Sal Khan Goes Brick-and-Mortar

Sal Khan’s free online Khan Academy has been named as one of Elearning! magazine’s “Learning! 100” for multiple years. In the past five years, his educational model has turned learning upside down — in a good way by using online videos as teaching platforms.

Now he’s entering the world of brick and mortar with the opening of a Mountain View, California, K-12 Khan Lab School, which began taking applications last year and in September opened for business.

According to the school’s website:

“The Khan Lab School was founded to develop new, personalized practices that center around the student. With this in mind, we hope to develop and test new types of learning experiences and practices that can be shared with the world. In keeping with Sal Khan’s The One World Schoolhouse philosophy, the school is a full-year, full-day, mixed-age program with a collaborative, project-based learning approach. There is not traditional homework, grade levels, or grades, but the school is mastery-based.”

The tuition not cheap ($23,000 to $25,000 per year).

Recently, Khan told National Public Radio’s Eric Westervelt that his video lectures aren’t all about replacing the traditional classroom, but “liberating” it.

“A lot of people — when they think about virtual anything — make that comparison of say an versus a Barnes & Noble. We at Khan Academy, we never viewed it that way. We view the virtual as something that can empower the physical — that if students can get lectures at their own time and pace, they can get exercises, they can have a programming platform, that doesn’t mean that the classroom gets replaced; it means the classroom gets liberated.”

The benefits of Khan Academy are also available at the Khan Lab School, where students don’t have to learn at the same time and pace. It will offer learning spaces for children of “mixed age” and will be “full-year, full-day.” In the morning, students do mastery-based, personalized learning with focus on meta-cognitive skills like entrepreneurship and creativity. In the afternoon into the early evening (until 6 p.m.), “they’re building stuff, they’re making things,” much like Montessori.

“We’ve been working with a lot of great schools who have been doing aspects of this, but we started a lab underneath our offices, literally,” Khan says.

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