Back to Work (or School) a Little Smarter

BlackboardAfter a summer of outdoor fun, the arrival of Labour Day always makes me want to sign up for a class. But with a full-time job, I wasn’t sure if I could to commit to the schedule, if I had time to do the homework, or if I wanted to fork over several hundred bucks for a class that may or may not be worth it.

Then I stumbled upon a website that offers the perfect solution: online tutorials. If that sounds like yesterday’s news to you, think again. Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, has come up with a brilliant new take on the online video tutorial. In combination with self-paced, step-by-step online exercises, the tutorials are easy to follow, engaging, and incredibly addictive. It’s no wonder the site—which started out as YouTube videos that the MIT and Harvard graduate/hedge fund analyst posted to tutor his cousin in math—now gets close to 100,000 views a day and attracts over one million students a month. Even Bill Gates uses it to teach math to his kids.

Students are gobbling it up worldwide—and some teachers are starting to incorporate the approach into the classroom. Following Khan’s method, called “flipping the classroom,” instead of listening to a lecture from the teacher, students watch the tutorials at home, then do the “homework” exercises in class the next day, with a teacher on hand to give help as needed. The concept is simple, revolutionary, and best of all—it’s getting kids fired up about learning.

So if you and your kids want to explore math, science, history and a bunch of other subjects, you can watch the tutorials, practice your skills, and track your progress—all at your own pace. Khan’s warm and very human explanations and sketches make tough concepts fun and accessible to everyone. Oh yeah, and it’s free.

This fall, I’ll think I’ll brush up on my algebra. How about you?

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