Observations from Khan Academy coaches and classrooms

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Kristi Collins: Teacher Spotlight

Today we are spotlighting Kristi Collins, a 5th grade nationally board certified teacher who started using Khan Academy in her class last year!

One of the great things is that when we did our Winter testing, I found that my students gained on an average 10 points for a half year. Now typically, students are supposed to gain about 8 points for the whole year.

- Kristi Collins, Wisconsin

Congratulations Kristi!

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Justin Ladner: College Hero

This week’s college hero learned with Khan Academy since high school:

I have used Khan Academy to study for multiple Advanced Placement Tests, including AP Calculus AB. Now that I am a first year in college I continue to use Khan Academy to brush up on a few topics that the professors tend to skip over. (I am a Mechanical Engineering major, concentrating in Aerospace). I use all of the physics videos and Calculus to prepare for my first semester physics tests. I think Khan Academy is a great resource both in High school and College. It allows students to self study, get ahead and excel in life with the absence of an instructor.

- Justin Ladner, UMaine ‘17

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Justin!

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Emily Colby: College Hero

Today we’re celebrating a college hero who found success by changing her attitude toward math. Here’s how she describes her journey:

Growing up, my stomach used to churn anytime I was asked to solve a math equation in school. I spent years at battle with the anxiety I associated with math. It got to a hopeless point where I felt there was something inherent in me that kept me from keeping up in math class. It was not until I began taking college math that something changed.

In collaboration with my math professor, Richard Hough, I started using Khan Academy. I decided to go into math with a new attitude, one that was kind and eager to learn. I found that when I put aside my disparaging thoughts and just got down to business, my ability to understand what was going on increased immensely!


The way KA uses methods of positive reinforcement to teach concepts was a huge factor in my change of attitude toward math. Small things like getting a smiley face for getting a problem right help me to keep going. Prof. Hough recommends exercises based on what we are learning in class at the moment. I like to use them to get a leg up on what’s going on in class before we’ve formally gone over a new topic. I also find KA to be a helpful study tool for brushing up before an exam. Now I am proud to say I am enjoying math!

Congratulations, Emily, and keep up the good work!

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Khan Academy Connects with Teachers in NYC

There’s nothing we enjoy more than learning from the teachers who use Khan Academy to engage and inspire their students. So, as you can imagine, we were very excited to meet teachers from across the Northeast last Saturday at the Celeste Bartos Forum at The New York Public Library.


With support from the Siegel Family Endowment and The New York Public Library, we were able to host a workshop, where educators interested in personalized learning took time out of their weekends to connect with other KA teachers and administrators, and learn how to make the most of the site. Some came from as far away as Boston and Baltimore!


The goal of the workshop was to help each teacher discover how Khan Academy can meet the specific needs of his or her classroom. Teachers who were new to KA completed scavenger hunts to familiarize themselves with the site, while more experienced users chose topics like motivation and accountability to discuss in small groups. At the end of the day, all participants sketched out personalized plans for incorporating KA into their classrooms.


In addition to meeting with KA staff - including content creators, designers, and developers - participants shared ideas with one another. One veteran KA teacher, Silvestre Arcos from KIPP Washington Heights Middle School (pictured above), described how he uses KA to differentiate instruction. Teachers also learned about the resources available at The New York Public Library, Khan Academy’s growing content in the humanities (including art history), and our Common Core coverage.

Many participants completed a feedback survey and the of the session, and 96% of them rated the workshop “helpful” or “extremely helpful.” “I felt as though a great deal of information was presented and time was given to process the information,” explained one teacher. “Very often at workshops you get so much information and never have time to think about it [and] as a result you become overwhelmed. Today I did not feel overwhelmed I felt inspired.”

Interested in getting a taste of a Khan Academy workshop? We’ve made all our workshop materials freely available so that teachers all around the world can explore them. Take a look, and let us know what you think!


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Peter Wang: College Hero

Today’s college hero is Peter Wang, a junior at Stanford in Chemical Engineering. He’s a super resilient student who used KA so that he could take classes that weren’t offered at his high school, studying them independently in his own time and testing out of them.

Here’s a few snippets to summarize his experiences with KA from a message he shared with us on our Facebook.

Peter WangSelf studied quite a few AP tests through Khan Academy including physics B and C, as well as a general aid through my other AP classes. My HS had limited spot for certain AP classes or simply didn’t offer them outright.. they refused to allow me into any of the classes due to budget.. So I just used KA to self study. 

Absolutely love KA, definitely played a huge part on getting me where I’m today. Coming from a single parent, first generation, immigrant background, KA was an easily accessible free resource that really helped out when I didn’t have access to too many other resources..

He was also featured recently in a story about KA on CBS!  Check out his interview:

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Leah Bloomberg: College Hero

This week we’re celebrating a College Hero for going back to school!

Leah Bloomberg lives in Phoenix AZ, and has a BA in Rhetoric.  She recently decided to return to school to become a nurse. “I can’t even tell you how scared I was to be in a general chemistry course with recent high school graduates who are (I feared) smarter than I. I was worried I would be lost from the very first day of class.  Special thanks to Sal and his chemistry/periodic table videos. He was such a big help. It’s like he was my own private tutor.”  Leah is planning to apply to master’s of nursing bridge programs in October.  Good luck, Leah!


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Charlie Marsh: College Hero

We’re celebrating another college hero this week!  Charlie Marsh hit a couple of big snags in high school but managed to get through and go to one of the best universities in the U.S.!  Check out Charlie’s inspirational story of using KA to study to go to college. Tell us your inspirational story here.

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Mark Halberstadt: College Hero

We’re celebrating Mark Halberstadt as one of our college heroes!  We know that getting through college isn’t always easy, so we’re sharing and celebrating this inspiring story.

In high school, Mark thought he was bad at math, and now he’s on his 2nd bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering with an A average! Check out this KA style video he made describing how KA helped him prepare for his Engineering curriculum and build confidence to go back to school. Go Mark! And feel free to share your inspiring stories with KA about your college experience.

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Nationwide MATHletes Challenge launches in Ireland

On January 27, Irish technology entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan launched the 2014 MATHletes Challenge, a contest that will introduce students across Ireland to Khan Academy. They’ll compete for more than €20,000 in prizes as they learn math on our site. The competition began on February 1 and lasts just over three months. We’re thrilled to be part of this one-of-a-kind opportunity!

MATHletes Challenge 2014

As announced on, “MATHletes Challenge 2014, which O’Sullivan is launching today with the Minister for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon, aims to help students develop the confidence and competence to excel in maths by introducing Irish students and teachers to the Khan Academy. … In the MATHletes challenge, students will compete in county and provincial finals, with top scorers advancing to the national finals, which are scheduled to take place in early May. Students will also be able to connect with other contestants by attending free Saturday Khan Clubs which will be held in the National Educations Centres across the country.”

For more information, visit the MATHletes Challenge launch site. Also check out this video to see how Irish teachers and students are using Khan Academy.