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A tutor for every student and assistant for every teacher? This education innovator is working to make it a reality

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A tutor for every student and assistant for every teacher? This education innovator is working to make it a reality.

Groundbreaking educator Sal Khan wants to revolutionize education — using AI.

Sal Khan speaking on stage at a conference hosted by Stand Together.

No two students are the same. Some excel in certain subject areas or learning environments, others may need more time to master a skill. Teachers have always known that meeting the individual needs of each student can accelerate learning. 

Many of them have been heroic in their efforts to try to do this in classrooms of 30 or more students. However, it’s challenging for even the most passionate and dedicated teacher to personalize learning for every student. What’s more, teachers today often say they feel like they’re forced to “teach to the middle” — with a portion of students left unchallenged and others falling behind.  

Nothing can replace the power of personal attention in learning. But AI is unlocking new ways to learn and teach at a scale only dreamed about before.  

That’s why Stand Together Trust, a leader in education innovation, is entering a $20-million, multi-year partnership with groundbreaking educator Sal Khan and the Khan community to support revolutionizing education with personalized education technology, particularly the power of artificial intelligence. Khan is a longtime partner of Stand Together Trust and the founder of Khan Academy, Khan Lab School, and Schoolhouse.world — learning options that have transformed education by leveraging the power of the internet for students and teachers.   

Khan Academy is one of the most innovative organizations in K-12 education — with more than 160 million registered users in 90 countries (54 million of those users in 2022-2023 were in the United States alone). The Khan brand is trusted by families, teachers and administrators with a 15-year track record of providing personalized education to students around the world. 

“Our mission has always been free world-class education for anyone, anywhere,” Khan says. “And the only reason why we could even say that with a straight face 15 years ago was because of the internet, was because of on-demand video, because of software.” 

Now, AI is taking Khan Academy’s efforts to the next level. 

Unleashing the power of AI to accelerate personalized learning 

Previously, when students had nuanced questions while learning, it could be hard to get help in the moment when they needed it most. Now, through the innovation of Khanmigo — a pilot AI-powered education tool — personalized tutoring can be available to students who wouldn’t otherwise have it. Khanmigo also acts as an assistant for teachers, saving them valuable time and helping them get to instructional action in seconds. 

Launched at the same time as GPT-4 in March 2023, Khanmigo was piloted in the spring term by hundreds of students and teachers in mainstream public schools and Khan School settings. By fall 2023, more than 28,000 teachers and students were participating in the pilot.   

The expectation? That Khanmigo guides students, fostering a deeper understanding of concepts and skills. At the same time, teachers can use Khanmigo to get instantaneous insights into student learning.  

When a student asks a question, instead of simply supplying the answer, Khanmigo is a guide on the side for learners — asking questions like, “What do you think is the next step to solving the problem?” When it notices a mistake, it can draw attention to it by asking, “Can you explain your reasoning here?” — with the aim to guide the student toward the right path again. 
 

Screenshot of the Khanmigo platform
Khanmigo gives students prompts, not answers.

 

Khanmigo can also help students gain a deeper understanding of lessons using interactive exercises, such as chatting with a historical or literary character, writing a story with Khanmigo (but it won’t write a story for them!), or debating with the program to refine their arguments before participating in a debate in real life.  

As an AI-powered co-teacher, Khanmigo aids educators by saving them time. For example, it can help write lesson plans or a class newsletter. Sal Khan’s vision is that AI doesn’t replace teachers but instead frees up teachers to focus on the very human work of instructing a classroom full of kids. 

AI technology is evolving rapidly and scaling quickly. Educational leaders are interested in introducing AI to their students because they recognize it will shape their students’ future educational and economic opportunities, but they aren’t sure how to do that in a way that advances rather than undermines learning. 

With Khanmigo, Khan Academy is proving to be the trusted partner to help navigate what the technology can and cannot do. It’s developing innovative ideas for implementation and setting the standard for how AI is used in education. Educators, students, and parents can now begin to harness the power of personalization and learn to optimize the new technology to unleash customized education at scale.

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A partnership built on shared vision and respect for learners, educators, and families

For years, Stand Together Trust and its partners, including Khan, have been rapidly transforming education in America by making it more personalized. With more than 4,200 education ventures funded since 2020, reaching more than 16 million students in America, it’s become clear —the United States has entered a new era of education.  
 

Two students learning with Khan Academy
Students need to keep up with technology to secure their future education and economic opportunities. Khan Academy is setting a standard for how AI is used in education.

 

The Stand Together Trust partnership with Khan will accelerate Khan’s two tracks of solutions to transform education.  

  • Stand Together Trust’s support will aid the expansion of some of Khan’s key offerings that empower individualization, such as the development of more free, high-quality, supplemental, mastery-based content on Khan Academy; free, live, peer-to-peer tutoring on Schoolhouse.world; and AI-powered tutoring with Khanmigo.  
  • Stand Together Trust is also excited to support the launch of a new entity, Khan Schools Network, which will be a resource for communities looking to start their own innovative school or gain access to mastery-based tools and curriculum.  

