Sal Khan's 'Academy' Sparks a Tech Revolution in Education

Marion Herbert's picture
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Most people don't wake up in the morning thinking about how to best explain the financial collapse of the Thai baht in the 1990s. But most people aren't Sal Khan.

It's not much past 9 a.m., and Khan, 36, founder of the online educational non-profit Khan Academy, gets set to record his 3,081st video lecture in a small office with a view of air conditioning ducts.

"In 1997, you see, there was a devaluation of the Thai currency," Khan says into a beefy microphone as he makes crude sketches on his monitor.

If you want gleaming high-tech, go down the road to Google's campus. If you're looking for a revolution, this is the right address.

Ever since quitting his job as a successful hedge-fund analyst two years ago to dedicate himself full time to this labor of love, Khan has managed to win fans worldwide and goad skeptical educators.

His simply narrated, faceless home videos on everything from algebra to French history have been viewed half a billion times. Last year, a number of schools began "flipping" their classrooms, having students study Khan videos by night and do homework with teachers by day.

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