By Julia Gitis and Jeremy Schifeling
We applaud you for the mountains you moved last year to keep learning going during the pandemic, for the new tools you learned to keep up with remote learning, for the ways you’ve gone above and beyond for the students in your communities, for how you’re adapting to a new school year unlike any school year before, and for the feedback you’ve continued to give us here at Khan Academy on how we can improve our platform to better meet your needs.
Our founder and CEO, Sal Khan, has a welcome back message for you as you go into the new school year:
Even though it’s been a year of limited resources for us, we are excited to share five improvements to our platform that we have launched for you:
1) New content!
As always, we are working hard to bring you and your students new and updated content. During last year, we launched new courses like Get ready for AP Calculus and Get ready for AP Statistics; “Get ready” courses contain prerequisite content carefully chosen to support students with AP and grade-level topics. Our High school statistics course is revamped and better aligned with Common Core high school statistics and probability standards. Our Precalculus course has an updated unit structure that spirals through key topics like trigonometry and inverse functions, helping students see how precalculus topics connect to one another.
We have lots of great new content in Art history, World history, AP Biology, and AP Chemistry. Speaking of science, we have been putting a lot of muscle into expanding our science offerings with brand-new courses on High school biology, High school physics, AP Environmental science, and AP Physics 1. We hope you think of us as a go-to place for science just like you do for math! Plus, our Grammar course has been fully revamped with improved exercise hints and feedback. And for our teachers in India, we have wonderful new content in Class 12 math and Class 12 physics. Whether you teach these subjects or can recommend them to a friend, remember that Khan Academy offers instructional and daily practice resources across an increasing range of subjects and grades.
2) Long-awaited Assignments functionality
We value the feedback you’ve given us about improving our Assignments feature. We are happy to announce three updates that teachers like you have requested. First, you now have the ability to schedule assignments for future dates. You can plan your class’s Khan work in advance, and students won’t see the assignment until it’s time. Second, you can now change the due dates and start dates on multiple assignments at once. This makes it easier for you to make adjustments to your Khan assignments. And finally, when new students join your class, they will now be automatically added to any active assignments. Wahoo! We hope these updates will make your lives easier as you continue to use Assignments for daily practice.
3) New avatars for students
We understand that keeping our product engaging for your students is a high priority, so we made some fun updates for your students, too. We updated our avatars and our profile header backgrounds. Cacteye and Boggle are our personal faves. We think they’re pretty cute! Teachers can see the avatars if they go to their Learner home. And we’re just getting started: we are continuing to listen to your suggestions about ways to engage your students in online learning.
4) Updated Teacher Training
We know you’re looking for more support in how to most effectively use Khan Academy. We’re thrilled to invite you to our free and updated professional development course, Khan for Educators. This course is a one-stop shop for any questions you have about how to use Khan Academy, including our pedagogical tips on mastery learning, how to use Assignments, Course Mastery, and more. You’ll earn badges for each unit you complete, or complete the entire course to receive a course certificate! And Khan for Educators now includes a series of new videos where you can hear implementation tips from real teachers who use Khan Academy. If you’ve ever been curious about how teachers motivate students or leverage Khan videos, this is your chance to get advice directly from your peers!
5) Help getting started
And finally, we are excited to show more Help resources directly in the teacher dashboard. When teachers log in, they will see a resource module with tips on how to get started and use Khan Academy. These tips highlight relevant articles and videos in our Khan for Educators course. This resources module will help new and returning teachers get the support they need to get comfortable and confident using Khan Academy.
It hasn’t been an easy year, but we’re proud of the work we’ve been able to do together. Thank you for continuing to invite us into your classrooms. We hope you enjoy these new features, and we wish you a happy back-to-school season.
Julia and Jeremy, on behalf of the Khan Academy team