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  • (music)

  • Jeff: I want to start by introducing Sal.

  • He really needs no introduction,

  • particularly for a group that's this passionate

  • about education, but as you all know,

  • In day is about transformation

  • and we love to be able to welcome folks

  • who I think are illustrative of true transformation

  • and Sal is absolutely an example of that

  • within the realm of education,

  • which is something all of us here are so passionate about.

  • So, for those that don't know,

  • I've been interested in education reform

  • and I may have to amend that.

  • I love the title of your TED talk, which is Reinvention,

  • Reinventing education because I think at this point we need reinvention.

  • I don't think reform is going to get it done.

  • I may have borrowed that line from Sal,

  • but I've been interested in education reform and reinvention

  • really since back graduating high school and at the time

  • was thinking about the best way to make a difference

  • and thought about going into teaching,

  • thought about administration,

  • thought about getting involved in public education

  • in some regard and the other alternative was going into business.

  • And people oftentimes say,

  • "Well, how can you go into business

  • and make a difference in terms of education?"

  • And the belief, the thesis was, amass enough influence and resource

  • where I'd ultimately have the chance to do that.

  • And long story short, being in business

  • led to meeting and extraordinary guy named Charles Best,

  • who's the founder and CEO of donorschoose.org,

  • which is a philanthropic marketplace for teachers

  • very close to my heart and being in business

  • brought me to TED this year and I had

  • the extraordinary privilege to see Sal Khan,

  • the founder of The Khan Academy, give a TED Talk

  • that literally brought the house down.

  • So, for all the talks that I was in attendance for

  • and there was some wonderful talks,

  • this talk that Sal gave literally lit the place up.

  • People were vibrating with energy on what was possible

  • because I think there was a lot of people

  • in the audience that day who know how challenging

  • it's going to be to make a difference

  • in terms of education.

  • For those of you in the audience who have

  • committed some of your time and energy,

  • you know that's the case and the reason

  • I wanted Sal to be here today was because,

  • to a large extent, and this may be a big statement,

  • I think he may have cracked the code.

  • I think he may have secretly cracked the code

  • on how we can improve education.

  • So, long story short, I think you all know by now,

  • but Sal was in the hedge fund business

  • and was asked to help out, it was your cousins?

  • Sal: Cousins.

  • Jeff: Your cousins with some math questions

  • they had, so did a YouTube video

  • and they raved about it and he'll tell you

  • a little bit more about the feedback he got

  • that was the impetus to do more and, of course,

  • fast forward today, he's got over 2,200 12 minute videos

  • from everything, algebra to American history

  • and it's helping people learn in ways

  • that were really unimaginable before the web came along.

  • And it's gone way beyond that, so there's a back-end system

  • that he and his team have put together

  • that, for lack of a better term, I'd say

  • has created a true adaptive learning platform

  • that's going to scale and we're going to talk

  • a little bit about that and if he doesn't mention it

  • one of my favorite Q and A parts of the entire TED conference

  • was an exchange between Bill Gates and Sal.

  • So, with that, how about a huge round of applause for Sal Khan.

  • (applause)

  • Welcoming him to LinkedIn and Sal,

  • I'm going to ask him a few questions to get started

  • and he'll talk a little bit, but we'd really love

  • for this to be a brainstorming session.

  • I think we've got a lot of incredible talent in the audience

  • We're going to be recording this so potentially

  • we can inspire some folks who are going

  • to see this remotely at some point

  • and maybe they can get involved too.

  • So, let's start with the beginning.

  • I know most people here saw the video,

  • but just talk a little bit about Khan Academy came to be.

  • Sal: Yeah, it was literally, as you mentioned

  • and I'm sure some of you all know,

  • I was an analyst at a hedge fund in Boston in 2000-

  • this is 2004, fall 2004 and my cousin and her family,

  • her two younger brothers, my aunt and uncle came

  • and visited me in Boston right after our wedding.

  • Our wedding was in New Jersey and they came up

  • to just kind of tour the sights and actually,

  • while we were touring Boston, it was the fourth of July weekend

  • and I remember while we were waiting for the fireworks

  • to start over the Charles, I would kind of give them my battery

  • of brain teasers that I use just as a time killer.

  • I'm sure you probably all use them as interview questions and what not.

  • (laughter)

  • They're very good, interview-

  • And I remember, Nadia, who was 12 at the time was super engaged.

  • Most people when you give them brain teasers like this,

  • my aunt and uncle, everyone else were like,

  • "What's the answer?"

  • But Nadia was like, "No, don't tell me the answer!"

  • And she would like walk out and these were hard,

  • CSE logic problems, 100 people who can't see -

  • There's all sorts of crazy things and I was really impressed.

  • The next day we were touring MIT and in front of the whole family,

  • I said, "Nadia, you should think about MIT.

  • "I saw you've got some skills," and she didn't pay -

  • My aunt, her mother, gave my uncle this weird look when I said that.

  • I didn't make much of it and then the next morning

  • (unintelligible) who is Nadia's mom told me,

  • "That's really nice what you said about Nadia yesterday,

  • "but she's actually being tracked into a slower,

  • "not even the regular algebra track."

  • I was like, "That's impossible."

  • One, I saw what she did two nights ago

  • and we share a certain amount of DNA. (laughter)

  • When Nadia woke up, I said,

  • "Hey, Nadia, I don't believe this placement exam.

  • "What was the problem?"

  • She said it was units.

  • I was like, "Two nights ago you were tackling stuff

  • "that's a million times harder than units.

  • "What do you say when you go back to New Orleans

  • "we get on Yahoo Doodle and speaker phone

  • "and if you're willing to do a little bit of extra work,

  • "I'm willing to spend half an hour an evening with you,"

  • and she was up for it, so that was the genesis.

  • Jeff: You referred during your TED talk to what made it so effective.

  • Half-jokingly that they liked you better in video

  • than they did in real life.

  • Sal: Non-jokingly, actually.

  • Jeff: In all seriousness.

  • Talk a little bit about the magic of what you did

  • and the efficacy and how you built on it from there.

  • Sal: It all started where I left off.

  • I started tutoring Nadia kind of live, but remotely.

  • Then I started tutoring her brothers and the whole time

  • I just had a doodle note board and speaker phone.

  • She only heard me, she didn't see me,

  • and we just saw the same thing that each of us were writing.

  • Fast forward about two years, so now we're going

  • into November of 2006, I was having trouble scaling.

  • The first time you give a lecture on the greatest common divisor

  • it's kind of fun, the 20th time it kind of sucks.

  • How do I do this?

  • It was actually a buddy that recommended

  • that I put it up on YouTube, which I was very dismissive of at first.

  • That's for dogs on skateboards, that's not for serious mathematics.

  • When I got over the idea that it wasn't my idea,

  • I decided to give it a shot and it was interesting,

  • because I was like, "Okay, how do I do this?"

  • "I don't have a video camera, should I go get one?"

  • I was like, "No, because that would cost money."

  • With Nadia, we just had this screen going,

  • so there must be some type of software that captures a screen.

  • I didn't even know there were screen capture software existed.

  • I did a web search, I found some freeware that did it,

  • and I needed an art program.

  • I only used Microsoft Paint for the first 500 videos

  • and just started doing it and when I put those first videos up,

  • the first collection of videos, 20 or 30 videos,

  • my cousins literally did tell me that they preferred me

  • on YouTube than in person.

  • I think there's a lot of things.