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Sal Khan to Lead Student Seminars at Khan World School at ASU Prep

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The Khan World School at ASU Prep is opening to passionate ninth grade students starting in August. And some of that world-class learning will be lead by Sal Khan himself. Well known in the education world as the founder of Khan Academy and Schoolhouse.world, Sal plans to join the faculty for this inaugural class of students. Please watch his announcement below.

Learn more about this exciting online school model at khanworldschool.org

Behind Khan Academy And Arizona State University’s Khan World School Launch

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Previously published on Forbes.com

Michael B. Horn

I write about transforming education so it can allow all students to build their passions and fulfill their potential.

The Khan Academy and Arizona State University Prep Digital’s partnership to launch the Khan World School, a virtual school for high schoolers, brings together two of the powerhouses in digital learning with the promise of creating a breakthrough schooling model.

With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rush to virtual schooling—or what some have termed emergency remote schooling—the results have been unsurprisingly poor. Many studies show that the students in the schools that remained remote longer have suffered greater learning loss.

Out of this challenge, Sal Khan told me that there was a sense that the Khan Academy had a responsibility to create something more robust.

“We have to create kind of an infrastructure for the world,” Khan said. “There’s a strategic oil reserve. There should be a strategic education reserve of systems and processes that in an emergency time a lot of people can lean on.”

As Amy McGrath, COO at ASU Prep Digital said, “Everyone was doing online, but not very well.… But our infrastructure that has been in design for quite some time really thrived. And our learners, in fact, outperformed state averages.”

As the Khan Academy and ASU Prep Digital launch the Khan World School in the fall, here are three areas where the design should result in important advances for education more broadly.

Social

The stereotype of online learning is that, ‘Oh, you’re just doing your own thing, you feel detached from other people,’” Khan said. “Honestly, that’s the stereotype of some in-person learning as well. You’re just sitting in a classroom and your eyes are glazed over.”

The Khan World School is aiming to tackle that stereotype with a daily, synchronous seminar where students debate topics that often aren’t discussed in schools—things like “Will the Fed be able to control inflation? Will CRISPR change the human genome? And [should] social media be blamed for the polarization in the world?,” Khan said.

“We want to be able to have a place where we can have conversations, and teach students, and maybe the world, that there’s a way to have conversations and to be able to disagree about these things, but be able to do it respectfully, and learn from each other,” Khan said.

I argue in my forthcoming book, “From Reopen to Reinvent,” that this should be one of the six central purposes of K­–12 schools: to help students understand that people can see things differently—and that those differences merit respect rather than persecution.

These seminar groupings would include mixed-age learning—a key tenet of the Khan Lab School, a Silicon Valley-based school that Khan and his team have been operating since 2014. The goal? To unlock human connection.

Mastery

The next part of the Khan World School will tackle students’ core learning with a focus on student mastery.

The way in which the school will assess mastery is what’s perhaps most novel. Khan Academy operates a tutoring site called Schoolhouse.world, which is also a platform to validate mastery.

In essence, students record their face and screen as they take a Khan Academy assessment and explain their reasoning out loud. That video artifact is then peer reviewed by others on the platform who have already proved their mastery of the concept to assess whether a student has mastered at least 90% of the concept.

The platform is designed to authenticate that someone’s work is in fact their own to eliminate cheating and verify mastery.

“If anyone ever doubts it, they can click on that video and watch you perform it,” Khan said. “It’s a far better signal than saying someone got a 95% on a test that they took 10 years ago.”

This mechanism also allows students to show what they’ve mastered outside of the traditional school curriculum—say in their outside reading and writing.

According to Khan, this also showcases a student’s communication skills. And for students who help vet other people’s learning, it also shows a signal of compassion and caring.

“Schools like MIT, University Chicago, Case Western, they’ve already put it on their admissions application, because they think this is a such a powerful signal of student mastery and student personality or student desire to give back,” he said.

What’s more, McGrath argues that the Khan World School will help blur the lines between high school and college. ASU Prep Digital already allows high school students to take real college courses from ASU. And according to Khan, the Khan Academy has started pilots with Howard University, in which students are able to earn college algebra credits while in high school if they demonstrate mastery on the appropriate material.

Value

At present, the Khan World School is drawing interest from students around the world. The school will be free for students in Arizona by taking advantage of ASU’s charter school. But for those localities where it isn’t a public option, Khan said that they will be able to offer the school for less than $10,000.

What’s exciting is that affordability comes with quality and the ability to allow students to master concepts on their own time and pace, not at arbitrary junctions.

“We have over 50 efficacy studies at Khan Academy,” Khan said. “We just have a recent one just came out. If students are able to put in even 20 minutes a day for three days a week, doing mastery learning in math, they’re going 50% to 100% faster than their comparable peers…. That’s just an hour a week doing that. Now, imagine Khan World School where that is the way that we’re going to learn everything. You’re just going to have a really strong foundation.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Podcast: Khan World School at ASU Prep

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ASU Prep Digital is partnering with Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy, to open a unique global online high school. Michael B. Horn, co-founder of the non-profit think tank Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, recently interviewed Sal Khan and ASU Prep Chief Operating Officer Amy McGrath. Join Sal and Amy as they share the vision for this innovative learning model. 

Watch the podcast 

ASU Prep and Sal Khan Partner to Launch Khan World School at ASU Prep

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In August of 2022, Khan World School @ ASU Prep will open its virtual doors to enthusiastic 9th grade students from around the world. This full-time online school will combine the expertise of Khan Lab School, Schoolhouse.world, and ASU Prep in a unique model based on the principles of the book The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined by Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy. The core principles include mastery-based learning, personalization of each student’s experience and learning together as a community.

Each day will include a seminar where small student peer groups will have the opportunity to interact online and actively dive deep into society’s most challenging questions with support from mentors and world-class learning guides.

This inaugural class of 9th graders will work together solving real-world problems in a unique virtual school model that rewards curiosity, empowers agency and provides them with the skills and confidence needed to excel in college and careers.

“Khan World School will unleash the innovation opportunities enabled by online education to maximize learning and student agency. Lots of thought and experimentation went into every element of the model,” said Sal Khan, Founder of Khan Academy. “We’re looking for students who want to be at the center of learning. Those who like to explore and collaborate with their peers. These are highly engaged, enthusiastic, self-driven students who want to prepare for the world’s best universities or take their first steps toward a next-gen career.”

According to Michael Crow, ASU President, “ASU is excited to partner with Sal Khan on this innovative new model. This fits perfectly with ASU’s efforts to advance a student-centric, adaptive design that is nimble and responsive to the needs of learners and the imaginations of faculty and leadership.”

Khan World School is part of the ASU Preparatory Academy charter school network in Arizona. “Khan World School at ASU Prep is intently focused on student performance. The fusion of the high school and university curriculum in a mastery-based, Socratic model will generate thoughtful and academically curious learners that have limitless opportunity,” said Amy McGrath, Chief Operating Officer at ASU Prep.

Interested students will need to apply through ASU Prep Digital, the full-time online school. The program will be tuition-free for Arizona residents. Out-of-state students will pay tuition to attend. The 2022-23 class is open to incoming 9th grade students with plans to expand the program to grades 9–12 the following year.

To learn more about Khan World School @ ASU Prep, please visit khanworldschool.org.

About Khan Lab School
Khan Lab School (KLS) is a non-profit, mastery-based school founded by Salman Khan in 2014 to cultivate his student-centered philosophy in a physical school environment. Khan is also the founder of Khan Academy and author of The One World Schoolhouse (2012), in which he makes the case for mastery-based, mixed-age, and blended learning with a departure from traditional letter grades. Today, the KLS community is bringing that vision to life on its own campus and also sharing knowledge within education more broadly.

About ASU Prep Digital
ASU Prep Digital is an accredited online K-12 school that offers a single online course or enrollment in a full-time, diploma-granting program. Because it is part of Arizona State University, ASU Prep Digital offers an accelerated path toward college admission and the chance to earn concurrent high school and university credit.

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