We are using Khan Academy for independent skill learning and practice in math at certain times, or at home. For those who don't know, Khan Academy is an online one-on-one "tutor" for all math skills from probably kindergarten to university level. The great thing is that is keeps track of individual student progress, gives hints to problems, and videos to explain. It is all free and is a safe, secure website for students, parents and teachers.
I plan to use it during math for early finishers, as well as for others who need extra practice and assistance. However, I will also make sure that ALL students have some access during the week. We currently have 7 devices for them to use in class. Students, of course, can log in at home for extra practice.
There are badges and points for mastering skills, so there is motivation for kids, as well. From previous experience with students in previous classes, I've found that even those struggling find it often less stressful and more motivating to work with a computer and on their own, as opposed to sometimes working with peers or sharing in a large class. Also, using technology seems like fun to them, even when they're doing "work." (For example, kids love reading on Epic, a online book app, even more than actual physical books, it seems.) Also, in a short period of time (10-15 minutes), students are able to master skills quite easily.
The other great thing is that Khan Academy matches your child's skill level. Therefore, questions will simplify for those struggling or at a lower-grade level, or it will give higher-grade level questions for those who need a challenge. Just looking at our reading/writing levels in our class is a clear indication of the variance of levels in a single class.
Finally, if students can master all of the important skills and concepts quickly with the aid of Khan Academy, then we can devote more time in class for bigger picture ideas, such as problem solving real-life math issues, or working on math models or projects, for example.
Important note: Khan Academy should not be seen as a replacement for math study, but simply a powerful tool used in conjunction with math at school, home or elsewhere.
Daniel H. Lee
This blog will be dedicated to sharing in three areas: happenings in my classroom and school; analysis and distillation of other educators' wealth of knowledge in various texts; insights from other disciplines and areas of expertise that relate and connect with educational practices.