Have you seen the newly revamped Khan Academy website? Most of us know of The Khan Academy as "That place with all those Math Videos". While it still has those easily accessible - the site has completely re-imagined the way in which math can be taught.
When you go to www.khanacademy.org you sign up and then add your students (or own children). Each student then logs in and takes an 8 question math test. Some of the questions are very difficult and some are relatively easy. If one is too hard for them, they click a button that reads "I haven't learned this yet." and then it asks them an easier question.
Once the test is finished, it "levels" the student at where they are in general math knowledge. From that point, students work at their own pace through thousands of lessons. In each lesson, it will ask them a series of questions about a certain topic. If they are confused about the topic, they have the option of watching a Khan video during the lesson to help them with the concept. The site has a depth and breadth unlike any Math site I've seen. As I told my own sons when I signed them up "It is a marathon, not a sprint".
One of the reasons I like the site is that it "scores" the students equally. Meaning my lowest students that are taking Khan lessons on concepts like 2 digit addition are scored the same as my gifted students that are studying concepts like dividing with decimals and scientific notation. Each student can earn the same amount of points for correctly answering questions. About a week in, I discovered a way to sort the students by number of points they have earned (they earn skills points each time they get a question correct). When I sorted the list, the top 5 names were of the five best math students in my class. No surprise there. However, the 6th name was of my student who struggles the most in Math! When I read the list of the top 6 names aloud - #6 almost jumped out of his seat. I'm pretty sure his name has rarely ever been associated with the top math students in his class - but today it was! The excitement all over his face was truly priceless!!!
Another reason I like the site is that it works on multiple platforms, not just on a PC-based web browser. It works 100% on the iPads, iPods, Laptops, etc. Having 1:1 iPads in my class helps with this because each student has complete access to Leveled Math Content whenever they need it. There is NO downtime in my classroom!
I also enjoy the site because of the amount of data it gives me on each student. For any given student in my class, I can see:
- Skills they have mastered
- Skills they are struggling with
- How much time they have spent on the site during school hours
- How much time they have spent on the site at home
- Each individual question they answered in each lesson
- How many seconds they spent on each question
- How many attempts they gave on each question
- If they used any built in hints for the lesson
- If they watched the Khan Video to help them in the lesson
- and SO MUCH MORE!
I also use Khan at home as a parent of two school-aged boys. When they want to play their video games, I ask them to do 5 lessons on Khan first. We have repurposed our laptop (which has been rarely used in the last couple of years) and have it set up at a table in the dining room with Khan Academy ready to go!
Finally - I have seen my student use Khan for the last few weeks and it is amazing to watch how it differentiates for EACH student in the class. It is truly amazing and - if I haven't mentioned before - it is completely FREE! I would be glad to help anyone get started with their class or own children.
Does Khan work? I think so, I had (nearly) all of my students improve significantly on their Winter MAP Math test. The two student I have had using Khan the longest (and had already had extremely high scores in the fall) earned scores of 251 and 258! Not bad for 4th graders.
If Khan isn't working or if you want a change of pace, try the App Front Row Ed Math or IXL Math.