Ever since quitting his job as a successful hedge-fund analyst two years ago to dedicate himself full time to this labor of love, Khan has managed to win fans worldwide and goad skeptical educators.
His simply narrated, faceless home videos on everything from algebra to French history have been viewed half a billion times. Last year, a number of schools began “flipping” their classrooms, having students study Khan videos by night and do homework with teachers by day.
In the process, Khan has fueled the debate over tech’s growing influence on education while garnering the support of powerful friends.
“At 3,000 lessons online, Sal’s personal ability as a teacher is remarkable,” says Bill Gates, whose mention of Khan Academy at a conference in Aspen, Colo., in 2010 put the website on the map. “Bringing this kind of creativity and new assessment tools for teachers could make a profoundly positive difference in education.”