The O’Sullivan Foundation’s support will be used to lay the foundation for three major initiatives:
- growing the faculty of the Khan Academy;
- extending the content to include crowd-sourced contributions; and
- developing curricula for a blended physical and virtual academic experience.
Many, including myself, wondered if Sal Khan would remain the main voice of Khan Academy, writing and narrating all of the video lessons. According to the press release, this is not his intent at all.
“The answer is a resounding no. We’re simply looking for unique voices that get traction and engage with students. As we expand our faculty, we’ll enable more teachers to share their enthusiasm with kids everywhere.”
Just two weeks ago, Khan Academy announced that the faculty was joined by the two founders of SmartHistory, Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris, and the goal with the new grant is to grow the faculty to at least five full-time-equivalent teachers and extending the range of subjects taught from primary STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) to the arts and humanities.
The second use for the grant is the creation of a crowd-sourced content management and curation system for the Khan Academy. The goal is to enable teachers around the world to share their own content outside of the institutions they are teaching in and it will give the Khan Academy more data through the the tools and analytics the platform is providing.
The third use of the O’Sullivan Foundation grant will be in the development of a testbed for physical programs and K-12 curricula. As online learning is only a part of the bigger picture for Khan and the O’Sullivan Foundation, they want to test new forms of learning and curricula during a summer camp in Northern California. Parents, who are interested in letting their children participate starting in June 2012 can sign up at: http://www.khanacademy.org/r/summercamp
The real-world testbed will make projects, simulations and explorations that create a fully compelling blended learning experience between the virtual and physical worlds.