This year I am teaching Algebra 1, Algebra 1 Advanced, and Geometry. I find Khan Academy to be a useful review tool in all these courses. I usually choose 3-4 topics and assign them to a specific class with a due date near the end of the unit. I believe my students are more likely to complete Khan if I remind them regularly, if the workload is reasonable, and if I give them a week or so to complete the assignments. Khan lets them retry the assignment as many times as they want, and I record only the highest grade. It’s also helpful if the students start the assignments in class, sometimes after an assessment on the laptop cart. Students are also using Khan on their smartphones.
If you’re just dipping your toe into the Khan water, relax. It’s pretty easy. Here’s how you can start. (And if you’re already a seasoned Khan user, you can skip this part.)
- First, create a class. All you really need to do is name the class (Geometry Pd. 1) and write down the class code. You don’t have to send your students an email or add them individually – it’s much simpler than that.
- Make sure your students are signed into their Google accounts , and have them go to khanacademy.org.
- By clicking “Continue with Google,” students will automatically be linked to their school account, password, etc. It’s the best! No new passwords to remember.
- Students can join your class by clicking “Add a Coach” or “Add a Class” and typing in your class code. I usually project the live Khan roster on the whiteboard so students can see whether or not they’ve joined successfully.
- The first day, they need time to explore the site, play around with the features, and if they complete any topics, they’ll start earning energy points. I’d allow 10-20 minutes for exploration and the investment will pay off in the long run. I don’t assign any topics the first day, just let them click around at their own pace.
Tips for Beginners
To make your life easier, here are a few tips I picked up along the way.
- If a student doesn’t complete the Khan assignments by the due date, they can still find the assignments under “Assignments” and then “Past.”
- I give my students a 10 point grade for each assignment. These are under “Assignments” then “Completed.” If you click on the number (i.e. 12/16), Khan will show you all the scores. I haven’t figured out an easier way to find the scores.
- Make sure the students’ names are their username, which keeps them in alphabetical order by the first initial of their last name. For example, Smithj20 instead of John Smith. You can always change their name in the roster.
- If a student gets lost on the Khan website, they should click KHANACADEMY at the top center of the page. It will always bring you back home.
- There is a push for students to spend a lot of time on Khan Academy and in turn, it will improve their SAT scores. I’ve tried to encourage my freshmen to “spend time on Khan” but I’m not convinced they know how to do that. The topic-specific assignments have worked very well for me.
I still have questions like, “Can I add my co-teacher as a coach in my class?” “Where do I find individual results for students’ assignments?” There’s plenty more for me to learn, but I’m satisfied with my implementation of the site, and I’ll continue blending Khan into my math classroom.