Case Study: Community College of Vermont
A brief timeline of using Khan Academy in my classroom:
I used KA as a series of optional Videos and Practice Exercises to complement my conventional Basic Algebra curriculum. This is a great way to learn about implementing and embedding Khan Academy into a course, but only proved itself to be useful to highly motivated and self-directed students.
I made sporadic graded KA assignments to support my course objectives. The first thing I noticed was that students became more involved and enthusiastic about learning with Khan Academy.
I made the quantum leap to using Khan Academy as my primary instructional resource and provided a free online open source textbook to complement my KA assignments. I learned three things:
- Very few students chose to use the free online textbook. Some did because it was a better fit for their learning style, but the vast majority of students preferred using KA only.
- I could use KA in a variety of ways to suit my students’ needs – more about that later in this case study.
- On average, I calculate that, over two semesters, I saved my students over $4,000 in textbook costs!
Goals: Placement and Remediation
- Individual Student Progress
- Individual Student Activity
- Whole Class Skills Progress
Challenges and Solutions
If I’m somewhere in the middle of a unit and realize that most of the class has already successfully completed the assigned Practice Exercises I will:
- Assign Mastery Challenges as a way to cement concepts. Note that Khan Academy serves up specific Mastery Challenges as the system determines what each student needs in order to Level Up their skills.
- Use small group and one-on-one sessions to work with students who are still struggling. This is a great place to employ peer tutors as both the tutors and tutees learn together.
- Give students the opportunity to move ahead and/or choose Mission topics they’re interested in or passionate about learning.
If, somewhere in the unit, I discover that a majority of the class is struggling with a foundational concept needed for the current topic at hand, I:
- Use Coach Recommendations as intentional assignments with a due date. Note that in all Coach Recommendations cases (individual, group, or whole class) each Practice Exercise has an embedded video to help with the topic (see image below).
- Use one-on-one and small group peer or instructor tutoring sessions.Screenshot of practice exercise with suggested video
- Once understood and adopted by students, these powerful motivators help ensure success.
- I show a series of TED Talks and YouTube videos that explain and model Grit and Growth Mindset.
- The entire class takes an online Grit Test.