Another great technology resource that I have recently revisited is Khan Academy. Khan Academy is an amazing educational platform with a large variety of topics. They are literally revolutionizing education and have achieved amazing results in a short amount of time.
Recently they released an update to the iPad app which in my opinion greatly improves the service. While using Khan Academy in the past I would mostly use it from my desktop and believe that my usage dropped as more of my activities moved to my iPad. The updated Khan Academy iPad app changes this. I can now watch learning videos whenever I have my iPad which is pretty much all the time and everywhere.
One of the best aspects of Khan Academy is the wide variety of information available on their service. They have a number of excellent interviews with entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman, and Richard Branson among others. Beyond my entrepreneurial interests, I have begun exploring biology on Khan Academy. Khan Academy also provides a great way to revisit earlier learning such as in math, science, and humanities.
Another great aspect of Khan Academy is the gamification elements. In my opinion this is one of the most sticky elements of the service. Khan Academy provides points for making progress such as watching videos or successfully completing mastery challenges. Badges are also allocated for meeting certain milestones. The accumulation of points and badges allows for the building of a learning profile of sorts. Khan Academy also sends a weekly e-mail highlighting learning progress and distance from your next objective. Khan Academy is engaged learning at it’s best.
Screenshots highlighting select Khan Academy features are provided below. These were captured from the Khan Academy iOS app.
The first is the dashboard when you enter the app. As shown you can learn anything from Khan Academy, or at least nearly anything.
Next are additional topics and services provided by Khan Academy. My recent interests include Entrepreneurship (obviously) and Biology. As shown, Khan Academy also offers Test Prep and Partner Content.
Khan Academy offers great Entrepreneurship content. The interviews are casual and candid and really highlight the challenges and experiences of entrepreneurship. Each interview thus far has offered new insights and a unique perspective relating to entrepreneurship.
At the moment I am making my way through the Cellular and Molecular Biology lessons.
The following is a screen capture from the Organelle Overview lesson. A majority of the Khan Academy video lessons are accomplished through demonstration on an electronic blackboard. A transcript of each lesson is also available.
One of the most intriguing aspects from the Organelle Overview lesson – Cells may have formed over time through the collaboration of once independent prokaryotes. Consider the following:
“And so mitochondria and plastids generally are fascinating because it is believed, because they have their own DNA and they can replicate themselves, that it’s believed that their ancestors were once independent prokaryotes. And at some point these independent prokaryotes started to get together and into a membrane-bound structure started to work together in symbiosis. And that kind of collaborative of these prokaryotes working together is believed to be the predecessor of, say, many modern cells that contain these structures.”
This led me to consider – could the same thing be happening on a global level now? As increasing numbers of individuals join the online global community will their collective work serve to evolve the human race as a species? Just as collaboration of once independent prokaryotes served to evolve life on our planet, so to may the collaboration of independent humans serve to evolve the life and conditions on our planet. If so, Khan Academy may be one step in that direction. As individuals gain increased knowledge through services such as Khan Academy, a human or even global evolution may occur.
Basically the ability to explore outside of one’s regular interests is a valuable aspect of Khan Academy. Would I purchase a specialized text and revisit biology principles? Probably not. Would I take five minutes to watch a video? Absolutely. Life experience provides an individual with a new perspective on previously learned subjects and increases their value over time.
Image Credit: Khan Academy