The other day, I pulled my out my iPhone and learned all about Raising Money for Startup in just over 12 minutes on my way to work. On my way back I did a Crash Course on Indoor Flying Robots. That’s the brilliance of Khan Academy’s new iPhone app. I have to admit that I became no expert in either of these subjects but I couldn’t have utilized my time in a better way. With the release of its iPhone app, Khan Academy Academy has expanded learning horizons for millions of iPhone users. iPhone users now have access to more than 3600 videos on the go from Khan Academy. Android peeps have yet to get the app in the Play Store but our sources at Khan Academy indicate that the app should be out in the first quarter of 2013.
Unlike the iPad app, the new iPhone app doesn’t allow users to download videos to watch offline, access subtitles or unlock achievements, which may turn off iPhone users who previously used Khan Academy’s iPad app. Critics have argued that development team could have done a better job with the app, but given the size limitations of iPhone’s platform it a smart move to prefer simplicity over complexity. Stuffing all the features of Khan’s lessons in an iPhone app would have undermined some of the strongest visual and interactive features that Khan utilizes, thus doing more damage than good for the millions of users. Not being able to download videos may further frustrate users on limited data plans, but it’s worth checking out some data compression apps or upgrading to higher data limits to take full advantage of the resources that the new app offers.
Since iPhone has yet to make substantial claims on the educational front, incorporating some of the features of the iPad’s app like gamification would have made the app simple yet fun to use. Many iPhone users, including myself, were expecting the app development team at Khan Academy to be more creative in bringing full functionality to the iPhone app. I love watching video lessons on educational topics but I can do that on Youtube too. With the new iPhone app Khan Academy might lose its creative edge over other competitors.
The debate about the quality of Khan’s instruction or his teaching methods are still hotly debated in the education circles. But there is no doubt that the video lessons are a great resource to millions of people across the world. We’re living in an age in which the desire to learn is higher than ever. Thus, a resource of 3600+ videos on our iPhones is a great addition to our educational artillery.
Khan Academy is an educational non-profit focused on providing high-quality education for everyone. They produce a collection of free online micro lectures on a variety of different subjects, including mathematics, history, computer science, finance, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and economics. Khan Academy also incorporates game mechanics into their system by awarding students with badges for reaching certain skill levels. Khan Academy was founded in 2006 by Salman Khan.