The boys (and Heather has enjoyed it too - I haven't gotten to it yet) have really been enjoying Khan Academy this last week.  It is an educational tool, with lots of questions to test you on different skills.  Jonathan is especially motivated by the reward badges it gives you when you do certain activities.  It does a good job of remembering how well you have done on previous problems to decide whether you need more practice or not.  It also has helpful videos to teach you new concepts.

Noah was working on some fraction problems (identifying the numerator and denominator).  He had gotten three problems right and couldn't figure out why the fourth was wrong, and so I asked him if he had watched the video.  He hadn't, but had just guessed, and the first three has asked him what the numerator was, and so he had picked the first number.  He didn't notice the question changed on the fourth problem.  I suggested that perhaps he should watch the video, although I think he didn't, but did see that the question was slightly different, and so then did the bottom number instead....  I guess we will see as time goes on whether this form of experimenting/learning is useful, or if it teaches you interesting things that end up not really working out.

Heather has really enjoyed the teacher interface, which lets you see exactly which problem the student got wrong, how much time they are taking for each problem, etc.  In Jonathan's case, it listed he was "struggling" on a particular set of problems, but it turns out the "struggle" had to do with not reading the entire problem, and noticing whether it was a subtraction or addition problem.

Heather will probably want to write more about this, but I wanted to share one quote by Jonathan:

"Now that I was programming all day, I can see why you work so much."

If it isn't clear, what he meant was: it took him a long time to do some things that he considered easy, and was a lot of work to get it to work the way he wanted to.  He has now been asking about more efficient computer languages; apparently, he remembers a comment I made about javascript being slow, though I can't remember what he is talking about.  I suspect it might have been a comment about a certain programmer being inefficient, rather than the language itself.  Or maybe he is remembering when John and I were talking about the Ruby guys who claim everything can be coded in 1/6th the time (and John's potential employer figured that he could be paid 1/6th the amount and the project should be completed in 1/6th the time, since Ruby made everything so easy).

They have a LOGO-type javascript interface where you can make different shapes, and program them to interact with the user. 

Posted by Jon Daley on November 9, 2013, 12:31 pm | Read 23607 times
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