher, you can simply follow the following steps to start using the Khan Academy free resources:

With tools and reports designed specifically for them, teachers can easily assign students an entire course, and can easily track student progress with Khan Academy’s reports. Khan Academy has several resources, including a step-by-step welcome guide and a series of online videos featuring real teachers demonstrating how to use Khan Academy to assign instructional videos and practice skills and monitor student progress. All these resources are available at Teacher essentials. Teachers can also join Khan Academy’s #TeachWithKhan Facebook group.

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About the Author
Author: Stephen Soulunii
Stephen Soulunii No more a student, but love to learn. Not a teacher, but care about how students are taught. Not an educator, but want everyone to be educated. Not a social worker, but desire to see change. Not a reformer, but always want to see a better world. The author believes that only sound education can bring a better future, better world and technology can help achieve a lot in this field.

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