Our mission is to provide a world-class education to anyone, anywhere. We already have millions of students learning every month, and we're growing quickly.
Our students answer over 2 million math exercise problems per day, all generated by our open source exercise generation framework (http://github.com/khan/khan-exercises, http://ejohn.org/blog/khan-exercise-rewrite/), and Sal's videos have been viewed over 117 million times. We're just getting started feeding this data we're collecting back into the product to help our users learn more (http://david-hu.com/2011/11/02/how-khan-academy-is-using-mac...). If you're interested in data, analytics, and education, this is a dream gig.
Plus, it's one of the highest educational impact positions you can imagine. We're hiring all types of devs -- mobile, frontend, backend, whatever you want to call yourself. Big plans ahead.
Apply through the ordinary software developer position for now -- but we're hunting for some passionate data engineers to do more stuff like this: http://david-hu.com/2011/11/02/how-khan-academy-is-using-mac...
I'm kicking myself for not making something like the URL kamens tweeted couple days ago for the kid who was looking to intern, but it's kind of hard to make a beautiful website when the thing I'm most comfortable with is backend design and MySQL.
I'm just hoping kamens' tweet about "throwing away half your resumes" so you don't hire unlucky candidates doesn't end up being the case!
A $20 Wordpress theme solves this problem.
Seriously. I don't understand why programmers insist on trying to do design work themselves when the price of quality designs is so low.
Sure, if you want to noodle around with design for its own sake (learning is fun!), go nuts. But if you just want to get on with programming then spend the $20 and be happy.
Slight downside: having to put up with Wordpress...you can't have everything.
Thanks for the great job you guys are doing of bringing quality education to everyone.
Of course, we write the software specifically for the Khan Academy site so you would need to change some parts of it to adapt it to other uses, but everything is out in the open for anyone to work on and use.
Other than that: great move.
Furthermore, your opinion of the Biology content may be spot-on, but there are thousands of students who say it's making their lives measurably better. Maybe it would be 100,000 if the content was better; it's hard to know for sure. I'm just not sure that it is directly affecting scale at this point, or that there's not a greater effect on scale trying to get more people to use our existing content.
Disclaimer: I'm the lead designer for KA.
> This is an ongoing falsehood.
> but there are thousands of students who say it's
> making their lives measurably better.
Depending on what you mean by "educators," I might prefer that Khan Academy (and a bajillion different competing providers) offer up content by actual domain experts rather than content by "educators." It is, of course, possible for a person to be both a domain expert in actual fact and a secondary school teacher by occupational category--I've seen Richard Dedekind described as an example, although I'm not sure I'd describe his teaching position as one resembling that of a high school teacher in the United States. But anyway the correct idea that content has to be both factually accurate and appropriate to guide the development of young learners does not constrain content-creation only to persons with the formal credentials of schoolteachers. Many of the best learning materials for young people today were produced by authors who were not K-12 schoolteachers in any stage of their career.
> Depending on what you mean by "educators," I might prefer
> that Khan Academy (and a bajillion different competing
> providers) offer up content by actual domain experts
> rather than content by "educators."
I suspect that they're going to be PhDs and practitioners as opposed to K-12 schoolteachers -- but I really don't give a damn about credentials. There are fantastic high school teachers out there. There are PhDs and masters in their respective fields who are ridiculously bad educators, especially at the level of teaching that KA provides.
Rather, that's a recipe for stagnation and complacency.
Employee response: "It's good enough/better than even worse options."
That's a poor response, and not what I would expect from a team with the culture to make a great product.
I've been studying cell biology on my spare time. I've been using The Molecular Biology of the Cell (http://www.amazon.com/Molecular-Biology-Cell-Bruce-Alberts/d...) that in my opinion is a great book, and as far as I know, is well-respected in general.
Still, watching Sal's biology videos has been of great help. Although I think e.g. his organic chemistry videos are better executed (~10 minutes per video, a bit less packed, better splits by content), I still think that his biology videos are a super-valuable resource. I've been watching some MIT lectures too, but visualizations, which are necessary for biology, aren't properly visible in them. Of the free biology content in the web, Sal's videos are the best IMO.
Beth Harris and Steven Zucker (http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/)
Vi Hart (http://www.youtube.com/user/vihart)
Brit Cruise (http://www.youtube.com/user/ArtOfTheProblem)
People saying "they don't hire educators" really mean that they don't hire as many people with Masters degrees in Education, which is known to be one of the degrees that attracts the lowest possible GRE scoring students, and which produces legions of incompetent "teachers" that have created a nation of ignoramuses.
It's a good thing they don't hire more of these folks. They are the ones that have destroyed education in America, why would we want them to have anything to do with Khan Academy?
PS: The Head first series is an example of what happens when you add educators into the mix. They might seem fluffy but they sell well and do teach people surprisingly well. http://my.safaribooksonline.com/book/programming/java/059600...
