Media, Culture & Society 21015
3 August 2012
Khan Academy: A Potential for Revolution
New media technologies have placed virtually unlimited amounts of data and knowledge into the hands of anyone possessing internet access and an inquisitive mind. Tools such as search engines and sites such as YouTube can serve as new mediums for education. Whether it is through data-mining on Google or learning a new skill on YouTube, the internet has ushered in an era of individualized education.
Salman Amin “Sal” Khan, a retired hedge fund analyst holding three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, has developed a method to formalize individualized education. Khan Academy serves as an online education supplement, possessing a library of over 3300 educational videos, varying in subjects such as math, science and history. Sal Khan’s brain child, Khan Academy, educates millions of people around the globe, recently earning Sal a spot on TIME Magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World” 2012 edition. Anyone can visit Khan Academy on the web and witness Sal’s uncanny ability to make the most complex topics comprehendible first hand as he immerses viewers in a one-to-one tutoring session through his brief, digestible videos. This paper attempts to explain why Khan Academy has boomed exponentially in popularity and examine the current and potential impact of Khan Academy both domestically and globally.
Khan Academy could not have sprouted from humbler roots. In August of 2004, Sal began to virtually tutor his cousin, Nadia, through Yahoo Doodle, software that allowed Nadia to see Sal write out equations in real time (*Khan Academy). After learning that Nadia’s school work had significantly improved with Sal’s assistance, other family members flocked to Sal for help. As time elapsed, Sal found it difficult to schedule times to tutor his various family members. Thus, in 2006, Sal decided to record...