Sal Khan, A Teacher With Millions of Students
Six years ago, Salman Khan – known to his family and friends as Sal – was an analyst for a hedge fund in Boston. When his well-loved aunt living in New Orleans asked him to help her son, Sal’s cousin, with algebra, Sal did what every loving cousin would do, he agreed.
But, how to manage the distance? A plugged-in young professional, Sal used YouTube. In Boston, he videoed his tutorials in front of a blackboard so his young cousin could see the work on the blackboard while listening to his explanation. Best of all, his young cousin could replay the tutorial til he understood each concept.
Sal’s cousin’s algebra skills grew quickly. Soon, his one cousin turned into several cousins. And, since YouTube is YouTube, viewership began to expand beyond the family. In no time, Sal was hearing from people all over the country, people who were using his videos and sending appreciative messages.
At the start, most of the comments came from individuals. It wasn’t long, however, til he began to hear from teachers who were assigning his videos as homework. As he thought about it, Sal realized that each video he uploaded to YouTube was timeless. Algebra is algebra, it isn’t going to change. Sal quit his job and began his own not-for-profit organization, Khan Academy.
Today, Khan Academy has uploaded 2,700 videos teaching students at every grade level from kindergarten to 12th. Each video is brief, just 12 to 20 minutes. Subjects are broken into easily digested lessons – from basic arithmetic to vector analysis plus biology, chemistry, physics, history and even finance.
Sal is the teacher for every one of these videos. He’s earned three degrees from MIT – a BS in mathematics, a BS in electrical engineering and computer science and an MS in electrical engineering and computer science – and an MBA from Harvard.
Every Khan Academy video is on YouTube. Anyone in the world can learn from the lessons taught by Sal – at no cost. Every single month, more than 1,000,000 students login and download videos, watching 100,000 to 200,000 videos every single day. So far, he’s delivered more than 125,000,000 lessons!
So students can work at their own pace, Sal developed practice exercises. In addition, Sal is working with a California school district to find ways they can incorporate the lessons into their curriculum.
Because the subjects taught are universal, Sal is working with other organizations to make his content available to people all over the world. Bill Gates and his foundation are funding new work so that Sal’s work can reach all the parts of this world.
From helping a cousin with algebra to educating millions, Sal Khan has created an amazing tool that will change lives throughout our world. Try it out now. Or, have one of your children give it a whirl. There’s nothing more soul-satisfying to a young person than doing homework on YouTube!