How Data Supports Positive Behavior
During yesterday’s much-anticipated roll out the students had time to play around with Khan Academy‘s platform and interact with the different features. Some students had already used the site before and were drawn to some of the later modules that had been marked for review; while others were excited that they could successfully complete the first addition module with ease. This experience of success is something that many of these students may not recognize in a math class, and is a helpful motivator.
After the students had time to explore, we reined in their attention so as to demonstrate some of the data tracking features. As described earlier this instigated much excitement, many exclamations, and the student’s undivided attention. As a former teacher I was pleasantly surprised. The demo came to a close, I closed the projector window and turned the class back over to Ruth, the teacher. I noticed that all of a sudden the activity monitor on my screen began to jump as a student was fervently answering math problems. I stopped the class, quickly opened the projector window and asked the class who was not paying attention to the teacher. One of the more verbal students looked up from his screen with a giant grin and the class broke into laughter. He apologized to Ruth and exclaimed that he thought it was really cool that we could see what he was doing. I laughed as well and told him that I was pumped I had to redirect him away from doing math.
Khan Academy, if used strategically and with intent, could be not only a mechanism for instruction but is also a tool for dealing with one of the biggest hurdles in education: classroom management.