New technology is developing faster than ever and the educational system needs to keep up. It is no surprise that platforms such as Khan Academy are among the first to embrace the inevitable change. Salman Khan is already exploring the potential for AI in a limited pilot: GPT4 is carefully adapted to Khan Academy’s learning environment to guide students as they progress through courses and to assist teachers with administrative tasks.
We, from “Education Without Backpacks”, are also giving our best to support teachers from Bulgaria and EU to dive into the world of artificial intelligence and gain ideas on how to leverage its strengths and manage the risks of platforms like ChatGPT. Learn more about our efforts below!
Supporting teachers and schools
The past few months have been highly productive as we engaged numerous teachers to explore the implementation of digital teaching practices and to familiarize themselves with the possibilities of AI in education.
On June 28th, together with our partners from Bibliothèques Sans Frontières Belgique, we are organizing a Khan4STEM webinar in English for teachers across Europe. Please, spread the word about our upcoming webinar "The Power of Smart Digitalization in Schools"!
*The project "KHAN4STEM: More effective and inclusive European Math and Science Teaching – supported by the internationalized work of European Khan Academy Advocates" is financed by Erasmus+ program of the European Commission, Key Activity 2. It is implemented by "Libraries Without Borders" (Belgium) and "Education Without Backpacks" (Bulgaria).
Spring Competitions with Khan Academy
More STEAM in Bulgarian schools
We launched 2 new Art History courses in Khan Academy, and now all students in Bulgaria can learn more about Art of Ancient Mediterranean and Europe, and Modern art in the XX century.
We also published 1 new math course on Khan Academy to help students prepare for free for the national math assessment after 7th grade. To be even more helpful for the students, we developed a list with additional content and resources at our site at obr.education
The 3 new courses came to life under the project “Arts and Math together – for more STEAM in Bulgarian schools with Khan Academy”, with the support of the US Embassy in Sofia. The project promotes free STEAM education for all Bulgarian students specifically through arts and math content on Khan Academy.
Khan Academy localization for the period February 2023 – April 2023
Thank you so much for your support!
And don't forget: #YouCanLearnAnything :)
Last month, our chairman Ivan Gospodinov gave a truly inspirational speech that reminded us yet again how important teachers are. They can be not only role models for their students, but also real superheroes who do much more than what is expected from them. This simple truth inspired us to focus our efforts even more on enabling teachers to help children reach their full potential, also through Khan Academy.
Education Without Backpacks’ first conference and Salman Khan’s first interview for the Bulgarian Audience
In October 2022, we held our first Annual Conference: “The Two Faces of Technology in Education: Stress and Progress”. Teachers, principals, the two previous ministers of education, representatives of the Ministry of Education and its structures, and the expert non-governmental sector in education participated in panel discussions and workshops on topics related to the smart, effective and balanced use of technology, as well as the risks and care for the mental health of teachers and students.
Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, also joined the event remotely. In his first interview for the Bulgarian audience, he discussed how high quality ed tech can help with the problem that teachers and students often focus more on grades than on deep learning. Sal emphasized on the importance of mastery learning and of the human factor in education. Khan Academy founder also talked about his personal experience with burnout and advised teachers to try meditation as a method that successfully helps dealing with stress.
“Mathematics is for everyone” – another national teachers conference and Ivan Gospodinov’s speech
On December 15, 2022, Vasil Levski School in Razgrad organized a National Conference "Mathematics is for everyone". The forum was focused on best pedagogical practices of mathematics education in junior high school. Marieta Radulova and Ivan Gospodinov from our team presented Khan Academy and Salman Khan’s story, and the various possibilities that the tool is giving to teachers and students.
The conference was part of a year-long project – within its framework, we were responsible for training the school team to implement Khan Academy and to help the 6th graders of the school to catch up on gaps in mathematics, especially after the pandemic. This project was awarded as a good practice by Prepodavame.bg and Teach for Bulgaria.
Khan Academy’s popularity is growing!
We are very excited to announce that we just welcomed Khan Academy’s first advertising billboard in Bulgaria, with more on their way! For this amazing opportunity, we are grateful to our generous partners from Omedi and Algorithmity, as well as to one of our long-term individual supporters.
Face to face communication is crucial when it comes to conveying the message of the importance of access to free word-class education. To better explain Khan Academy’s benefits to teachers and students, we participated in several key events as guest speakers, panelists, presenters, exhibitors, including OpenFest 2022, STEAM Shkolo pod para, “Mathematics is for everyone” national conference in Razgrad, VMWare’s Charity Bazaar, and more.
Khan Academy localization for the period October 2022 – January 2023
New content on Khan Academy – this autumn we published a brand new chemistry course aligned to the Bulgarian curriculum. We also curated and published our first Art history introductory course.
All this is possible thanks to your amazing support, as well as the support of our main partner, the America for Bulgaria Foundation, and other partners, such as the US Embassy in Sofia!
Thank you so much! #YouCanLearnAnything!
