Khan Academy -“Video tutoring for mastery”

Khan Academy is a non profit organization that creates lecture videos in all subject areas. In addition to making lecture videos, the site offers materials and resources for student learning, as well as resources for teachers. When one first enters the website, they are greeted with the following sentences: You only have to know one thing: “You can learn anything. Free for everyone. forever.” Immediately, the user feels the needs of the students come

A typical Khan Academy video is between 5-20 minutes. There is a voiceover and a blank page where the narrator is free to write and speak about any topic. The early days of Khan Academy focussed solely on math help. Today Khan Academy expands medicine, finance, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, cosmology, American civics, and much more.

I followed a chemistry video on “acids and bases”. His lectures are unlike any I have experienced in a classroom. Khan explains everything slowly, without missing steps, and carefully. If students do miss something, they can choose to watch the video slowly, or rewatch if necessary. Khan doesn’t bother using tons of jargon in his explanations as he knows students are using his platform because they are already confused with the material. The beauty in all of Khan’s videos is his ability to use real life examples in his explanations.

Salman Khan created Khan Academy in 2006, after realizing that he would not make his mark on the world by being the next Richard Feynman. He traded his physics equations for computer skills, and attended MIT for computer science. His lectures first launched on Youtube before expanding on his own website. Now his projects are funded by donations. Google has donated 2 million dollars and AT&T has donated 2.25 millions.


Passion Project Blog Post #2

This is a general update for my passion project. I have been going to drop-in Jiu Jitsu classes once a week for almost two months now. I have also been watching videos uploaded to YouTube by Tenth Planet Brazilian Jiu Jitsu creator Eddie Bravo. Up to this point, I have enough BJJ experience and knowledge to test for a blue belt ranking. I was planning on being where I am a month from now, but I’ve been so motivated to learn BJJ that I’m a month a head of schedule.

I am now confident and comfortable enough with my Jiu Jitsu to post videos that demonstrate basic self defense techniques. Featured in these videos will be my roommate, and BJJ partner Kyle Robinson. Kyle has been attending the classes with me and has been an excellent partner and has been motivating me to practice. My plan is to upload one video a week until the beginning of December. If I’m feeling ambitious, I might upload a couple of videos a week.

A day at EdCamp Victoria!

This past Saturday, I attended my first edcamp which was organized at Lamberick Park Secondary school. It was a day of learning, sharing, and excitement. For those of you who are unfamiliar with edcamp, it is a user-generated conference that does not follow any rigid schedule for workshops that are planned in advance. It is commonly referred to as an “unconference”. Ideas for topics of discussion are determined by registered guests at the beginning of the day.

Instead of a single person presenting for an hour, attendees are encouraged to participate in group conversation. People areĀ  organized in circles to facilitate conversation among all the members. The demographic of attendees range from pre-service teachers, actual teachers and parents.

The edcamp topics I attended throughout the day were 1) Promoting creativity in the Science and Math Class 2) Teaching to indigenous students 3) “grit” in the classroom.

As a person who plans to teach science and mathematics at the secondary level, I was extremely excited to participate in the “promoting creativity in the science and math classroom” discussion. In summary, we addressed the difficulty of making math come alive to students. According to many teachers, math has the reputation for being a motivation killer and tends to be a subject that most students dread. The traditional ways of teaching math through rote learning from a textbook seemed to be the culprit for such experiences. Some suggestions included incorporating art in math. One grade 9 math teacher assigned a project whereby students had to create a self-portrait using geometric shapes. Students had to plan this portrait on graph paper with Cartesian coordinates, and had to plan which shapes and shape sizes would be needed to create an ideal self-portrait. This was very neat way to incorporate art into mathematics.

During my second workshop, we addressed the relatively low graduation rate of indigenous students. We came to the conclusion that teachers must have a firm understanding of the difficulty that most of these students face daily. This doesn’t just look like support in the classroom, but actively seeking the root of such issues in these students’ lives at home.

The last workshop I attended was on “grit”. Grit is passion and perseverance. We discussed how kids who have grit always end up successful in their adult lives, no matter their grades in school and upbringing. This is because these students understand that life is a marathon and not a sprint. When these kids fail, they try again. They ignore the doubt from themselves and others. We discussed ways to teach grit in the classroom.

Edcamp was a fantastic way to learn and discuss topics relevant in today’s classroom. The insight given by educators of all types was extremely valuable and eyeopening.



Passion Project Blog Post #1

This week I learned about the main positions of Brazilian Jiu jitsu: Mount, Guard, and Back.

The mount position is one of the most dominant positions and any type of self defense. In the mount, you shift your entire weight onto your opponent’s hips. Anatomically, this makes sense as you take away their center of gravity. Without your opponent’s ability to lift their hips, it makes it very difficult for them to get up, or generate any torque to significantly harm you. Your head, which is the most vulnerable part of your body as it contains your brain, is more than an arms length away from your opponent, no matter your height. In this position, you have full range of motion to maneuver your opponent, as well as being able to strike your opponent with your arms.

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The guard, is a common defensive position in Jiu Jitsu. Here, you lie underneath your opponent, with your back on the mat. Your legs are wrapped around their body, and your arms are ideally hooked underneath their armpits. When you are pulled this close to your opponent, it is tough for them to achieve any range of motion to strike you. By holding onto them in this way, you can generate your own leverage for submissions. It looks like a vulnerable position, but there are actually dozens of submissions that can be performed from the guard.

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Another great position, second to the mount, is having someone’s back. From the back, your opponent cannot hurt you at all. This is a completely offensive position, and your opponent is vulnerable to strikes to the head and susceptible to the most famous submission in BJJ: the rear naked choke. Your opponent is trapped by your legs being wrapped around their mid section and your arms holding onto their arms, or wrapping around their neck. This position is akin to an anaconda wrapped around their prey.

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