Salman Khan – Teaching It The Khan Academy Way

Sep 18, 2012 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Cover Story

All of us, adults and youngsters alike, have a special corner in our hearts for superheroes from the world of comics such as Iron Man and Batman. We really appreciate the way they fight for, and spread the light of good in darkness. Following the same path, there are ordinary people, amongst us, who are no less than superheroes of our world. One of them is Salman Khan, a zealous educator and founder of the Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org), a free on-line education website and a non-profit organization, which is spreading the light of education, all over the world. Covering all kinds of subjects the site mainly focuses on mathematics and science.

Born in 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, Salman Khan was a bright student right from the start. Due to his high level of intelligence and intellect, he got into Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT) after finishing high school. The degree of this apparent simpleton’s brilliance can be observed by the fact that he graduated from MIT with no less than 3 degrees (B.S in Mathematics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences). From the same university, he also did MS in Computer Sciences and Electrical Engineering. Exhibiting versatility, he also attended the Harvard Business School and got an MBA degree. After attending these top universities, he began working as a hedge fund analyst before leaving the job in late 2009.

Now what could be the reason for quitting such a great job? Ordinary people would prefer a 9-to-5 job and just clamber on in life from there, however, Salman Khan was destined to do something extraordinary in his life. The idea of teaching and on-line education struck him out of nowhere. It all started when he started tutoring his cousin, Nadia, over the internet by using Yahoo!’s Doodle Notepad in 2004. When other relatives and friends began taking his help in a number of subjects, Salman thought that it would be beneficial to post videos of his tutorials on Youtube. Producing 10-minute videos of his math tutorials in 2004, he began posting them. As the number of views increased fast, Salman decided to continue posting videos. After quitting his job, as a hedge fund analyst, in 2009, he started developing his Youtube channel, Khan Academy, with the help of a friend named Josh Gefner. Since 2004, he has posted about 2000 tutorials based on different concepts of sciences and mathematics, and each of his videos has got more than 20,000 hits. The channel gathered around 33,000 in a small amount of time after it was created. Salman also developed a website for the Khan Academy, which has had around 45 million views to date. He plans to increase the number of subjects which he teaches on his website.

Through his concise, practical and relaxed teaching method, he has been able to attract a lot of students from around the world. Salman Khan has introduced a novel method of delivering education. His idea is that teachers should provide students with video tutorials, which they would watch at home and then do the homework in the classroom with the teacher available to help. His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed and he has been featured on such salient platforms as CNN, the Colbert Report and PBS NewsHour. Recently, he was included in the annual list of the ‘100 most influential people’, published by the Time magazine. Prominent people such as Bill Gates are inspired by his approach to teaching.

Working out of a walk-in closet at his home in Silicon Valley, Salman Khan plans to create a web of education, with a small amount of resources, which will cover all portions of the world, even the most remote places like Africa, and curtail illiteracy. On his own, this individual has indeed achieved a lot in a short span of time, surely a superhuman feat by many standards. Truly reflecting his greatness, here’s what Salman said regarding his contribution:

“With so little effort on my own part, I can empower an unlimited amount of people for all time. I can’t imagine a better use of my time.”

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1 Comment + Add Comment

  • the videos have been really really helpful to me. they are interactive, interesting and easily understandable :)

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