If you are saying that Kathy and Bert are educators because they educate, then I agree, and that was my point in saying that obviously Khan Academy is populated by educators.
PS: Funding is clearly an issue, but there is a long history of education and some extremely valuable lessons have been learned the ridiculously expensive way. Leveraging that history does not take a lot of resources just a willingness to use them.
> Khan said that they are currently working on a platform
> to make it easier for anyone to add things to KhanAcademy
Not what I find exciting about KA. Educational standards should be enforced, which necessitates the hiring of educators. I'd be disappointed if Khan falls into the good ol' Silicon Valley trap: believing that it's all about technology and platforms.
Hire teachers, hire experts, hire anyone who either has deep knowledge or experience transferring knowledge. Hopefully both. A doctorate in education, alone, provides neither.
(this comment brought to you by small sample size interactions with real-life Ed.D. dunces)
Education seems to test the wrong things (knowledge, ability at tests, not practical nor personal skills), and changes at glacial speeds (conservative, and aiming for politically motivated outcomes).
In general 'educators' generally are not so great.
I wish him the best!
He's a top notch open source advocate and a great encourager of contributions from non-Google employees, so hat's off and all the best at Khan Academy!
Google's been a great boon for the Internet, but i'm curious just how much Search changed things, on its own.
Certainly I'm glad that Google disclosed DMCA complaints (instead of dropping them, which every other major search engine did), push backed on overly broad DOJ subpoenas that tried to get 2 months of user queries, worked hard not to partner with scumware/malware companies, helped to push back on things like SOPA, and launched a transparency report to shine a light on government requests to take down information around the world.
Google has also been a major proponent of open source (e.g. Summer of Code, Android, Chromium), not to mention espousing principles like data liberation: http://www.dataliberation.org/ . Overall, I think the web would have been quite a bit worse without Google: slower, less organized, more closed, and definitely spammier.
And Khan Academy will probably eventually have to start selling advertising or user data or something similar too. Nothing is free.
My comment probably should have been downvoted, it was off-the-cuff and a bit snarky. Google is nowhere close to Pepsi.
A follow up to that is to ask whether accreditations mean anything at all at this point. A high school diploma from a public school is known to be not worth anything presently as it doesn't even certify if the recipient is literate or knows basic math. Employers and colleges know better to rely on a high school diploma as evidence of anything, this is why they still have to test for skill level.
Are college degrees worth anything either? That is uncertain. Few employers validate whether someone really has the degrees they claim. Tech shops don't accept a bachelors in lieu of a programming test during an interview. Whether one has a degree is considered quite irrelevant since it is known that there are developers with no certifications or diplomas whose talent and skill surpass that of Computer Science diplomates from the finest institutions.
Why even bother with credentials with they don't really indicate anything useful.
I have been hearing impaired since birth, and I wear hearing aids. However, I 'evolved' to lip-read and read body language. School was invaluable to me, for making friends, figuring out how to deal with jerks and asking lecturers and tutors the right questions.
Not until I was in my 4th year at uni that I realised something was _very_ wrong - how did I know what to ask, if I didn't realise I'd missed it? :-)
These days, I am in a programming job, however I quite often hear something and go, "what the hell was that". However, with Khans offering captions for everything I pick up such tiny details that suddenly blow my mind and I feel very humbled. It feels like I'm learning backwards.
I hope that in the future, people don't rely on online classrooms, because then they will miss so much other things, that they simply won't realise until it's rather late.
"I have to... TALK to my colleagues?!"
if you have a startup looking for engineers, I would troll the reddit boards devoted to those classes and see who's interested in joining you
you might be able to come up with some pretty good underpriced talent
I think an alternative to the current model of getting yourself deep in debt to prove you're employable would do society alot of good
Then you would only have to be in school when you took whatever test was necessary to get that degree.
Although you could conceivably try directly for university and skip High School completely. Or even skip university, learn to code in your basement and be done with it.
It is hard to sit at a company working really hard to fill jobs and to listen to all the folks who are out of work but not qualified for your jobs. Its hard to listen to the stories of good, decent people who work hard and are certainly capable, unable to break the chains of poverty because they can't both get an education and stay off the streets. Its hard to listen to young people, now young adults, who suddenly realize that it wasn't learning they hated it was the school and now they are trying to make it as adults without a solid foundation.
KA is has three things going for it, the founder is passionate about the cause (so its not going to sell itself suddenly), the technological sub-pieces have finally come into existence across a critical mass, the availability of 'self funded' (which is to say folks who no longer have to work if they don't want to) individuals to volunteer efforts for it.
So being remembered for lifting some fraction of the world (no matter how small) out of poverty by providing educational opportunities, or being remembered as someone who worked at one of the companies that formed the Web as we know it. Easy choice.
When you've already made millions, or when your reputation allows you to get any job you want, money surely becomes a much smaller work incentive.