The Khan Academy announced this week that it plans to turn its focus to Computer Science. The online education portal already dishes up easy to digest lessons in K-12 math, as well as teachings in biology, chemistry and physics. Now the six-year-old non-profit has announced plans to add lectures on computer science.
"We're releasing a completely new platform that targets people with no programming knowledge and gives them an engaging and fun environment to learn in," said Khan Academy's John Resig. "Over everything else we wanted to emphasize creativity and exploration and make it approachable for people of all ages, including young kids."
Resig said that children attending 'Discover Lab' sessions at Khan Academy responded well to the new lessons. The children were roughly middle school age and, after a number of learning activities, Resig said they had never seen students of that age progress so quickly through such challenging concepts. He added that they were were moving faster than most college age students taking a normal intro Computer Science course.
This is what the Khan Academy is about: Taking a new approach to teaching and endeavoring to educate people in a more engaging way that differs from the traditional classroom setting. Founder Salman Khan started tutoring his cousin remotely in late 2004 using Yahoo! Doodle. Other relatives soon expressed interest in receiving similar tutelage, so he changed his approach in an effort to save everyone time. He decided to make the videos and then post them to YouTube, where his whole family could watch. The videos attracted the attention of hundreds of thousands of people on YouTube. Khan eventually quit his job as a hedge fund analyst to work on them full time.
The site is entirely funded by donations (the site has no advertising), with Google and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation among the major backers.
To get started on the Computer Science courses, head on over to http://www.khanacademy.org/cs.