1 516 lessons and counting

| September 21, 2010

Sal Khan earned a Computer Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from Harvard, and used to be a hedge fund analyst.

These days – with no formal teaching credentials – he runs the not-for-profit Khan Academy from his small ranch house in Mountain View, California, and is one of YouTube’s latest sensations. He has compiled 1 516 video lectures on a variety of topics from vector calculus to the Napoleonic wars using a US$200 Camtasia Recorder, an US$80 Wacom Bamboo Tablet, and SmoothDraw3 software on a home PC.

Khan says he is teaching the way he wishes he had been taught, and his taped lectures are garnering huge appeal: they’re viewed 70 000 times every day by students all over the globe. His website has recorded more than 16 million page views since inception in 2006. Khan is also able to draw a regular salary, courtesy of venture capitalists such as John Doerr, who just invested US$100 000. Another investor says he believes that conventional higher education is ready to be revolutionised by alternative thinkers like Khan.

Khan does his homework, and calls experts when he’s stumped by a tricky problem. He believes in bite-sized lessons, a conversational approach and instant feedback. He wants to rid the world of stuffy textbooks, crowded lecture halls and staid teaching styles, instead offering a portable education solution accessible to students anywhere.

Says fan Derek Hoy, studying Geological Science and Geophysics at the University of Queensland in Australia: “I learned more about calculus in the last few hours than in the whole of the last semester at university.”

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Category: e-Education, Spring 2010 Edition

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