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Appears in:
Page: 4593 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0209

Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain

INCREASING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT IN MATH: THE STUDY OF KHAN ACADEMY PROGRAM IN CHILE

D. Light

Education Development Center (UNITED STATES)
Khan Academy is an online platform offering educational videos and exercises in various content areas. As a free online learning resource, Khan Academy has awakened intense interest among foundations, multilateral organizations, policy makers, and educators about how this tool can help meet the educational challenges facing countries around the world. For three years, Intel® supported a pilot project using Khan Academy to teach math in Chile overseen by the Centro Costadigital at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso. We conducted ethnographic case studies in five participating schools to see how educators in Chile are using Khan Academy with their students.

Educational policy makers around the globe often talk about Khan Academy with great expectations for deeply transforming teaching and learning, citing the concept of “flipping the classroom,” where students receive direct instruction via video outside school and then work with the teacher doing math in the classroom. What we found in this developing-country context was something less “radical,” than flipping the classroom but just as beneficial for students’ math skills. We found teachers and students using Khan problem sets to practice and reinforce math skills.

The research found interesting ways that teachers blended the Khan Academy resources and online learning practices with existing resources and practices in Chile. Principally, we found teachers using Khan with their students at school, and that these changes were transforming how students engaged with math. We found that students are doing more math in class, they are able to self-regulate their math learning, they are more engaged in math conversations, and assignments are more personalized.

Teachers were using more facilitation along with direct instruction. From the observations and interviews, it was clear that the Khan Academy math resources have been quickly and deeply integrated into these Chilean teachers’ math instruction. In part this is because the resources can be used in ways that easily blends into the teachers’ current pedagogical approaches. Asking students to do Khan Academy exercises made sense to teachers and fits into a common practice of assigning math homework. But, the introduction of Khan Academy pushed teachers to play a different role while in the lab with their students, supporting and facilitating students’ learning rather than practicing a more traditional method of direct instruction. Instead of the teachers being the sole providers of knowledge as students observe them doing math exercises, the students are the ones “doing math” non-stop for 30–40 minutes.

While some critics might emphasize its lack of reform approach as a fault, Khan Academy’s straightforward approach of providing an endless bank of practice exercises may make it a more inviting and universally adaptable tool across different types of teachers, classrooms, and countries. The fact that it does not diverge much from what math teachers already do with their students makes its adoption less intimidating and its integration more feasible. However, the use of Khan Academy may plant the seeds of deeper pedagogical changes, such as mastery learning or differentiated instruction and allowing more student autonomy as well as improving students’ math skills.
@InProceedings{LIGHT2016INC,
author = {Light, D.},
title = {INCREASING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT IN MATH: THE STUDY OF KHAN ACADEMY PROGRAM IN CHILE},
series = {9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-5895-1},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2016.0209},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2016.0209},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {4593}}
TY - CONF
AU - D. Light
TI - INCREASING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT IN MATH: THE STUDY OF KHAN ACADEMY PROGRAM IN CHILE
SN - 978-84-617-5895-1/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2016.0209
PY - 2016
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2016
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2016 Proceedings
SP - 4593
EP - 4593
ER -
D. Light (2016) INCREASING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT IN MATH: THE STUDY OF KHAN ACADEMY PROGRAM IN CHILE, ICERI2016 Proceedings, p. 4593.
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