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Khan Academy for iPad: This App Can Change Your Kid’s Life

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The new Khan Academy for iPad app is the first app I recommend installing on your iPad before letting your kid play with it. Why? Because it’s a glimpse at the future of education and they might actually enjoy academics for once. This app is reason enough to spend $500 on a new iPad if your child is a visual learner.

The Khan Academy is a non-profit organization with the mission to provide a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. Founded by MIT and Harvard graduate Sal Khan, the academy provides more than 3,000 video lessons in math, science, history and other subjects. Videos can be downloaded to the iPad so students can watch them anywhere. The Khan Academy emphasizes math, a subject millions of children struggle with.

The real magic to the Khan Academy is that kids (and adults) can learn at their own pace, which means they can review subjects they’re struggling with or start learning geometry a few years early if they’re the smartest kid in the class.

So how can the Khan Academy change a kid’s life? Just watch this 60 Minutes  video, which details how some students are doing in a pilot program that brings the videos and exercise into the classroom. Using the academy’s app and videos to catch up to classmates or excel can be the difference between making it to college or not.

Want to learn about probability? There are 53 videos ranging from the basics of flipping coins all the way up to Expected Value of Binomial Distribution.

So why does a Khan Academy iPad app matter so much? Because kids love iPads and they associate them with more fun things, such as games, movies and music. Some people learn in different ways and some children are limited by their teachers’ and peers’ abilities. If you want to take your children’s education into your own hands the Khan Academy is a great first step. If these lessons are good enough for Bill Gates’ kids, they’re probably good enough for yours.

Simply throwing an iPad and the Khan Academy to your kid and walking away isn’t the answer. Instead, it’s important to track how your child is performing and coaching them along with the academy’s online tools.  The Khan Academy iPad app doesn’t provide access to the Khan Academy exercises, but the functionality is coming soon. You can complete exercises on a full Web browser until then.

The Khan Academy app is available for free in the Apple App Store.

Xavier Lanier is the publisher of Gotta Be Mobile and a photographer. He uses too many devices to count, but his current favorites are the iPhone 5s, HTC One, Nikon D800 and Sony RX 100M II. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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