For our second round of featured community members, we turn to some of our most active Teacher Ambassadors. If you've ever spent time in the Classroom or Coach Tools forums, there's a good chance you've encountered one of their helpful answers. Thank you Lisa, Doug, and Erin for all of your amazing contributions to the community!
Lisa Krueger is a rockstar Khan Academy Ambassador with over 700 posts in the teacher forums, which have received hundreds of votes from the community. She’s been teaching for 15 years and contributing to the Khan community since August of 2016. Lisa never hesitates to promote feedback that she comes up with herself or hears from others, and is super on top of finding bugs when folks write about them in the forums and passing that info along to the Khan team. We asked Lisa some questions. Check out her responses below:
What’s your favorite part of being a teacher? - The "Aha moment" when a struggling student finally gets it.
How did you learn about Khan Academy and when did you start using it regularly? - I used Khan Academy back when I was a 5th grade teacher to help catch kids up on their math. Then years later when I became the Tech teacher I used it for Hour of Code. I was asked to fill out the Ambassador application and as they say the rest is history.
What’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had with Khan Academy - An 8th grade student said, "Finally a site that actually explains why I got the problem wrong and walks me through how to find the right answer!"
Do you have any advice for new teachers, or teachers new to Khan Academy? - Just breathe! We are all in this together and we all want each other to succeed!
What’s your favorite vacation you ever took? - I think it might be this April, there are 14 of us heading to Madrid! We are all staying in the same hotel and it has a piano bar!
Doug Massey designed microchips for 21 years, retired five years ago, and has been volunteering nearly full-time in public schools since then. His love of tutoring and love of technology led him to helping teachers at these schools to use Khan Academy, and Doug is always more than willing to try out new Khan Academy features and give robust, relevant, and honest feedback that has helped us to ensure that we’re building the best features possible for teachers and students. Here’s some extra exciting information about Doug.
How did you learn about Khan Academy and when did you start using it regularly? I completed all of Khan Academy back when there were only about 300 skills to master -- that was probably 2010 or so?
Do you have any advice for new teachers, or teachers new to Khan Academy? If you have a block of time that you want to spend on Khan Academy spend all of your effort making sure your students are on task -- and on the task YOU want them on. Don't try to tutor students -- if they ask for help, show them how to access hints and videos on Khan. Continuously walk around the room and make sure every student is doing the right thing. You need to turn your students into masterful users of Khan Academy -- and experts at knowing exactly what your next task for them should be. Spend a few weeks at the beginning of the year doing nothing but making sure they're on task.
What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had with Khan Academy Using Khan Academy in 22 classrooms with 600 students, for an average of 1500 minutes per student last year. That's almost a MILLION minutes of work on Khan -- and our school scored the most student growth in the entire county on the End of Grade tests. Data analysis showed that every 1000 minutes of time spent on Khan was correlated with 2 or 3 additional percentiles of growth, which is just phenomenal. VERY SATISFYING result. :-)
If you could have one superpower, what would it be? The power of infinite persuasion. :-)
Erin Barnes not only supports other teachers in the Khan Academy forums, but is proactive in trying to solve problems so that she can best share her knowledge with others. She is always eager to provide support to anyone that needs it and is willing to follow up to make sure everyone has just what they need. She has also hosted multiple trainings for other educators, and presented at an EdCamp! Here are some of Erin’s answers to our questions:
Why did you go into education? I went into education for the summers off. I have kids and I knew it would be the best to be on their schedule. A year in, I realized I was actually pretty darn good at it. And as it turns out, if you want to be amazing, you rarely have "Summers off"
How did you learn about Khan Academy and when did you start using it regularly?
I started using Khan Academy regularly when I found out as an elementary ed teacher that I would be teaching upper-level math to students. I mean I got through math in HS, but NEVER intended on seeing it ever again.
What’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had with Khan Academy - This year! I have started using Khan Academy to lay the foundation with my US history kids. They started a podcast to discuss the ins and outs of history. We are loving it.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be? - Teleportation. I could take my lunch break in a different amazing spot every day. Then pop back into the real world to continue being a superhero… teacher ;-)