LITTLE ARMENIA—Over recent years, the face of education seems to have undergone a multitude of changes. Long gone are the days of chalkboards and ditto machines. Long gone will be the days of didactic lectures and hand-written notes as the only form of instruction and learning. In the world of education, differentiated instruction, flexible grouping, design based learning, and other methods of instruction are fast becoming more and more prominent in the classroom. At Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School, teachers are trained and well-versed in these kinds of alternate and supporting methodologies in order to support each and every student at their level of learning.
In correspondence with these methodologies, technology has become a very useful and comprehensive tool in the classroom. With the advancement and integration of technology, teachers have yet another “trick” or tool to utilize in providing instruction. Technology has and will continue to impact differentiated instruction and other methodologies in fundamental ways and has quickly become an integral part of 21st century learning.
Recently, 5th graders at Pilibos began to experiment with Khan Academy in their Mathematics classes as part of a pilot program in the mathematics curriculum. Khan Academy is an online learning system that enhances classroom math instruction and provides additional tutorials and enrichment activities. Khan Academy publishes short videos on specific math objectives. These videos are paired with practice sessions that adapt to the each student’s responses. The teacher sets specific math goals for each student that is aligned to the task they are working on in class. Using real-time data and student progress monitoring, teachers can ensure students are using their time effectively, targeting skills that are problematic, and meeting set goals. In addition, students who strive for more challenging tasks, have the ability to move ahead of their peers and become “classroom coaches.” As students start learning on Khan, they earn badges and energy points, which serve as an incentive and motivate students to challenge themselves to the next level.
With the introduction of Khan Academy as an interactive learning tool, each student is allowed the opportunity to take ownership of his or her learning. At Pilibos, we continuously aim to provide opportunities that challenge our students, help them become self-reliant in their education, and encourage them to become lifelong learners. As the age-old proverb goes “Give me a fish, I eat for a day. Teach me to fish, I eat for a lifetime.”