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Next Steps with Khan Academy & OLPC: Translations, Sugar Activities, and Etoys Videos

June 6, 2011

I’ve seen a lot of really good comments and ideas since first publishing The Khan Academy post. It’s an awesome feeling to be part of such a knowledgeable and forward-thinking community. After reading all your thoughts for hours on end I start to feel like Neo getting knowledge directly uploaded to his brain via direct injection.

I know Kung Fu.

Yes…I am a nerd.

Moving on. There are two main goals we have here:

1) Increasing Quantity/Quality of Access
2) Increasing Quantity/Quality of Content.

These goals are complementary, as better Quantity/Quality of Content will raise pressure to increase Quantity/Quality Access and vice versa. This post will focus on the subject of Content.

Translations, Sugar Activities, and Etoys Videos

1. Translations
Translations seem to be the most frequently cited challenge concerning Khan Academy, so we need to make them a priority. OLPC is a vast network with the resources to help with this project. One of you said that there might be some barriers to entry for adding new translation work. Let’s contact Khan Academy and see how we can make sure that barrier is as low as possible to ensure maximum effectiveness.

2. Sugar Activities
Let’s get started on Khan Academy-based Sugar activities. Probably the best way to begin is to create activities modeled off the math practice sets KA already has on the website.

When designing new activities, it would be a good idea to pair up subject area experts with people familiar with role-playing videogames. Game players would probably have a knack for creating activities based on the level-up/reward system paradigm.

After math, I would say the next area that should be brought into textbook replacement style would be physics, since the Sugar already has a physics engine program.  A fully functioning physics Textbook Replacement would take some dedicated work but the end result would be a very big victory for the textbook replacement campaign. In addition, this would be great marketing. We want a subject the general populace doesn’t know a lot about but can learn through a fun system. Getting the people on board is a crucial step for this mission.

3. EToys Videos

Stephen Thomas has expressed interest in getting started on EToys tutorial videos if we can get him 100 topics. Whoever ends up working on that project, I suggest you take a look at a Playstation game called Little Big Planet. The game has a huge level designing system with excellent video tutorials. It’s definitely a style we should try to emulate if possible.


Good stuff. Looking forward to future ideas, comments, and criticisms!

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