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James Irwin
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One tall nerd
One tall nerd

181 followers
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It's great heading up the dev side of the internationalization team at Khan Academy.  Hopefully we will see many more stories and studies like the following in the coming years.
http://ijedict.dec.uwi.edu/include/getdoc.php?id=5926&article=1766&mode=pdf
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For the last while I've been working with Tom to create a topics infrastructure at Khan Academy. While I worked mostly on the backend, Tom made a great admin tool to interface with it, that allowed Elizabeth and Sal to start organizing our content. As of last week we started showing subtopics on Khan Academy homepage, and soon we'll be remaking it even more to make navigation through our site a breeze and make it clear to our users what next they should be working on.

Tom has written a blog post about it including a few more details.
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Now that Vi Hart is formally a member of the Khan Academy, I am super happy to promote her latest video: Doodling in Math Class: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant [2 of 3]. Its part two, you might also want to check out part 1: http://youtu.be/ahXIMUkSXX0 and one of my favorite other Vi videos on the Mobius strip: http://www.youtube.com/user/Vihart?feature=watch#p/u/0/4mdEsouIXGM
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Here is a link to a research study on blended learning using the Khan Academy that was conducted awhile ago. It has quite interesting findings. Most of the negatives about Khan have already been addressed and while the slight increase in performance over the control group was not statistically significant for such a small sample, there were very encouraging results.
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While it is easy to get excited about the possibilities of technology to give students an individualized education, especially now that I'm working at Khan Academy, it is important to remember that digitizing the classroom using some programs hasn't shown improvements so far, as the article I just read points out. Of course Khan Academy isn't like other programs as it is free and always will be. Plus we encourage students be able to use Khan Academy on their own time, freeing up the classroom to project based learning, peer-to-peer help from students who are farther ahead, and targeted help from teachers who know from our system the student's weaknesses.
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I just read an interesting article about homework and how students learn. In particular it recommends "spaced repetition" - doing the same stuff multiple times over the course of a year, "retrieval practice" - giving tests to yourself as a way to study, and "desired difficulty" - when we struggle when we learn we actually learn it better. With the last one they recommend "interleaved" assignments with different types of questions so the brain has to work harder to figure out which is the best approach.
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Spent forever today figuring out how to get a document in Helvetica Neue font from Pages program in a mac onto a pdf and look ok in Adobe Acrobat. Tried 10 million things. The final solution was to save it to .ps and then use http://docupub.com to convert it to pdf
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