A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Khan Academy is an educational YouTube channel with videos that teach viewers about multiple learning subjects at many different levels. The exceptional content is taught by educators using electronic tools that allow them to illustrate science, history, math, and other concepts as they lecture. They're informal and engaging, and there's great value in the ability to back up and watch certain parts multiple times until the concept is understood. Khan Academy's content is a wonderful and inspiring resource for teachers, parents, and students of all ages. We recommend parent co-viewing of Youtube content for kids under 13. Please note: Our reviewers watch between 1-2 hours of content to determine the general appropriateness of each YouTube channel. Some channels contain more variety within their content than others; we do our best to capture the channel’s overall subject and tone to help parents make the best choices for their family.
What's the story?
KHAN ACADEMY is a YouTube channel featuring video lectures on educational subjects including science, math, history, grammar, and even standardized test preparation from the nonprofit organization of the same name. Instructors -- oftentimes Khan Academy's creator, Sal Khan, himself -- use electronic blackboards and other on-screen visual aids to illustrate the topic of each lecture and to emphasize instruction and show sample work. The videos are of various lengths, with more involved topics spanning multiple videos.
Is it any good?
Khan's groundbreaking endeavor is a tremendous boon to teachers, students, parents, and lifelong learners alike. The videos are concise and engaging and use interactive (for the lecturer, that is) visual tools reminiscent of what today's students and educators are used to in the classroom. Lecturers aren't visible on the screen, so there's no distraction from the subject matter at hand, and there's nothing flowery or embellished about the instruction. They get straight to the point teaching specific concepts and skills with verbal instruction and visual reinforcement, covering subjects from the preschool level through advanced studies.
What Khan does add to some of the lessons are gentle but firm reminders of the value of learning and of the topic at hand in particular. He's a natural educator and clearly aims to not only teach the three Rs but also inspire students of any age to unlock their unique potential. The Khan Academy channel also includes videos designed specifically for the purpose of promoting learning itself (always great reminders, if not exactly must-see TV for students) and studying the learning process. Whether it's used to teach new concepts or to reinforce students' efforts at school, Khan Academy gets high marks for its usefulness and caliber of content.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the content is presented in these learning videos. Does the lecturer explain things in a way that makes sense to you? Is it frustrating that you can't ask questions of the teacher?
Why is lifelong learning important? What subjects interest you most? Can you see using these interests to inspire a career?
In what ways has technology like the internet vastly improved our way of life? Before tools like this, how would you have had to find additional information about a certain subject? On the other hand, does our reliance on technology have any drawbacks?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.