March 12, 2013: Today's leading on-line learning presentation at the annual conference of the California Charter Schools Association (meeting in San Diego) "Blended Learning's Impact on Character," featured Kallie Berg, San Brewer and Peter McIntosh from Oakland Unity High School and Maureen Suhendra (at left, in a volunteer teaching job in Indonesia) of the Khan Academy.
In [Oakland Unity's] efforts to close students' skill gaps with our Khan Academy math program, we have found that we are in fact addressing a character gap. Do our students bring character issues into the classroom (irresponsibility, lack of effort, low confidence)? What caused this character gap? How does it impact education? What role does online learning, and Khan in particular, play in fixing this character gap? OUHS has demonstrated the largest growth in 9th grade Algebra CST performance in California over the last two years.
The Khan Academy, which runs a total above its logo a la the old McDonalds -- 245,943,747 lessons delivered, it read this morning -- is a nonprofit organization "with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere..." Its library includes over 4,000 videos on K-12 math and science ("and even reaches into the humanities with playlists on finance and history"). The videos are 10-minutes long, designed to be viewed on computers, iPads, and smartphones.
A second break-out session this afternoon, "Open, Free and Cheap: It Just Keeps Getting Better," is a panel discussion lead by Mark Miller of Learningtech (educational technology consulting services); with Bernard Golden of Navica, and Phil and Kathleen Hermsmeyer of River Springs Charter (Temecula; Riverside County). Tools and resources to foster individualized learning, online productivity, creativity, cloud-based collaboration, and world-class free content will be highlighted.
River Springs has individualized learning programs, focuses on one-to-one teaching, has student centers at various locations ("the entire community serves are the school campus"), and uses mixes of classroom teaching, on-line instruction, and home-schooling.