Khan Academy

Flexible learning environment offers a personalized journey to mastery

Learning rating

Community rating

Based on 113 reviews

Privacy rating

Expert evaluation by Common Sense

Grades

2–12

Subjects & Skills

College & Career Prep, English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Great for

Differentiation

Price: Free
Platforms: Web

Pros: Mastery-focused lessons auto-adapt for each student while continuous assessment gives teachers valuable, real-time data.

Cons: Video instruction may be too fast-paced for some learners; some instruction is delivered only via text.

Bottom Line: A solid, free resource for targeted math and science instruction, test prep, history, and more.

For classroom teachers, Khan Academy is probably best used to introduce, practice, and review content. Though math is the most comprehensively covered subject, teachers focusing on science, history, or economics can teach or supplement full courses with Khan Academy. Math and reading content (in beta as of this review) is organized by course and grade level, so it's easy to target students' instruction for a particular level and skill. Plus, you can set a Course Mastery Goal, which will automatically give kids the practice to help them reach that objective. Use Math: Great Ready Courses to help get kids up to grade level. Class setup is super simple, and Khan Academy integrates with Google Classroom, too. To make the most of Khan Academy’s features, explore the Khan for Educators course located in the teacher dashboard.

Using the site's powerful analytical and adaptive program, you can track students' progress and identify students who may be struggling in certain areas. If students are using Khan Academy during class, take advantage of the real-time reporting. You can stop the class to teach a skill they are all missing, or target the struggling students for some small-group instruction. And if you're working with little kids, you can use Khan Academy Kids to introduce foundational skills and SEL concepts. 

Khan Academy, a free website aimed at promoting self-paced instruction, houses thousands of academic videos that are baked into guided, adaptive instruction. With an initial focus on math, the site now offers courses on a variety of topics in science, economics, history, the arts, language arts, and computing, as well as prep for tests like the SAT and Praxis Core. Course offerings are continually updated and expanded. In response to the pandemic, Khan Academy has added a lot of support for distance learning and homeschool environments.

Students participate in courses, which are broken down into units and lessons. The course structure helps narrow focus on a particular skill or topic, but students are never restricted on the site; they can always access any content that interests them. Teachers can assign work lesson by lesson or set a Course Mastery Goal, in which the students work at their own pace to complete a course by a certain date. Students demonstrate mastery on short assessments throughout the course and by completing the course challenge test. Struggling students can work on prerequisites or use the Math: Get Ready Courses while also working to complete any other grade-level content.

Whether students are exploring on their own, using the site in class, or using it as a resource for homework and test prep, Khan Academy can be a very useful supplement to classroom instruction and discussion. If it's used as a primary source of instruction, note that the videos tend to be more procedural than conceptual. Nevertheless, the site's missions aim to promote more conceptual understanding, as they challenge kids to practice and master skills on their own, using hints and videos as support rather than as the main source of instruction. And nearly every Common Core math standard is addressed at each grade level, making the website a rich resource for standards coverage.

Some great features on the site: You can turn on subtitles within each video, and the full Khan Academy curriculum is available in at least 18 languages. It would be nice, though, if built-in text-to-speech was available for the text-only content. For students with visual impairments, there are a few accessibility options located in account settings. Students can also use the Khan Academy app, which provides access to all courses, plus allows downloads for offline learning. Because its organization and interface is fairly formal and its activities are straightforward, it's unlikely many students will open Khan Academy and be excited to dive in. However, it is truly one of the most comprehensive and targeted free resources available anywhere.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating
Engagement

Self-paced lessons target real-world applications. Videos are simple, casual, and friendly; badges and points motivate without being too childlike. Interface is relatively formal and probably won't thrill kids.

Pedagogy

Interactive exercises promote kids' conceptual knowledge more than videos alone, but not all courses are created equal. Progress tracking for students and teachers is superb.

Support

Most lessons include customized step-by-step solutions and supporting videos. Teacher support resources are comprehensive.

Common Sense reviewer
Melissa Powers
Melissa Powers School Library and Technology Specialist

Community Rating

Khan Academy is the BEST app for MATH teaching and learning available

SELF PACED
some students learn quickly, others more slowly, according to their ability, time, and desire to learn; videos can be paused, rewound, and re-watched
students have to put in consistent daily effort, which is focused, and at the edge of their ability, to continue to improve!
how do teachers encourage students to put in the effort in math??

MASTERY-BASED
students (potentially) achieve 100% mastery of many math topics
to confirm mastery, students/teachers/parents could ask students questions on that topic, to see if they really do have it nailed down
teachers need to follow student progress, and provide small-group lessons to those at the same level / content

CUMULATIVE
a record of student mastery in the “world of math” is visible in their profiles
want to know what they know and don’t know in math? it’s all there!
excellent metrics for teachers, to track progress, and identify “gaps” in learning, to signal need for remediation
if several students have same gap, small-group instruction

IMMEDIATE FEEDBACK
students know whether questions are right or wrong right away
unlike pencil/paper assessment, which may be returned much later
step-by-step hints, or instructional videos, are provided below every question

SPIRALING
students are doing work from number sense, measurement, geometry, algebra, and data & probability … all “strands” of math … on rotation → no need to plan a complicated spiraled curriculum, it’s all done for you.
less planning for teachers, and more time to focus one-on-one attention to students
teachers don’t have to say “textbook page 121, numbers 1-3, 5a-f anymore!
math class starts … “OK everyone, open Khan, and pick up where you left off!”

POINTS! COLOUR CODED!
kids enjoy the motivation of the points they accumulate, badges, avatars, etc
it’s easy to follow the steps, b/c videos AND exercises are colour coded for understanding

FIND MISTAKES
some exercises include “find the mistake”, and students have to go through and check the work to find mistakes … sometimes there are none! Very smart.

Next step - kids make up their OWN questions, and solve them!
easy to get parents on board → KA is helpful from pre-K through university … and life!
if students learn to use KA well, it can be helpful to them today, high school, university, and more (mortgages, interest rates, history, etc)
getting to know ONE TOOL WELL
instead of introducing students to many different platforms, learning to use one, high quality, platform well could be beneficial to their learning

NO cost, NO ads, mission “to provide a FREE, world class education, to anyone anywhere”
the content is high quality - good descriptions, easy to listen to and follow
the platform is well-funded, and not likely going anywhere anytime soon
students can continue to use this for the rest of their lives

PRIVACY is top notch.

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Privacy Rating

Data Safety How safe is this product?

  • Users can interact with trusted users.
  • Users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
  • Profile information must be shared for social interactions.

Data Rights What rights do I have to the data?

  • Users can create or upload content.
  • Users retain ownership of their data.
  • Processes to access or review user data are available.

Ads & Tracking Are there advertisements or tracking?

  • Personal information is shared for third-party marketing.
  • Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
  • Personalised advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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