Teacher Review for Khan Academy

Video lecture series summarizing points in United States History

Lisa B.
Classroom teacher
Hershey Middle School
Hershey, United States
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects Social Studies
My Rating
Learning Scores
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Further application
Knowledge gain
Great with Advanced learners
How I Use It
Videos that aligned with curriculum could be used for classroom extensions, homework, or for students who are absent from class. Teachers can check to see what the students have watched and how they have progressed through lessons. After watching videos, if you click on your profile there are suggested follow up videos. Students who were interested in something they saw have easy access to additional information in the follow up videos; so after watching videos about World War II to Vietnam, suggested videos were on Communism and Pattern of U.S. Cold War Interventions. A disadvantage to having students view independently is the inconsistency of point distribution. I paused one video because a point was unclear, after going back a thirty seconds to rewatch, I lost all my viewing points for the video. After completing the video, the progress bar showed it as unwatched. To get credit for watching the video, I played it a second time with the volume muted, while working on something else on my computer. Students who are actively trying to watch and understand the videos could be penalized for their diligence, but I could earn the points while playing a computer game in another tab. As a teacher, I would need to have a secondary check in place for ensuring the students watched, like a 3-2-1 Chart.
My Take
"The United States overview history lessons were told with a good storytelling tone. This initially was engaging and held my attention. There were images that captured my attention, but I could not click or manipulate the visuals in any way to enhance the understanding. The majority of the videos in the series were over 10 minutes long. That was too long to maintain my attention through the rapid fire of historical events. The video Reconstruction to the Great Depression has a lot of rambling with added the repetitive use of um to detract from the flow history lesson. The lesson WWII to Vietnam had some questionable geographical graphics, if you are talking about major wars in Korea and Vietnam those should be clearly and accurately identified on a map. The video for Capitalism was mostly opinion based, which Khan admitted, but all scholars would not agree upon the facts or statements. I wanted the videos to be more interactive. There is no question that the videos have a traditional lecture tone. With the quick and sporadic overview of historical events, it is not surprising that viewers have questions or need additional clarification. There was a robust user base that answered the questions of viewers below the videos. This is a good use of crowdsourcing and ranking the comments. However, some of the viewer comments were more useful than others. A highly ranked comment was directions for how the user could play the game snake over the video. I am disappointed that there was no feedback to the viewer other than the point system and no checks for understanding. These would increase the educational or learning value."