Research indicates that American families are eager for additional resources to customize education for their students. According to a report released by Tyton Partners and funded by Stand Together Trust and the Walton Family Foundation: 

  • 52% of parents now prefer to direct and curate their child’s education rather than rely on their local school system.  
  • More than 70% of parents are interested in new in- and out-of-school programs. 

Khan Academy’s plethora of learning opportunities offer ample opportunities to meet these desires and support educators with the resources to implement new learning options. 

“Stand Together Trust is excited to continue our partnership with Khan Academy to give families the freedom, flexibility, and confidence to pick and choose and supplement the education that works best for their individual children,” said Derek Johnson, executive director, Stand Together Trust. “Stand Together Trust and Sal Khan share a vision for education that transforms the status quo so that every learner, parent, teacher, microschool, homeschool, public school, or school district can access a truly world-class, mastery-based education.” 

What is in the Khan education vision?  

There have been more than 50 studies that explored the efficacy of the Khan education vision. Here are just a few of the promising findings.  

  • Students who used MAP for 30 minutes or more per week saw better MAP Growth math scores compared to students who used MAP Accelerator for less time. MAP Accelerator is an online, personalized learning tool that connects students with lessons, instructional videos, and practice problems specific to areas of growth identified through the program. Students who used Khan Academy via MAP Accelerator at this usage for a school year exceeded academic growth by 26%-38%. Students who used Khan Academy via MAP Accelerator at this usage for a school year exceeded academic growth by 26%-38%. Students who used Khan Academy via MAP Accelerator at this usage for a school year exceeded academic growth by 26%-38%.  
  • When Khan Academy was integrated for one class per week, students gained an additional 22 points on the Smarter Balanced Mathematics Assessment scale score compared to those who did not use Khan Academy, according to a study of 5,000 middle school math students. 
  • Six or more hours of Khan Academy test practice is associated with an average 39-point increase in SAT scores.  

 

Photo of Sal Khan
Sal Khan’s vision for education has been innovative — expanding personalized education to students with resources to support educators and parents, too.

 

Khan Academy’s proven online learning platform offers free, high-quality, standards-aligned supplemental learning resources — practice questions, quizzes, articles, and instructional videos — that cover preschool through early college academic subjects with a focus on math and science. The platform facilitates mastery learning, which allows a student to work on a concept at their own pace and fill in any previous gaps in their understanding until they have thoroughly learned that concept and are ready to progress to the next topic.  

Khan Academy Districts is one of the most scalable and impactful opportunities for public school systems. Khan Academy Districts provides school districts with support systems — such as school-level and district-level reporting, instructional tools for teachers, and high-quality content— to help every student reach grade-level learning success. This includes support for Khanmigo implementation as a virtual assistant to teachers and students. The program currently serves more than 400 communities and 900,000 students across the country. Expanding the number of district partnerships has the power and potential to provide personalized, mastery-based education to millions of students across the United States.  

Schoolhouse.world is a non-profit startup co-founded by Sal Khan in 2020 with the mission of connecting the world through learning. The peer tutoring platform empowers learners everywhere with free online tutoring over Zoom. Over 50,000 students from 150 countries have been tutored on Schoolhouse by 8,000 volunteer tutors, many of whom are high schoolers themselves. Schoolhouse has partnered with 10 state departments of education and 15 universities to expand access to free tutoring. 

Khan Lab School (KLS), founded in 2014 by Sal Khan, is an innovative K-12 institution nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley. This mastery-based school focuses on learning outcomes that matter most and evaluates student growth with meaningful metrics rather than traditional letter grades. Functioning as a hub for educational innovation, Khan Lab School is at the forefront of developing educational materials and methodologies that set a new benchmark for educational best practices. Khan Lab School is an incubator that spins out new programs and also provides a test environment for products such as Khan Academy’s Khanmigo.  

Khan Schools Network (KSN), established in 2023, is an organization with a mission to: assist organizations that are interested in the creation of mastery-based schools through our school design and partner program; develop and share open source mastery-based educational resources, including curriculum, instructional materials, and a school design playbook; and to actively engage in research and development endeavors, particularly those with scalable goals, in collaboration with our partners. We believe that every student has the potential to succeed both academically and personally under the right conditions and we care most about creating systems that enable any young person to develop the knowledge, skills, character, and self-reflective learning approaches they need to lead purposeful lives.   

Khanmigo is a pilot AI-powered tutor for students and assistant for teachers. Khanmigo interacts with students by prompting students with guiding questions, identifying and filling in individual learning gaps, and directing students toward helpful material. The tool is also a personal assistant for every teacher, co-creating lesson plans, suggesting interactive classroom activities, and providing continuous, real-time data on student progress, so teachers have time to focus on what matters most — their students.  

The Khan community is supported by Stand Together Trust, which provides funding and strategic capabilities to innovators, scholars, and social entrepreneurs to develop new and better ways to tackle America’s biggest problems. 

Learn more about Stand Together’s education efforts, and explore ways you can partner with us. 

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