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Don't always trust the technology - student activity listed is not always 100% accurate

As a teacher, parent and coach you will most likely be using KA to assign work, homework and monitoring your student's progress through the activity report.  Don’t make the mistake of believing that technology is infallible.  Your coach report is designed to be a good gauge of amount of work put in and skill, but any instrumental reading is liable to errors and manipulations. Use your common sense and do not rely on the reports without qualification. 

At one end of the spectrum you have students that cannot document compliance or proficiency because of technological errors.  Videos may not record as watched even after several viewings.  Time spent on activities and achievements may register partially or not at all. While “computer trouble” can be the equivalent of “the dog ate my homework”, troublesome computers happen to be a lot more common than paper eating dogs. Sometimes a student may be unable to work on parts or even all of his/her mission for days. Have a strategy ready if this should happen. Let your students know that there is a back-up plan if equipment or software fails. Encourage students to file error reports to the Help center at https://khanacademy.zendesk.com/hc/en-us or directly on the exercise or video page. Help them do so if necessary.

At the other end you have students that knowingly exploit what they see as loopholes. Remember that Khan academy was set up to help people learn, not as an online examination board.  The philosophy is that cheaters mostly fool themselves. Unfortunately teachers/coaches/parents may be taken in too. That is why you need to check independently what your student is actually learning. Even inexperienced users often figure out how to maximize points for a minimum of effort, earn badges they should not have had, or obtain hints without their account showing signs of it.  Sometimes the student is simply taking advantage of the different ways to review a subject while learning.  At other times this is done through old fashioned deceit.  Ultimately, if you have not seen the students working on a problem you do not even know who typed in the answer.  

Khan academy recognizes that some students need hints during the learning process. When testing their knowledge, however, this should be done in a manner which precludes looking up the answer or the method for solving the problem. In plain words this means you need to be physically there to observe the student behaviour.

August 05 2014

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