Making Computing Fun Again: Passion, Beauty, Joy, and Awe on Khan Academy

Making Computing Fun Again: Passion, Beauty, Joy, and Awe on Khan Academy

Presented at SIGCSE 2016 for PBJA session. See this Dropbox for other panelist's slides:


Pamela Fox

March 03, 2016


  1. 3.


  2. 4.

    How it started: The real-time environment 4 ACE editor JSHint

    ! BabyHint ! Loop Checker ProcessingJS
  3. 6.

    Next step: An interactive curriculum 6 talk-throughs challenges Drawing Variables

    Animation Text Functions Logic Looping Arrays Objects
  4. 7.

    Self-paced 7 DON’t STIFLE the passion! “I used Khan

    Academy because allowed for differentiation between students. I love how it allowed our valedictorian and our lowest ranked student to coexist in the same class without either getting bored." progress in a class after 5 hours:
  5. 8.

    Finally: Deeper learning with projects 8 + peer evaluations from

    this… …to these! JOY! "The projects are fun and lead to ideas for more projects.” "I LOVED evaluating projects." "The projects really challenged me & forced me think about the skills I'm learning in order to apply them." …and struggle!
  6. 11.

    11 Hopper ( a HER!) Winston Oh Noes Guy, the

    Error Buddy The whimsy! JOYFUL! JOYFUL!
  7. 15.

    15 Does this approach work for everyone? • Gender: Yes!

    60%/40% male/female student ratio, with equal completion rates across genders. • Age: Varies. <1 2 years old have lower completion rates, especially as course gets harder (e.g. logic). Adults have lower retention rates, due to getting busier or not finding it practical enough.