Jun 20, 2017

How Khan Academy is changing futures of Bulgarian kids

Our team at Sofia Science Festival 2017
Our team at Sofia Science Festival 2017

Dear Friends,

Last three months were really successful for Education Without Backpacks. After we invested much time and efforts in various negotiations and project applications in the last 1.5 years, in April and May 2017 we got approved for three new grants! They will build upon what we’ve accomplished through your help and will further our efforts to translate and implement Khan Academy in Bulgarian. Meanwhile, our usage continues growing 50% year on year.

But before we tell you more, here is a story we’d love to share with you:

Changing futures, one Khan Academy exercise at a time

As we track the interactions of thousands of learners with the Bulgarian Khan Academy, we try to meet as many of them as possible. Some stories inspire us and others exceed our wildest dreams! We will keep bringing those stories to you.

Mimi (not her real name) is a clever 14-year-old. Daniel from our team has been studying math with her remotely for 3 months and her dedication to the work has increased significantly in this period. She is intelligent and learns fast - when she decides to. She still skips Math class in school and still doesn't feel well adjusted to her environment. And that makes sense - she's been living in foster homes for years and that clearly affects her learning habits. But Mimi is stronger than her past and her confidence grows with each solved exercise.

Daniel about Mimi:

She also has a strong personality. For example, she would challenge me during each meeting: on whether I know interesting people; on whether math can make you rich; or on whether an exercise is "possible". It's hard to keep up with an intelligent girl like her, but so far: I've sent her a signed picture from a Bulgarian hip hop star; I've shared different career paths with her; and we've seen that everything can be learned with enough effort!”

But let’s focus on the job: learning math. Her results on Khan Academy: 15 unique days of solving exercises, 35 exercised skills, 537 minutes of studying, good progress with percentages, reading data, triangle areas, etc., and some struggles with measuring arcs and negative numbers ... 23 580 energy points.

We are sure Mimi has a bright future, as long as she keeps getting emotional support. As for math - after working with Khan Academy Daniel has no doubt that she gets it!

Below you can see a Khan Academy report about Mimi’s exercised skills: we’ve kept the report on Bulgarian, because that is the cause of our project!

Where else we reached learners and educators - a brief summary

Upon an invitation by the regional education governing authority, in March we took part in a training of 50 teachers from North-West Bulgaria - who are now aware of Khan Academy as a great tool for their work. We also presented Khan Academy at the Innovation in Education Forum in the city of Blagoevgrad. And we presented the platform at the exhibition accompanying the Education for Professions of the Future Forum in April 2017, attended by hundreds of Bulgarian teachers and educational experts.

Whole school classes, as well as individual learners and their parents, could talk with our team and try out Khan Academy in Bulgarian at the great annual Sofia Science Festival, where we participated on four consecutive days in May 2017.

With the beginning of the new school year in the autumn, we will start a pilot implementation of Khan Academy in two Sofia schools. This project will be funded by the Europe Program of Sofia Municipality. The mayor of Sofia personally handed us the agreement during an official ceremony, as our project was rated best among all project applications in our category.

State of the translation effort today

During the past 3 months we provided more translated content that is now available for all teachers and learners and for promotional initiatives like the above:

  • We translated more than 500 000 words of text lessons and exercises, and
  • edited more than 160 000 words of translated texts and 110 subtitled videos.

And other significant news: Since May 2017, for all remaining translations, editing and quality control of Math and Computing content (and for many connected activities) we can rely on the partnership and the generous financial support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation.

Furthermore, the Community Board of Telus International Europe will support us to translate video lessons in Biology.

Still, much other Khan Academy content across higher Math, humanities and others is not yet available in Bulgarian. And thousands of schools remain out of direct reach. We still need your support. Donate an amount of your choice, devote your donation to a person you love or make it a gift, ask your colleagues or friends to start a monthly donation or just spread the word. For example, a couple of our friends posted on Facebook that for their birthdays they prefer donations to Khan Academy rather than personal gifts.

Thank you!

The Education Without Backpacks team

Sofia mayor welcomes new KA project in 2 school
Sofia mayor welcomes new KA project in 2 school
KA report about Mimi's exercised skills
KA report about Mimi's exercised skills
@ Education for Professions of the Future Forum
@ Education for Professions of the Future Forum
Presenting KA to teachers from North-West Bulgaria
Presenting KA to teachers from North-West Bulgaria

Links:

Mar 23, 2017

A wonderful start of the year for Khan Academy in Bulgaria - thanks to you!

Khan Academy Presentation in Ruse
Khan Academy Presentation in Ruse

Dear Friends,

The first months of 2017 brought a growing interest towards Khan Academy in Bulgarian! We are happy to report that your support for free, world-class education is reaching more and more Bulgarian kids, as well as their teachers and parents. While you invest in our efforts on translation and quality control of the educational resources, we also succeed in promoting it to its end users.

But before we get into our detailed activities, here is a story we’d love to share with you:

A pleasant surprise at Varna’s 7th Public School

In early March our executive director visited 7th Public School in Varna to present Khan Academy to teachers. But we didn’t know that our hosts had an interesting surprise for us: One of the math teachers and her students have a club for fun mathematics where they developed their own “virtual classroom”. Here is how the students devised interactive lessons: combining several digital technologies they created posters for specific math problems and connected them in a special mobile phone app to the relevant Khan Academy video lessons. Everyone in class just loved it! While we had already heard about this interesting invention on a Bulgarian National TV channel several weeks before, we now got a personal demo from the school principal and  a math teacher. We love to hear how students and teachers get inspired and expand Khan Academy in their own ways!

Stay tuned for the next report, when Daniel from our team will share the latest challenges and achievements of his new students.