Innovation and tech are changing the world we live in and education has to adapt to this better and faster. We, from Education Without Backpacks, see this need and devote our work to aid Bulgarian children to receive a world-class education for FREE. In the past four months we were focused on popularizing Khan Academy in Bulgaria and all the new great content in it, and to further our effort in building a healthy cooperation with the Bulgarian Ministry of Education.
National online contests in Math, Computing and Ecology & Biology with Khan Academy - results
For a third consecutive year, from March to June 2022, we organized our National students' contests with Khan Academy. Thanks to our amazing sponsors from eMAG Bulgaria, we were able to award 60 hardworking students and engaged teachers! The contestants were from all over Bulgaria - big cities, small towns, even villages! This really is a great proof that Khan Academy is inspiring anyone anywhere. This year we made a special event to award the winners in the contest in Ecology & Biology. We joined efforts with the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, the Faculty of Biology of Sofia's University "St. Kliment Ohridski" and the “Sci-High” Foundation and together we organized the "Youth - for the Earth!" Festival. Apart from making it an unforgettable experience for our winners, we worked to increase the awareness and commitment of students and young people in Bulgaria on the topics of biodiversity conservation, prevention of environmental problems and adaptation to climate change
New initiatives and partnerships
“Arts and Math together - for more STEAM in Bulgarian schools with Khan Academy”
To enable students and teachers to learn/teach more about the arts and art history in an easily accessible, completely free way, we started the localization of Khan Academy Art History content. Initially, we started the translation process with some of our volunteers. After a successful grant application to the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria, we launched a project that promotes free STEAM education for all Bulgarian students specifically through arts and math content on Khan Academy. Under this partnership project, currently we are translating two big art history courses from Khan Academy - Ancient Mediterranean and Modernisms 1900-1980. Another goal of the project is to create a free preparational course in Khan Academy for grade 7th math exam that all students obligatorily pass in Bulgaria.
KHAN4STEM exchange project with Belgium aiming to support the digital readiness of teachers
In the summer we met with the team of Libraries Without Borders - our partner in the Erasmus+ project Khan4STEM and also a Khan Academy langage advocate in Belgium.
We exchanged ideas on creating a handbook for teachers: how to integrate educational technologies in their teaching and support other teacher colleagues to work with new digital tools and resources.
The project Khan4STEM: More effective and inclusive European Math and Science Teaching - supported by the internationalized work of European Khan Academy Advocates - is financed by Erasmus+ program of the European Commission under Key activity 2.
Cooperation with the Ministry of Education on a new national online platform “Digital Backpack”
During the summer our team was consulting and supporting the Ministry of Education of Bulgaria for a new national platform which will be released and available for free for all schools in Bulgaria. We had cooperated with almost 90 teachers throughout Bulgaria for a complicated and important task. We hope that all teachers and students in the country will benefit from this new online platform.
New Khan Academy tool for Bulgarian teachers - LearnStorm
In October the LearnStorm tracker on Khan Academy will be available for all Bulgarian teachers! The tool helps to motivate the students on any task the teacher assigns them - whether they're completing assignments or practicing skills to reach a Mastery goal in a course, their progress will be measured by the tool.
This tool celebrates team success - we hope it will encourage students to achieve common learning goals and master more and more skills!.
New content on Khan Academy - this summer we published two new courses in Bulgarian - Computers and the Internet and Finance and Capital Markets, both of them translated entirely by volunteers!
Khan Academy localization for the period June 2022 – September 2022
All this is possible thanks to the support of partners like the America for Bulgaria Foundation and the US Embassy in Sofia, as well as all your support!
Thank you so much! #YouCanLearnAnything!
When learning is fun and engaging, students are more willing to get involved in the process. With the final school exams approaching, it’s easy to forget this simple truth. Therefore one of our goals in the past four months was to remind both teachers and students that learning can be an enjoyable and a memorable experience!
National online competitions with Khan Academy
For yet another year, we engaged students to participate in our fun online competitions with Khan Academy! From the beginning of March until the end of May more than 600 young contestants from different parts of Bulgaria had the chance to develop their skills in Mathematics, Computing, Biology and Ecology. Thanks to our amazing sponsors from eMAG Bulgaria and other companies, more than 60 prizes will be given away to the lucky winners and the most involved teachers.
“Become an advocate for Earth with Khan Academy!”
In the past three months, together with Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, we organized the awareness campaign “Become an advocate for Earth with Khan Academy”. Our goal was to make global ecology and climate related issues more approachable and more relatable to Bulgarian students and young people, and to offer to the wider audience fun and engaging activities with cause.
We interviewed live on Facebook and Instagram 13 people - experts, professionals, teachers, and students in the fields of Ecology and Biology. We learned a lot of useful information, for example the correct way to dispose of plastic bags (only when absolutely necessary, of course). And we also had a lot of fun - we even met with bears! How cool is that?
