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Salman Khan, Egan Teacher Talk About the Khan Academy Pilot in Los Altos Schools

Teacher Courtney Cadwell says she saw students become 'active learners' and the tool 'stretches us as educators.'

Salman Khan, whose Khan Academy has been generating a lot of buzz this past year, shared some of the media spotlight this week with teacher Courtney Cadwell this week.

The at has been featured in Los Altos Patch, NBC Bay Area and Wired magazine.

This week, WBUR, Boston's National Public Radio news station, dug into Silicon Valley's forays into the new frontiers of online learning. "On Point" host Tom Ashbrook featured Khan on Aug. 17 to talk about online learning, and how his virtual learning modules do. He also talked to artificial intelligence expert Peter Norvig of Google, who with Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun, were inspired by Khan Academy's work to teach an online course, "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence"— to 85,000 people.

The article on the WBUR site may have described Khan as "an education rock star," but in his broadcast, "On Point" host Tom Ashbook borrowed from another description, introducing the Mountain View resident as a "nerdy South Asian Seinfeld," whose short education modules were "conversational," "engaging," and even a bit "doofus-y."  

He asked Khan to describe in detail, the familiar tale of how he started tutoring a young cousin in math remotely. Khan also related that he initially thought YouTube was "for dogs on skateboards," but decided to follow a friend's suggestion to put his tutoring sessions on there when more young cousins sought his help and he needed to scale. 

Cadwell, an Egan Jr. High School 7th grade teacher, took time out on the first day of school to talk about how the Khan Academy modules has changed the way she teaches each day. 

The academy's software includes a dashboard that the Los Altos School District teachers use to track in real time the students' progress, which helps them coach students over sticking points. With students' ability to self-pace their learning, "it does blow up the traditional classroom," Cadwell said.

"It's been amazing," Cadwell said. "It stretches us a educators."

You can listen to the full interview with Khan, Cadwell and Norvig on WBUR's "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook.

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