Join our College Tutor Challenge!

This summer, Khan Academy is joining forces with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society to help get students ready for the fall. The College Tutor Challenge offers prestigious awards to the best tutors in math.


Interested in sharing this information with students at your college? Follow this link to learn more about the competition and email with any questions about promoting the challenge at your college.

Just 15 minutes a day

Parent Jonathan Fague shares how 15 minutes a day has changed his outlook:

I have 4 kids 3yr, 12yr, 14yr & 17yr.  One thing I enjoy is helping and tutoring them in their school subjects.  However, I do not have a strong math foundation and as my kids has gotten older I found that I am no longer able to just pick up their text book and explain what they need to do. Many, many  times I’ve found that what I was trying to relay to my kids was completely wrong.  I want to increase my math knowledge because I enjoy being able to help my kids.  I decided to just try and spending 10-15 minutes a day on the Khan Academy site.  It’s now become something I enjoy doing as I wind down and I’m finding that 15 minutes just isn’t enough.  What I’d personally like to relay is just how valuable this is for parents like me that don’t have a strong math background but want to get better at it for our kids benefit. It’s not going to change my career but it’s helping me be a better parent and I really appreciate that.

Programming through Art and Math

Over the summer, Los Altos School District teacher Sheena Vaidyanathan shared the essay below with CSTA’s The Voice about using Khan Academy’s ever evolving and growing computer programming platform with her students.  She also presented at the CSTA conference on July 16, 2013. 

For more about Sheena’s classroom, check out this article with more details. 

Curriculum in Action
Programming through Art and Math
By Sheena Vaidyanathan

Teaching computer science (CS) through art engages students and showcases the creativity behind programming. Connecting programming to math makes CS relevant to the school curriculum and ensures support and funding.

I combined CS with math and art to create a CS course called CSTEM for the Los Altos School District in California. Because CSTEM is a required class, every one of the over 500 sixth graders learns to code as a medium for creating art.

This year, I used the JavaScript implementation of Processing with the Khan Academy IDE. We began with a ‘human computer’ exercise in which students acted out three lines of code to draw a house and then coded the process on the computer.

Students were surprised to see how the code on one side of the IDE translated into a design on the other. Students experimented with Processing functions to add windows, fences, chimneys, and other features to their houses. By the end of the first class, students had learned to use functions to create a variety of shapes. Important learning occurred around syntax, sequencing, and parameters.

Students at this age are just learning to graph coordinates. In the Khan Academy IDE, students can guess numbers for the parameters and then use the sliders to experiment. The program output is updated instantly. This form of playing with the x and y values makes the math exercise relevant and fun. In addition to coordinates, students explored other mathematical concepts, including functions, variables, and geometry. Once I had introduced iteration using the draw function, the students were able to create interactive art based on the mouse position variables.

Many students worked outside of class to create complex works of art through code. Using the cloud-based IDE made it easy for students to log in from home to continue working. To facilitate learning beyond the classroom and to manage a large number of classes, I made extensive use of Edmodo, a moderated online classroom, where I post messages and engage in discussions. Students used the environment to share their work, comment on other projects, and ask questions.

I asked the students what they would say to convince others to learn programming; their answers were inspiring.
• I would tell someone that coding is a type of art. There are no bounds to your creativity and you can create anything you want, it can be easy or hard.
• You should try coding! It’s really fun, but I’m not promising that it will be easy. It’s really useful and teaches patience.
• Coding uses all that I have learned in math and applies it to
the real world.

I have seen the value of connecting programming to both art and math; my students are enthusiastic about programming and my school administration is ready to expand the program. A recent, first-ever district coding competition attracted over 100 participants—and 58% were girls! CSTEM has convinced students in our district that CS can be challenging and fun. Required CS education at this age is both valuable and possible.

The Value of Failure

Article by Derek Oldfield, a math teacher at Blennerhassett Middle School in West Virginia. Check out his blog at  

