A story on caught my attention last week. It was a report of an endorsement Bill Gates had made at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Further research led me to an article in FORTUNE that gave some additional background on Salman Khan and his Khan Academy.

“’This guy is amazing,’ he (Gates) wrote. Gates and his 11-year old son, Rory, began soaking up videos, from algebra to biology. . . . Ruminating on what he called the ‘mind-blowing misallocation’ of resources away from education, Gates touted the ‘unbelievable’ 10- to 15-minute Khan Academy tutorials ‘I’ve been using with my kids.’”

My next stop was, naturally, the website. Here I discovered that, “The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) with the mission of providing a world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Despite being the work of one man, Salman Khan, this 1600+ video library is the most-used educational video resource as measured by YouTube video views per day and unique users per month.”

From there, I moved forward to actually sampling some of these free videos.

WOW ! ! !

From the most basic to the most advanced concepts in math and science, these 10-minute presentations more than pass the test. I instantly knew why Gates’ 11-year old would use them to supplement his knowledge about information he didn’t immediately grasp during a classroom presentation. I also readily understood how Bill Gates could use them to re-learn long ago forgotten concepts — and, to become introduced to knowledge he’d never before encountered. In short, I was looking at a unique educational tool with true value for everyone!

I’ve never encountered such an excellent example of what is certain to become a part of our Twenty-first Century education.

( If you’d like to learn more: )

Go to the Khan Academy site. See for yourself. Take a few of the short courses. Introduce your kids, too. It’s all free. It’s a glimpse into a better education.

More on Thursday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning