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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

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Aug 5, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Charted: Iowa's early childhood literacy recovers

Early childhood literacy is on an upward trend in Iowa after it plummeted in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Driving the news: Literacy screening results for most Iowa students in K-3rd grade show reading skills slowly recovered by spring 2021. But they're still below pre-pandemic levels, according to the state Department of Education.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.

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