Let your child fail.  That was my initial reaction to a recent message that showed up in my inbox.  We live in a “little league” age of celebrating success.  In t-ball, every player gets to bat.  In little league, every player gets a trophy.  I don’t disagree with instructional league rules by any means.  However, at what age does failure begin to have value? I was sitting in a department meeting recently when a district-level administrator asked me if I had analyzed test scores of last year’s students to determine if Khan Academy actually had any effect on those students’ test scores.  I replied honestly, and said that I had only checked on a handful of students’ scores.  But as I continued to ponder her request, I lost my appetite for looking up any more test results.  I realize that no matter what those test results may show, they don’t reveal one of the most important skills being taught in my class.  They might reveal which students learned how to apply the Pythagorean Theorem in a real-life situation, but what is not tested is perhaps the most important.  Tests of that sort do nothing to promote the value of failure. Upon reading that recent message from my inbox, I wanted to shout out “let your child fail.”  The shouting was not due to frustration, rather to be sure that my voice was heard by many.  And when I say fail, I mean fall.  Let them fall.  How can we learn to get back up if we never fall?  Or if someone else always picks us up.  Too often today, students are given every possible opportunity NOT to fail.  But why?  Why are we afraid of failure?  Putting students in frustrating and uncomfortable situations is a tricky part of my job.  I have to find that zone where students are frustrated enough to seek out a solution THEMSELVES.  I hear this a lot, “Well I’ll just get my mom to help me.”  There’s nothing wrong with phoning a friend or a mom.  My message to parents, though, is to let your child fail.  Sometimes teachers put students in a certain situation so they will fail.  Because until they fail, they’ll never seek out that solution themselves.  Tests don’t measure whether a student has developed the fortitude to seek out a solution himself, or whether they’ve developed persistence in problem solving.  Even if a student doesn’t arrive at the correct solution, the journey or the number of attempts is often what is more important.  I always try to make sure that I’ve directed my students to places and opportunities where they can develop, create, or find a solution.  But I try to stop there.  Too often are students lead, directed, and told which solution is correct.  We call it “spoon-feeding”.  And students know all about this.  They know all about it, because it hits them like a brick wall the first time a teacher or parent shrugs their shoulders and refuses to help them at the first sign of adversity.  I want my daughter to be a successful, hard-working citizen.  I know that won’t come without learning to fail, get back up, and seek out a solution.
The picture below is a graph of a student’s last 35 problems on adding/subtracting negative numbers.  You’ll find the number of problems completed at the bottom the bars.  The red bars indicate a wrong answer was inputted first, but eventually the student arrived at the correct answer.  You’ll also see that the student’s longest streak correct was 11.  This particular student has been struggling adding and subtracting negative numbers for quite a while, but has just recently shown some progress.  We’ve exhausted ourselves on learning strategies.  We’ve talked about spending money, owing money, number lines, football plays, temperature, etc.  The student has struggled to find a solution that works consistently enough to stick.  However, it appears the student is finally getting it.  This particular student has learned a lot about persistence in problem solving.  The student has sought out the answer him/herself and used multiple resources along the way.  Consider what this student learned throughout this journey, in addition to learning how to correctly add and subtract negative numbers.  All because she was allowed to fail.


Khan Academy in Spanish!

Last month, Khan Academy launched our Spanish website!  We have been excited to hear from educators, parents, and students about the impact this has had on classrooms and learning around the globe. 

For more details about the newly available resources, read on! 


Spanish-speaking learners can now:

1. Grow with our personalized math experience

Using the new learning dashboard (launched in August), learners receive personalized recommendations on what to work on next, have access to over 100,000 math practice problems, and can track their progress.

2. Explore tutorials in other topics

Our tutorials cover a range of subject areas, including physics, chemistry, biology, art history and more. These tutorials are currently being translated into Spanish.

3. Learn with a mentor

Learners can sign up a parent, mentor, or teacher to help guide their path. These coaches can access real-time dashboards to identify where learners are and where they need help.

If you are a registered user and want to change your language to Spanish, just select “Español” as your preferred language at the bottom of the homepage. Please note that the Spanish website is a work in progress. As Khan Academy creates new content in English (which we do on a daily basis), translators will be working to translate this content to Spanish.

Help us spread the word! Share our Spanish website with Spanish-speaking individuals or educational organizations.

Want to help translate? Apply to become a translator for any language.

¡Khan Academy acaba de lanzar nuestro sitio en Español!

Hay aproximadamente 6 mil millones de personas que no hablan inglés en el mundo. Para proveer recursos libres a cualquier persona en el mundo hemos pasado el último año traduciendo la experiencia que ofrece nuestro sitio a cualquier idioma escrito del mundo.

Con el lanzamiento de la versión del sitio en Español, estamos ahora proporcionando acceso a 500 millones de personas que hablan Español alrededor del mundo. En los siguientes meses y años traduciremos nuestro sitio a otros idiomas.


Las personas que hablan Español ahora pueden:

1. Crecer con nuestra experiencia personalizada en matemáticas.

Usando nuestro nuevo panel de aprendizaje (lanzado en agosto), los estudiantes reciben recomendaciones personalizadas sobre qué trabajar, teniendo acceso a más de 100,000 problemas prácticos de matemáticas y pueden dar seguimiento a su progreso.

2. Explorar tutoriales de otros temas.

Nuestros tutoriales cubren una amplia gama de áreas, incluyendo física, química, biología, historia del arte y más. Estos tutoriales actualmente están siendo traducidos a Español.

3. Aprender con un tutor.

Los estudiantes pueden inscribirse con un tutor o maestro quién le ayudará a guiar su camino. Los tutores pueden acceder a paneles en tiempo real para identificar en donde están los alumnos y donde necesitan ayuda.

Si eres un usuario registrado y quieres cambiar tu idioma a Español, selecciona “Español” en la parte inferior de la página principal. Ten en cuenta que la página en Español es un trabajo en proceso. Como Khan Academy crea nuevo contenido en inglés (lo cual hacemos a diario) los traductores estarán trabajando para traducir estos contenidos al Español.

¡Ayúdanos a difundir ésta noticia! Comparte nuestro sitio en Español con personas u organizaciones educativas de habla hispana.