You gotta love this guy. He’s literally a genius at math and science. But he’s also a man who reached out to help his own cousin navigate these terrifying subjects. Now, Salman Khan helps millions and millions of people learn, online at Kahn Academy.
And the topic list is amazing, ranging from Algebra (pretty much the subject that started the whole thing) to Venture Capitalism. In between, users can learn about art, history, economics, information technology and health and wellness. In fact, Kahn Academy now boasts more than 2700 video lessons that are offered free of charge to anyone who wants to watch and learn from them.
How did this happen?
As I mentioned, Khan started tutoring a young cousin remotely in 2004 after learning that she was struggling with math. They lived pretty far away from each other so Kahn decided to use the Internet and create some videos to help her. Soon other relatives were asking him for help. When he posted a series of lessons on YouTube, they went viral, and donors like Bill Gates offered to help him expand his efforts.
And Khan did just that!
Today, the academy has more than 250,000 YouTube subscribers and his videos have a total of 108, 697,000 upload views. Khan Academy is the second most subscribed to non profit organization on YouTube.
This former hedge fund analyst quit his day job a few years ago to focus on teaching. Now, he posts short video lessons to his site, khanacademy.org—where kids in dozens of countries learn about everything from Hubble’s Law to the French Revolution and get a chance to reinforce what they’ve seen with practice exercises designed for every level.
And Khan Academy isn’t just for kids. Coaches and teachers who use this tool can access all of their students’ data. Summary data for the whole class is online as is data that allows teachers to dive into a particular student’s profile to figure out exactly which topics are problematic. Again, it’s all free.
Running this enterprise is a lot of work and up until 2010, Khan was dipping into his own savings to help foot the bill. Why do it? Khan says he wants to provide extra help that kids may not be getting at public schools like the ones he attended near New Orleans. But he also wants to reach kids who don’t have access to schools, at all.
With $2 million from Google, Khan, who now has a small team (check out Ben Kamens who leads interns at Khan Academy) is translating his videos into languages like Mandarin, Hindi, and Spanish, broadening the base and extending the reach of his organization beyond the limitations of the English language.
For a lifelong learner like me, Khan Academy is a bit like a candy shop – full of lovely things to learn and all of them free for the asking. And I am not alone. A whole lot of people are watching and learning using a teaching tool developed by one man to help one young girl.
Sal Kahn is helping millions of children and he is changing the world. If you want to learn more about Sal and his mission, check out these FAQ’s or see what Oprah had to say about him in the October issue of her magazine.