This week I decided to do a review on a 1st Grade Math Unit from Khan Academy on Place Value. Since my major project is for a grade one classroom, I thought I would explore a digital unit for a primary grade. I was interested in seeing how Khan Academy set up their unit for such young learners and I wanted to see if a grade one could really do this unit independently and “learn” online.
The slogan for Khan Academy is:
You can learn anything. For Free. For everyone. Forever.
When I first landed on the website I thought the slogan was very catchy and I was very excited because this is an amazing concept and I truly believe in open education sources. I was hoping I would be able to find an English Language Arts unit for primary grades on Khan Academy, but it seemed to be more Math and Science focused.
I decided to do the module on Place Value for the first grade. I was able to get through the modules fairly quickly (as you would hope!), but I tried to look at the modules critically, specifically I looked at the following aspects:
- production values
- perceived difficulty of creation of the module
- potential impact on student learning
- whether the format adds value to or impedes the facilitation of the content
Here is my review…
Production values: I found the actual module itself fairly basic. The lesson was a basic screen cast with narration and the quiz was a simple picture with a box to enter your answer. To be honest, I was underwhelmed with the aesthetics of the whole production. This is a free resource, so I understand why it is so basic, but I can’t imagine a grade 1 student being engaged or excited about this lesson.
Perceived difficulty of creation of the module: I feel like this module would be fairly basic to put together. I could see myself using Khan Academy in the future to create and find modules for my students as an added dimension to their learning. Although I think this would be a fairly easy way to create an online course, I don’t think it would be my first choice for the primary grades.
Potential impact on student learning: This course was very, very basic. I don’t think there would be much impact on student learning. I could see accessing this module with parent help at home, but this wouldn’t be my first choice. I feel like there are many other options out there that are more engaging, such as YouTube videos, IXL Math, or open source interactive sites.
Whether the format adds value to or impedes the facilitation of the content: Unfortunately, I don’t think the format of Khan Academy adds value to teaching place value to the first grade. I think it is a good resource to have as an “add-on” for parents who need help understanding, but I really don’t see this course being used in a grade one classroom.
I did try out the app Khan Academy Kids as well and did find that it has more potential than the online modules for the primary grades, but still needs some development to reach its full potential. Something I will keep in mind when I begin making my course is the accessibility of it for grade one students. I found this course wasn’t super easy to navigate and wasn’t super appealing to a grade one student.