May 5, 2021 - Technology

Adobe partners with Khan Academy on creativity-focused remote classes

Illustration of a group of computers featuring chalkboards with equations on them

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The remote education platform Khan Academy is teaming with the software company Adobe to provide new lesson plans and projects for teachers.

Why it matters: The pandemic has put educators and students on a forced march to remote schooling, and that trend won't end even as the virus comes under control. Better tools can help improve online schooling in a way that makes education truly personalized.

Driving the news: Adobe is donating $1 million to Khan Academy as part of an effort to co-create online lesson plans for educators across a range of subjects, with a particular focus on creativity and creative problem solving.

  • Students will be able to use Adobe products for what Mala Sharma, vice president and general manager of creative cloud at Adobe, calls "digital portfolios" — creative work, like videos or art projects, that demonstrate a mastery of subject material.

Details: Salman Khan, the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, uses the example of students who have taken a class about natural selection on his organization's platform.

  • "They've learned the skills, and they can go on to be tested and perform just fine," he says. "Now they can also construct a portfolio when they can apply those skills within the broader context of biology."

By the numbers: Khan Academy was already one of the most popular online learning platforms before the pandemic, but Khan estimates after schools closed last spring, usage went from "30 million minutes a day to 85 to 90 million minutes a day."

What's next: While many students have experienced online classes during the pandemic as robotic and rote, Khan believes with the right approach and tools, remote schooling can open the door to an educational approach that is more personalized and focused on what students can do with the information they've learned, not just how well they test.

  • "We have no idea what these kids will be working on 10, 15 years from now," says Sharma. What we can do is prepare them for that context, where they can have abstract thinking and where they can communicate their ideas more effectively."
Go deeper