Blogs » Learning in Freedom » School for Gamers – points instead of grades

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“Is it ok if I try to get 500 points each day for school?”

Imagine students moving through math lessons at their own pace by gaining points, leveling up, and receiving badges. That's pretty much the goal for students of Khan Academy.

I have been using this program in my home and I had to share it! It picks up where Carrot Sticks left off. (Remember I shared that site with you guys in another post, Gaming for School?)

Image The green boxes on the map represent suggested math lessons. My son can pick one of those lessons to learn today. The blue boxes with the gold stars represent lessons or concepts that he has mastered. This is an amazing map that charts basic addition all the way through lessons in trigonometry!

The first day my ten year old signed in to Khan Academy and began his math lessons, he played math for seven hours. He quickly proved proficient in several basic mathematical concepts and even tried lessons outside of the “Arithmetic” realm.

Yesterday, he decided to learn about prime numbers. Since he had no idea what they were, he was able to watch an instructional video, which he got extra points for, and quickly proved proficient in that lesson.

Imagine a report card that looks like this:

Image I can click on each concept-box and learn more about the lessons he has completed, mastered, and which lessons he needs to review. This gives me, the teacher-mom, more information than a traditional grade of A, B, C, or D. It shows me "why" my son needs review.

A student can always go back and review and redo lessons that they were not ready to master. A student isn't punished (given a bad grade) for trying to learn advanced concepts. When students are empowered to move at their own pace, the traditional grading scale is obsolete, especially when mastery is the goal.

In classrooms where Khan Academy is being used, teachers are reporting that students log-in from home and spend hours doing math “homework.” I know that they are all just trying to get that Earth badge or see what the Black Hole badge is!

We are still learning the program, but it seems to make school (math) more like a video game. You know how much I like that.

Here is a better explanation from http://www.khanacademy.org/about: