With a library of over 3,000 videos, Khan Academy has helped pave the way in online education. And now, they’re taking their lessons to the next level, getting ready to launch their iPad app that Fast Company says will appear “any minute now in Apple’s store.” An even bigger assertion? “The free iPad app could possibly replace or supplement textbooks.” Considering we’re now living in the age of the “digital classroom,” however, that statement might not be too far from the truth.
Through the Khan Academy iPad app, users will be able to time-sync between devices — no Internet connection required — allowing for lectures to be more easily searched and jumped through. The app will remember where students left off viewing and can sync that progress between devices. And, just like a textbook, users will be able to flip back and forth between different parts of the material. Videos can then be accessed on a bus with finicky Internet on a device that’s portable and convenient to carry around.
With more and more schools adopting iPads, this app could also have a hand in the “flipped classroom,” where students watch lectures at home and then complete assignments collaboratively in class with a teacher present. “The teacher is free to do a lot more of the human interaction,” said Shantanu Sinha, Khan Academy’s president, to Fast Company.
“Very often, students who thought they were horrible in math, who were labeled bad in math by schools … in many cases, they were just struggling with a very specific topic,” Sinha said. “Without the ability to explore lectures at home, struggling students were left behind as teachers progressed through the lesson plan. But, when students could focus on problem areas at their own pace, they could overcome weaknesses and catch back up with the class.”
While the first version of the Khan Academy iPad app won’t include the visualization tools and exercises that a flipped classroom would need, the team does plan on incorporating them into future iterations.
Founder Salman Khan, who has three degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard, has certainly come a long way from his first YouTube videos. With each development, he’s helped the team get closer to their goal of providing a “free world-class education to anyone anywhere.” What could be next?
Photos courtesy of Fast Company