In mathematical language, a transformation changes a form without changing its value. If that doesn’t mean much to you, let Sal explain it to you in a short video complete with examples and diagrams. Salman (Sal) Khan is the founder of Khan Academy, an online academy that offers math, science, art, and other courses free of charge. Though there are no English grammar classes yet, students seeking to sharpen their skills can still benefit from the academy’s offerings.
Khan Academy helps prepare students to take many of the standardized exams required for higher education in the United States. One of these exams, the SAT, assesses “academic readiness for college” and tests students’ reading and writing skills. Anyone, even those not taking the test, can benefit from the videos, exercises, and full-length practice exams offered by Khan Academy in partnership with the College Board, the creators of the SAT. In one video, Sal addresses a sample question from the grammar section of the writing exam. In less than two minutes, he shows how to pick out the essential information to decide if the sentence is grammatically correct or requires modification. Students are no longer limited to preparing for the SAT by taking a paper sample exam and checking their answers with a key. With Sal’s videos, they learn why a particular answer is the correct one and the process that Sal followed to arrive at the right conclusion.
One of the most intimidating aspects of applying to a college can be the admissions essay. Khan Academy features a twelve-video series to help students write essays with confidence. The series opens with videos about how to write compelling essays, mistakes to avoid, how to brainstorm, and how to “take your college essay to the next level.” Actual admissions officers give feedback on sample essays in two videos. The series closes with writing tips and real-life stories from student applicants. One student commented, “This really helped. I was working on an essay as I read it. I made some changes based on this article.” For this student, Khan Academy was like a writing coach that guided him during the creative process.
One of Khan Academy’s missions is to offer free education “for everyone.” Language advocates are a huge part of making this possible. Advocates are volunteers who translate Sal’s videos into their native languages or caption the videos with subtitles so that people the world over can enjoy the valuable lessons. Translators gain professional experience while helping an important cause. Rumor has it that Khan Academy plans to add English to its course catalog. Volunteers to review new grammar content, such as articles, quizzes, and videos, are signing up now.
Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization focused on making education accessible to all students. Did you learn what a transformation means in mathematical language from Sal’s video? Video technology and the Internet are now making it possible to share quality education with a wider scope of students. Like Room to Read, Khan Academy is changing how students in poor or remote areas receive their education. What other noteworthy nonprofit is impacting the educational community? Please check back next month to find out.