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Roundup: Khan Academy Launches Computer Science Academy

By on August 22, 2012
Blended Learning, Domestic, Education Quality, K-12, Open Source Education, Required, Startups, Technology

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Creative Commons License Photo Credit: American Council on Education via Compfight

Khan Academy turned a major corner in its evolution and development this month as it launches a computer science training program that could rival CodeAcademy and others. Here’s a roundup of how the tech media covered the announcement.

Gregory Ferenstein writes in TechCrunch:

As educators struggle to motivate more students to take up technology-related majors, breakout online education startup, Khan Academy, has a novel approach.  ”Computer Science is an intensely creative field,” says Shantanu Sinha, President of Khan Academy, which gave TechCrunch an exclusive look at their brand new education portal that teaches Computer Science fundamentals through interactive drawing. “We really wanted to focus on creating something that could inspire young children, and get them excited and motivated to explore CS further.” The portal’s interactive design is a major evolutionary step for a website that has since been almost entirely based on YouTube lectures (with over 178 million views). I rarely get excited about online education, which often just recycles our antiquated education system into a digital format, but the new Khan Academy Computer Science project is beyond impressive.

The new Computer Science site focuses on the critical early adolescent years, where children broaden (or narrow) their interests and identity before high school. The lessons don’t get much more complicated than basic algebra, and how these intuitive mathematical concepts can create powerful artistic, video game, and website experiences. “We wanted to create something that could get anyone with minimal knowledge of Computer Science really excited by the field–no matter what their age or situation,” says Sinha. One of the most advanced lessons, for instance, is a replication of Pac-Man (i.e. a circle eating other smaller circles) and stops short of a university-level Computer Science course.

Via TechCrunch

Joab Jackson at IDG News writes:

Khan Academy has not yet divulged details of the curriculum. But in a blog post last December, Resig said it would be likely that its computer science curriculum would teach JavaScript as a first language. While noting JavaScript’s many shortcomings, Resig praised the language for its “ubiquity, desirability in the larger workforce, lack of prior installation requirements, and ability to create something that’s easy to share with friends,” he wrote, adding that the curriculum would not focus solely on JavaScript.

Khan will be joining a number of other institutions, such as Google and the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), in efforts to get individuals to better understand programming. The W3C’sW3schools offers basic online training for most Web technologies, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript and others. Google’s Code University offers complete basic courses in C++ and Python.

Via PCWorld

Jolie O’Dell writes in VentureBeat:

“This project is going to blow the doors off computer science education,” said the academy’s resident JavaScript guru, John Resig, in a Twitter update. ”I have a feeling that people are going to have a lot of fun with it.”

In a blog post on the subject, Resig called the CS courses “a completely new platform that targets people with no programming knowledge and gives them an engaging and fun environment to learn in. Over everything else, we wanted to emphasize creativity and exploration and make it approachable for people of all ages, including young kids.”

Via VentureBeat


Khan Academy Computer Science Launch: John Resig talks to Sal about the new computer science tools and content on Khan Academy (Available at: http://www.khanacademy.org/cs)



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