What else we organized, where else we reached learners and educators - a brief summary

In January, we co-organized a teacher training with Sofia University. Then as a follow-up we were invited by the regional education governing authority to present Khan Academy to 70 teachers from North-West Bulgaria. We participated in two social events, in Ruse and in Sofia, where we presented Khan Academy to a broader, diverse audience. We were invited to talk about the platform as innovation for schools on a high-level policy event. We also co-created the strategy of the national coalition Education 2030: under its umbrella, state and local authorities, leading NGOs and the business sector join efforts to promote education as priority #1 for the Bulgarian society. Last, but not least, we received a special award from Sofia Municipality & Coca-Cola for our idea to engage high school students as volunteers in Khan Academy’s translation, to let them spread the word about the platform and even mentor our students.

State of the translation effort today

Thanks to your generous contributions, during the past 3 months we translated more than:

  • 260 000 words of text lessons and exercises,
  • 220 videos,
  • edited more than 380 000 words of translated texts and
  • started video editing.

We also renewed our efforts on dubbing already-translated videos.

And our reach is growing!

Since the beginning of the year:

  • the test version of Khan Academy in Bulgarian had 23 000 visitors (+ 41% YoY.),
  • the total number of browsed pages is 127 000 (+ 35%),
  • in 35 000 sessions (+ 45%)
  • Our YouTube channel with dubbed videos KhanAcademyBulgarian had 15 300 video views (+ 31%).

Thank you for making this possible!

Finally, as you know, we still have a lot to do so that more subjects are available in Bulgarian on Khan Academy. We still need your support to give equal educational opportunities to all kids in Bulgaria. Donate an amount of your choice, devote your donation to a person you love and make it a gift, ask your colleagues or friends to start a monthly donation or just spread the word. It all counts towards a better tomorrow.

 

Thank you!

The Education Without Backpacks team

A Varna student in front of TV camera
A Varna student in front of TV camera
7th Public School principal's demo in Varna
7th Public School principal's demo in Varna
Strategy Meeting Education2030
Strategy Meeting Education2030
Award by Sofia Municipality & Coca-Cola
Award by Sofia Municipality & Coca-Cola

Links:

Dec 29, 2016

Successful end of the year with your support for free world-class education for Bulgarian children

Kristian - a gold medalist in Linguistics
Kristian - a gold medalist in Linguistics

Dear Friends,

With the end of the year approaching we would like to share with you more from the exciting and inspiring meetings we had in the recent months. You will also find details of our December work at the end of this report.

Kristian - a gold medalist in Linguistics

We met Kristian at the annual Education 2016 conference in Sofia in late October. He won a gold medal at the 2016 International Linguistics Olympiad in Mysore, India. The 173 participating students from 30 countries worked out problems via linguistic analysis and phenomena represented by mathematical models.

Kristian came to us and shared his experience of looking for the best studying resources:

“I used Khan Academy to prepare my math skills. The explanations are simple and intuitive. Khan Academy is a great supplement to what we learn at school. The content is engrossing, even a 'page turner', and a great way to get excited about specific school subjects.”

We are so proud and happy of his achievement and successful use of  Khan Academy’s Math lessons!

Alex and Daniel - growing from being bored by to being strongly engaged with Math

One of our commitments is to broaden adoption of Khan Academy in Bulgaria. Part of that is working with kids one-on-one, including those bored in the classroom and needing engagement, for example with math, at their own pace.

Alex is a Bulgarian third-grader. Here is what he says after 5 weeks and 200 000 Energy Points with Khan Academy:

“In Khan Academy my teacher gives me challenges and I am very happy when I manage to solve the challenges. I win badges and energy points! I want to win Black hole and Sun badges – they are very rare and mysterious. I really like the smiley face after every solved problem. It is sometimes hard, but I end up getting it by watching the video lesson or by using the hint.”

Daniel, a Khan Academy coach and a member of the core Bulgarian team, likes how easy it is to help the kid:

“We skype with my 10-year-old student once a week and I can easily track his progress in Khan Academy’s Coach Dashboard. Our conversations are just 30 minutes, but still allow us to cover everything he needs to move on - topics range from details of math problems to why math matters. The kid does the actual learning on his own!”

We hope these stories charge you with positive emotions and confidence about what can be achieved with Khan Academy. Each of us can remember a story from school when a teacher really inspired us or gave us the tools to succeed. We hope to give back now! We believe that all children can achieve amazing results if we give them an opportunity and an appropriate tool!

State of the effort today

Thanks to your generous contributions, during the past 9 months we translated over a million words of text lessons and exercises and hundreds of videos, and checked many of the translated texts. But we have a long way to go. We continue to count on you to support us in the translation of Khan Academy and to give more Bulgarian children opportunity to learn in their native language so they have their personal stories of success!

Donate an amount of your choice, devote your donation to a person you love and make it a gift, ask your colleagues or friends to start a monthly donation or just spread the word.

What we have been up to in the last days - in figures

Just in the last 30 days we edited more than 300 000 words and initiated 80 new subtitles translations to be finished by the end of December.   

The users of the test version of Khan Academy in Bulgarian bg.khanacademy.org continue to grow and to use the platform more! Since the last report from the beginning of December:

  • the site had 4 980 visitors (+ 63,98% in comparison to the same period last year),
  • the total number of browsed pages is 30 161 (+ 64,44%),
  • in 6 999 sessions (+ 67,32%).

Our YouTube channel with dubbed videos KhanAcademyBulgarian had 3 365 video views (+ 63%).

Thank you for making this possible and for your continuing support (monthly donations get matched at 200% while funds remain through the end of the year)!

With best wishes for a wonderful Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year,

Education without Backpacks team

EwB at Bulgarian Academy of Science seminar
EwB at Bulgarian Academy of Science seminar
Newly translated video lesson
Newly translated video lesson

Links:

 
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