Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Education

October 17, 2013

Phillips Teachers expand reach online via Khan Academy

Local math whizzes cramming for their next calculus exam may want to thank some of the folks at Phillips Academy for offering a helping hand.

The private boarding school in Andover has embraced — and been embraced by — Khan Academy, an online emporium of academics available free of charge to people all over the world.

Staff members in PA’s Math Department have been mining, finding and organizing their favorite Advanced Placement BC Calculus problems to help beef up Khan Academy’s highest-level math offerings as part of an unprecedented partnership with the online learning site.

Since the summer, Bill Scott, chairman of Phillips’ Math Department, has been providing content to Khan Academy. The problems are then uploaded to the Khan site so that they can be viewed and worked on by students.

It is the first time a high school has provided a significant amount of core content to the Khan Academy site, founder Sal Khan said from his Silicon Valley headquarters.

Since July, Phillips’ Math Department has posted approximately 240 problems, which have been tried by more than 12,000 unique viewers. By fall 2014, Scott expects to work with the Khan Academy team to have a complete BC Calculus course up and running on the site.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Khan Academy in developing a BC Calculus course that will reach anyone with Internet access and a desire to stretch themselves in this particular area of study,” Phillips Academy Head of School John Palfrey said. “Sharing the resources of PA — in this case, the talents of our faculty — with those beyond campus fits precisely within our mission.”

The partnership between Andover and Khan Academy began last spring, when Sal Khan, at the invitation of Palfrey, met with students and faculty on campus to explore ways to collaborate. Over the summer, Scott and colleagues Chris Odden and Matt Lisa visited the online academy’s California headquarters, where they met with Khan and his team.

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