Thursday, 22 January 2015

'Khan Academy Maths - Learners Reality' by Microsoft #MIEExpert from South Africa, Mabore Lelakala

imageThis is a guest post from Mabore Lekalakale of South Africa’s Microsoft MiE Experts for 2015. Please follow Mabore on Twitter. 

The reality is that Mathematics is not real to learners, it is strange until one makes sense of it. I am saying this because only few concepts can easily be made real to learners. It is possible though to make Mathematics learners’ real life. With Khan Academy, Mathematics can become learners’ reality. Let us look into this scenario. Imagine a new, very complex but interesting game introduced to kids. Reality is that the complexity of the game makes it strange and unrealistic to kids who are new to it, but to those who are used to it, it is their reality. Obviously the new won’t enjoy it the same way the old do. Frequent exposure to the game plus motivation will make the game simple and enjoyable and ultimately it will become learners’ reality.

What is the Khan Academy?
MYSTERY SOLVED with learning Mathematics on Khan Academy which is also one of the Microsoft Educator Network Free Tools. No matter the weirdness of Mathematics, Khan Academy makes it real to learners. Khan Academy is interesting, interactive and motivating. The more learners work on it, the more Mathematics becomes real, simple and understandable. The Khan Academy can be accessed at: https://www.khanacademy.org/
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Learners starts working from Mission warm up exercises to challenges i.e. simple to complex. They get hints and watch videos whenever they get stuck. With our overcrowded classrooms, as teachers we are unable to give learners individual attention and instant feedback with a smile every day. Khan Academy addresses individualised learning and gives timeous and consistent feedback to stakeholders, learners, teachers and parents.

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How and where can be accessed?
· From Microsoft Educator Network Free tools
· Install it from App store
· From Search Engine

Grade 5 learners at Toronto Primary School is using Khan Academy


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Challenges
Foreseen problems with Khan Academy is its US based context. Learners cope quite well with this barrier as Maths is all about working with numbers using a particular LOLT (language of learning). Learners get chance to know about other learners context the quarter dollars, dime and nickels which could form part of their collaboration. Things to consider prior to using it in your classrooms include connectivity to network, availability of devices, creating learners accounts, lessons preparation and parental involvement

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Advantages
a) Timeous feedback encourages learners to keep practising

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b) Hints and videos whenever learners are stuck

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 Benefits to Education
· Not replacing the teacher
· Differentiated learning
· Learning everywhere; at home, school, travelling
· Learning Inside and outside the classrooms
· Cheaper
· Learners cover syllabus
· Extended learning
· Feedback given
 
Khan Academy makes a difference, I recommend it for learning and teaching to all; parents, teachers and learners. It is learners’ reality.

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