Khan isn’t satisfied with being the most famous teacher ever to appear on a Web browser. He believes he has stumbled onto a solution to some of education’s most intractable problems, with his video-driven teaching method at its heart. He wants to fundamentally change the role of teachers in the classroom–and redefine the concept of homework along the way. And he has persuaded Bill Gates, Google’s Eric Schmidt and a minor constellation of other tech billionaires to back this quest.
Khan’s ideas have attracted millions of dollars in grant funding.
Khan is using the money to transform the academy from his own personal YouTube channel into an educational nonprofit with Silicon Valley start-up DNA. The goal: to create a complete educational approach–with video lectures, online exercises, badges to reward student progress, an analytics dashboard for teachers to track that progress and more–that can be integrated into existing classrooms or serve as a stand-alone virtual school for anyone wanting to learn something new.
Now Khan Academy has 32 employees and is being used in nine schools in the Los Altos school district and 16 other schools in California. The organization estimates that Khan lessons are also used unofficially at nearly 2,000 schools around the U.S., effectively making Khan Academy the largest blended-learning experiment in the nation.