Mexico-based telecom billionaire Carlos Slim Helu is the latest Daddy Warbucks to flock to Sal Khan and the Khan Academy since Bill Gates. In fact, Slim is ranked as the richest guy in the world according to Forbes. Slim’s foundation this month announced it signed an agreement that it will support Khan Academy translations to Spanish and help bring it to students, teachers, researchers and others in Mexico. The foundation press release didn’t disclose dollar figures but says it will provide, ”All the necessary resources” for the project. Here’s what some media are saying about this new NAFTA-rific ed tech alliance.
Kerry A. Dolan writes on Forbes.com:
The alliance between the two groups sets out a goal of having 1,000 Khan Academy videos translated into Spanish by April this year. Slim’s foundation also pledged to invest more than $300 million (4 billion pesos) over the next three years into programs that improve the development of “human capital.”
Salman Khan and his Khan Academy were featured on the cover of Forbes in November 2012 in a compelling article written by my colleague Michael Noer. Khan, 36, started Khan Academy in a closet at his home in Silicon Valley, but with backing from the likes of Bill Gates and venture capitalist John Doerr and his wife Ann, has expanded into a 36-person company serving 10 million students around the world with free video talks on the Internet explaining everything from calculus to chemistry.
Slim’s son-in-law and spokesmen Arturo Elias also met with Salman Khan and posted a photo of the two of them on Twitter mid-afternoon Eastern time on Monday. He also tweeted (in Spanish) that the Carlos Slim Foundation will bring Khan Academy to Mexico and Latin America in Spanish. Earlier Monday Elias tweeted that he would be making a big announcement about the Slim Foundation and education in Mexico and Latin America.
The Financial Times writes:
To read the foundation’s Activities Report is to delve into a little-publicised world of giving. Among many other things, the foundation has provided Mexicans with more than 128,000 reading glasses, 293,000 bicycles for children who live far from their schools, 245,000 scholarships and has paid for 794,000 medical operations.
Elias Ayub says that about 85 per cent of the foundations’ projects centre on health and education – two areas of human development that crop up constantly in Slim’s discourse on solving poverty. “We don’t have a spending limit,” Elias Ayub told the FT recently. “The money is there.”
So perhaps this week’s announcement should come as no surprise, considering that Slim himself once taught advanced mathematics while at university. But to judge by some of the online lessons the Khan Academy is putting out – Evaluating integral for shell method example is one of many mind-boggling examples – the whole endevour does throw up one tiny question: wouldn’t it make more sense to teach Mexican kids English instead?
The Associated Press reports:
Khan Academy offers thousands of free video lectures on YouTube in subjects like mathematics, physics and art history. More than 500 videos have been translated into Spanish by Mexican professors, so far.
Slim says he will also fund online classes about Mexican history to be added to the website. He says funding for the not-for-profit organization comes from a 4 billion peso ($315 million) investment over the next three years to expand internet connectivity in Mexico.
Slim made the announcement Monday together with Khan Academy’s founder, Salman Khan.
In 2011, one of the biggest innovations to come along in education was the Khan Academy, but as we kick off 2013, the question is, has the “next big thing in education” kept its sizzle or is it starting to fizzle? As a sort of highlight reel of all that has happened at the Khan Academy in 2012, let’s take a look at its progress and hopefully you’ll agree that its as hot as ever…
On the teaching side, the startup hired one of the most surprising YouTube breakout stories of recent years, Vi Hart. In November of 2010, Vi started posting videos of math class doodles in a stream of consciousness style that are quite educational and turned out to be viral as well, especially among middle and high school girls…a demographic that STEM educators are often left puzzled on how to reach. Check out her video on hexaflexagons, which has been viewed close to 5 million times, to see what Vi will be able to bring to the startup’s table:
The Khan Academy also embraced some star power last year by partnering with basketball star Lebron James for Q&A-style lessons about the probability of shooting free throws, Newton’s third law, and the effects of humidity. The organization also worked with MIT to deliver student-created videos and partnered with companies producing their own educational videos, like the personal genome testing service 23andMe. Through these kinds of partnerships, Khan can continue to rapidly expand its library and strengthen its connections with entities that have a vested interest in improving education.
This year, the Khan Academy also extended its reach to deliver its content to the world by building support on more digital platforms, opening up offline access, moving into more schools, and expanding globally. This year saw Khan’s library of over 3,800 videos packaged as designated apps for the iPad in March and the iPhone in November. Although the Academy’s videos can be viewed through YouTube, the apps were created to allow for offline access, an improved interface for learning, and a way to track progress.
Via Singularity Hub