Free educational materials will, at minimum, prepare more people for college and allow them to be more successful once they get there. Most students want credentials that employers respect, and free educational materials alone will not do this.
I think history shows us that there is not one credible credential that has come from the for-profit reality, and that is because the for-profit reality is inherently motivated to maximize the level of people that take it.
I'd like to see a reality where, if someone wants to work when they turn 18 to help support their family, and they learn at their own pace on something like the Khan Academy or other things, that they can just, on their own, get a bunch of the credits they need just by testing out of things.
There is too much acceptance of people saying, 'I am a math person, or I am an artsy person.' It makes me cringe.
By early 2009, tens of thousands of students were watching tutorials on the Khan Academy every day. The software I wrote for my cousins had become so popular, it was making my $50-a-month web host crash. The possibilities surrounding the academy were so exciting that I had trouble doing my day job properly. And soon, I quit.
Something happens in school sometimes where you're like, 'Oh, I'm not an expert, and I have to defer to people who are.' And it happens not just in school: it happens in religion, too. Defer to the experts. A printing press is a big deal - they got the Bible, and all of a sudden they could read it for themselves.
One cannot be dogmatic about the right solution.
It's definitely important to have a vision, to have kind of a sense of what might be possible, but not to be dogmatic about your beliefs about the way something has to be done.
Kids and adults alike are having their curiosity drained away by boredom in class or the workplace, and by the unremitting background noise of a dumbed-down pop culture.
We want to make access to a world-class education like clean drinking water or electricity.
In Idaho, we hope to see educators using Khan Academy to individualize their instruction. Instead of a one-size-fits-all lesson, teachers will be able to focus their attention on specific students who are struggling while the rest of the class engages with material appropriate for them.
I see no reason why there still are large lectures in universities throughout the world. When people gather, they should be interactive, problem-solving, and experimenting; not passively listening.
As my kids grow up, I think a lot about the lessons and values I want to impart to them. More than any particular skill or even financial support, I believe perseverance and resilience will serve them best, regardless of what curveball life inevitably throws them.
I am personally an idealist. I was lucky enough to follow my dreams in my own life, so you should definitely follow your dreams.
When I used to try and describe what the Khan Academy was, I would tell people that if it were a for-profit, I would be on the cover of 'Forbes.'
Education has to be more than tests and formulas.
I realized that there are many people who are very good students, but they think of themselves as bad students. At the end of the day, what they are really missing is way to understand where their gaps are and a way to address those gaps.
If a student has access to a great school, Khan Academy can supercharge it. It should help a well-resourced school, and if you don't have that, then Khan Academy can have even a bigger impact. But I don't see it as replacing the actual schools... we want to empower teachers and fill in the gaps.
To be clear, people are the most important part of any classroom. If given the choice between a great teacher and the world's most advanced education technology, I'd pick the teacher any day for my own children.
All too often, technology is treated as a silver bullet for perceived problems in education. This sometimes leads to knee-jerk investments, using scarce resources to invest in software or hardware without a clear notion of how either might actually empower learning.