The Los Altos School District, located in a suburb of SanFrancisco, has just secured a new grant which it plans to use to expand its Khan Academy pilot program to include 5th and 6th grade classrooms in all 7 elementary schools.
Khan Academy is a relatively new educational non-for-profit that is built on a novel theory. It swaps the usual in-class instruction time with the homework usually done outside of class. Rather than have the students learn how to solve a math problem during class time, the Khan Academy believes that students should watch instructional videos on their own time. The time in the classroom is best spent with the teacher working with the students on the homework problems they didn’t understand.
The idea here is that the simple and repetitive task of showing how to solve a problem is removed in order to give the teacher more time to work with the students on the points they didn’t grasp completely. Also, by using online videos, students will be able to learn from the best teachers, no matter where they are.
The school district is getting a $100,000 grant from the Los Altos Educational Foundation (LAEF) to pay for teacher training. “There’s something very compelling about the idea that you can flip the instructional model so that teachers spend less of their time broadcasting a common lesson throughout the entire class and spend more time providing individual attention and intercepting exactly what each student needs,” said LAEF co-president Joe Seither.
The program is being implemented this fall across 7 elementary schools.
image by Thomas Favre-Bulle