If you missed our campaign and you want to learn more about climate change, check the recorded videos (in Bulgarian) on our YouTube channel KhanAcademyBulgarian.
National and international recognition
At the Fifth Annual Awards “The Heroes”, organized by TimeHeroes (local platform connecting volunteers and diverse causes), our team won the award for Good Practices in the “Organizations” category. And just a few months later, it was brought to our attention by Khan Academy US that our hardworking translator and proofreader Sevdalina was third in the international rank list of Khan translators for her amazing results - for 2021 she translated and proofread more than one million words!
We are indeed very proud of our entire team!
“Mathematics is for everyone” project
We are working with the team of Vasil Levski School in Razgrad and Inbyte Ltd. The aim of the project is to help 6th grade students catch up on gaps in Math, accumulated during the pandemic.
We trained the school team to work with Khan Academy and consulted them on some of the best practices in integrating digital tools in the teachers' work. The children are enthusiastic and work with Khan every week. We will share with you their progress at the end of the project.
KHAN4STEM exchange project with Belgium
We started a formal collaboration with Libraries Without Borders, Belgium (part of the Khan Academy Language Advocates Community) for the Erasmus+ project “More effective and inclusive European Math and Science Teaching - supported by the internationalised work of European Khan Academy Advocates”. In the next 2 years, we will exchange experience on Khan Academy localization and teacher trainings, as well as support the digital readiness of teachers in Europe.
Free educational resources for Ukrainian children
To support Ukrainian children, families, and teachers in these challenging times, we decided to collect in one place all available resources in Ukrainian, Russian, English and Bulgarian for students to use for free. Our list with resources was widely reposted by various national and international organizations and media.
Khan Academy usage growth
For the past 4 months, February 2022 – May 2022, we had:
Khan Academy localization for the period February 2022 – May 2022
Conten experts' work:
All this is possible thanks to the support of our main partner - the America for Bulgaria Foundation, as well as all your support!
We hope that you are pleased with our achievements. We couldn’t have done it without you, so a big THANK YOU for your support! If you consider becoming a monthly donor, you can help us even more in our mission to provide free world-class education for everyone everywhere in Bulgaria and the EU! And don’t forget to share with your friends about our mission and successes.
The end of the year and 2021 as a whole was very fruitful for our activities - Khan Academy in Bulgarian expanded with 5 new courses for the last 4 months! We also have been joined by more like-minded people – teachers, experts and volunteers, and this gives us additional confidence in our cause.
Here is what we have achieved together, with the great support of people like you:
Khan Academy: 5 new courses are waiting for you!
There are 5 new courses at Khan Academy Bulgarian site!
Mathematics: We are very happy that we completed and published the 12th grade math courses according to the new Bulgarian curriculum – they are 3 courses: General education and review section; Practical Mathematics; Probabilities, and Data Analysis. This was possible thanks to the unresting work of our wonderful experts Katerina Marcheva and Raina Pavlova!
Science: The Stanford University School of Medicine course was developed in collaboration with Stanford University and explains several diseases in detail. It will be of great benefit to those wishing to apply for medicine, as well as for medical students; and to anyone interested.
Computing: In the new course of Code.org employees from Spotify, Microsoft, Amazon and other global companies reveal the secrets of the world of computers and the Internet. Have a look (link below)!
Volunteers are our hidden strength!
New TimeHeroes Mission: At the end of November 2021, we launched a new volunteer mission at TimeHeroes.org for the translation of Khan Academy course "Computers and the Internet". 45 candidates applied to help us provide more quality content for free in Bulgarian. Currently, we are working with 6 of the most dedicated volunteers among them, and 30% of the content is already translated (appr. 70,000 words for less than 2 months)!
Further pro bono translators are actively translating educational content from different topics like Finance, History of Art, Resources for Teachers (content for which we weren't able to secure the funding yet). For the past 4 months, they have done a great job translating 90 videos and 72,000 words in articles and exercises!
Volunteers help with much more: Volunteers support us also with activities related to communication and promotion of Khan Academy, even high school students are among them! Moreover, 5 business leaders started supporting our management team with expert counseling on the fundraising, key partnership and visibility strategy of the organization.
Khan Academy localization for the period October 2021 – January 2022
All this is possible thanks to the support of our main partner - the America for Bulgaria Foundation, as well as all your support!
Webinars for teachers
During this reporting period we also organized 4 free training events for teachers in order to support them to apply digital technologies and new practices in their work..
“Education Without Backpacks” and Khan Academy at Webit Global Impact Week
On December 14, we participated in Powers Summit, part of Webit Global Impact Week – a conference meeting the government with the business and the civil sector. Our messages in the Education panel discussion were:
We are glad that the Minister of Education and representatives of all leading political formations represented in Parliament participated actively and gave their perspective, reaffirming the common vision for smart digitalization in education.
We hope you are pleased with what we achieve. Thank you for your support! And please consider becoming a monthly donor, if you are not already, and telling your friends about our mission and successes.
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