Friday, April 20, 2012

Khan Academy

Stono River Near Charleston, SC
32 45.51 N 080 00.55 W

My friend Walt tipped my off about www.khanacademy.org/.  It is a site where this man, Sal Khan , posted more than 3000 ten minute videos about school subjects.  Need to learn calculus?  Go there.  Economics? Humanities?  You name it, he has it.  It is a brilliant and wonderful idea.   Part of the secret he stumbled upon is that 10 minutes at a time is about what most people are able to concentrate and learn.  If schools could practically arrange lectures in 10 minute chunks, they would be more effective.

I watched one of the videos out of curiosity.  It was really good.  That whetted my appetite. What study program could I take?   I already have most of what is on his list.  One subject stood out -- chemistry.  In college I generally had good marks but I only managed a D in freshman chemistry.  It almost flunked me out because of it.  I worked hard at it, but I just didn't get it.

Now I've watched nearly 100 Khan videos on chemistry.  Not only do I get it now, but I also discovered why I failed so badly in college chemistry.  Somehow, in college I never understood the mole or Avogadro's number.  I knew what they were, but not what they were used for.  No wonder I did poorly. I was lucky to get a D rather than a F.  Those are very fundamental and important things, used in countless ways in chemistry.  Thank you Sol Khan .

Maybe you might enjoy learning or re-learning some basic stuff.  Try http://www.khanacademy.org/  It's free. Also recommend it to your friends or relatives.  Kids having trouble with a particular point in school, can go there and find the specific video on their trouble topic.

2 comments:

  1. You could go to the farmers market tomorrow morning next to the old Citadel. If you do, be sure to look up Ashley Harwood working her lathe and buy some of the flavored goat cheese spreads. We'd love to be back in Charleston!

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  2. My visit to Kahn Academy per your suggestion reminded me of why the world was spared one more engineer when I flunked out of civil engineering. Calculus was the axe that chopped me, and I've always wanted to overcome that shortcoming. But when I clicked on the first two segments for calculus at the Academy, I became instantly lost becuase I didn't understand the definition of words like function. I was instantly left in the dust.

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