Common Sense Review
Updated May 2014

Khan Academy: Biology

Video-only resource has solid biology content, not as much zing
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This module is part of the Website Khan Academy.
Common Sense Rating 3
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  • The homepage has links to eight biology units, each showing the number of included videos.
  • Users can track what they’ve viewed with points earned; red circles denote completed videos.
  • The Closed Captioning isn't always accurate.
  • Standouts include the two series on Genetics and Human History, produced by 23andMe.
Christie Thomas
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
How Can Teachers Use It?

Biology teachers will be able to use some of these content-rich, pre-made lectures but should probably give the videos a quick preview. Some of the videos will fit right in with your curriculum, while others won't be the right fit for every student. The (sometimes) slow pace and handwritten screens could cause some students' eyes to glaze over. However, some of the videos here, especially those on evolution and genetics, could work as solid stand-ins for kids who miss class or simply want a review resource. Other topics -- for example, the details in the photosynthesis unit -- go beyond a typical high school level; these might work as an extension for more advanced students but won't help everyone.

Without the tasks and quizzes that accompany Khan's math videos, you'll need to supply kids with learning content that goes beyond just sitting and watching. Of course, it's great if students watch ahead of time, on their own; this way, class can be focused on questions, points of confusion, and activities that support learning. If using a flipped model, have your students make outlines, take Cornell Notes, or answer teacher-made questions to help them stay focused. You could even have your students use a shared Google doc to compile the class's collective understanding.

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