MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- For a second year in a row, LearnStorm, a free and innovative online learning challenge, is coming to the Bay Area. Building on the enthusiasm and excitement of the 73,000 students who participated in last year's pilot, Khan Academy has teamed up again with lead funder, Google.org. The San Francisco 49ers will also be lending their support in an effort to make this year's challenge the most successful LearnStorm yet.
The free nine-week challenge, which is run by the not-for-profit organization Khan Academy, officially kicks-off February 2nd at Google's campus in Mountain View. Sal Khan, Founder and CEO, Khan Academy, Diane Greene, SVP, Google Cloud, Al Guido, COO, San Francisco 49ers, Nancy Lee, VP, People Operations, Google, and Yolanda Mangolini, Director, Global Diversity & Inclusion, Google, as well as players from the 49ers and special guests from the National Football League Players Association and its content arm ACE Media, will gather with over 400 Bay Area students, teachers, and community leaders to celebrate the official launch. The LearnStorm challenge encourages students to have a growth mindset when it comes to math and celebrates their progress. Students in grades 3-12 can earn points and unlock real-life rewards for themselves and their schools by practicing Common Core math skills on Khan Academy's personalized online learning platform.
"We are so excited to bring back LearnStorm to students across the Bay Area," said Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy. "We designed LearnStorm not only to further students' math skills, but also to encourage and develop a growth mindset, that is, the belief that anyone can build and grow intelligence through practice and perseverance. We've seen that when students have resources to learn at their own time and pace, they not only find it incredibly valuable, but also fun."
Unlike traditional math competitions, LearnStorm is breaking new ground by rewarding not only the knowledge students attain, but the learning skills they need to attain it. Students can earn two types of points throughout the program: "mastery points" earned when a student has achieved proficiency in certain math skills and "hustle points" earned when a student demonstrates perseverance when learning a new skill. This broader focus means LearnStorm can challenge students regardless of their pre-existing math level and help them develop useful learning strategies.
Chris Busselle, Principal of Google.org, said of the Challenge: "We are thrilled to support Khan Academy's LearnStorm math challenge as it celebrates students at all stages of the learning process through their own learning journeys. It's wonderful to see the program continue to grow and build momentum in the Bay Area."
LearnStorm sign-ups are open now for students in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma Counties and the challenge will run through April 1, 2016. Additional challenges are simultaneously taking place in Idaho, Chicago and Ireland.
"LearnStorm taught us about endurance and grit," said Jen Ellison, a teacher at Phillips Elementary School in Napa County, "It taught us to build our team, to encourage one another and to persevere, because at one point or another, we all struggle, but we all can learn anything. More importantly, it showed us that the growth mindset has no language and no barrier to entry."
Out of over 1,500 participating schools in LearnStorm Bay Area 2015, Phillips Elementary earned a top spot on the leaderboards and the opportunity to send student representatives to the LearnStorm 2015 Finals hosted by Google on their campus in Mountain View. "The best part was when they arrived," Ellison said, "They had to run through a tunnel like a football team [before the game starts]. The sidelines were lined-up with Google and Khan Academy employees cheering them on."
As the San Francisco 49ers grow its education impact in the community, the organization looks to Khan Academy as a thought leader in this space. "A primary focus of the 49ers Foundation is to increase access to quality educational opportunity for underserved youth and provide them with the tools to make learning fun and rewarding," said 49ers Chief Executive Officer Jed York. "We're always looking for innovative approaches that enable learning in an engaging way and the Khan Academy platform and LearnStorm challenge are key education tools for Bay Area youth that will provide greater access to learning opportunities."
For more information about the LearnStorm Challenge or to sign up, visit www.learnstorm2016.org.
About Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to change education for the better by providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. We believe that students of all ages should have free, unlimited access to the best educational content, and that they should be able to consume and master this content at their own pace. In addition, we believe that there are incredible opportunities to use intelligent software development, deep data analytics, and intuitive user interfaces to more effectively surface and present these educational resources to students and teachers around the world. Our library of content covers kindergarten to early college math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and reaches into humanities with tutorials on economics, finance, music, philosophy, and art history. To date, we have delivered over 710 million lessons and 4.75 billion exercise problems.
For further information, visit www.khanacademy.org.
Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google, supports nonprofits that innovate to address humanitarian issues. Google.org was created to pursue, experiment with, and build upon ideas to improve the world, and continues to take an iterative approach to philanthropy today. Google.org develops and invests in pursuits that can have measurable impact on local, regional and global issues, and rallies Google's people in support of these efforts with a singular goal of creating a better world, faster. Around the world, Google.org has donated over $100 million in grants, $1 billion in technology resources, and 80,000 hours of Googler volunteering to nonprofits in 2015 alone.
About 49ers STEM Education Program
The San Francisco 49ers are the leading professional sports organization in the support of STEM learning concepts for youth. The 49ers STEM Education Program, which opened in conjunction with Levi's® Stadium in 2014, provides learning platforms for K-8 students through its education program that teaches content-rich lessons using the STEM principles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For 2015-16 academic year, the 49ers STEM Education Program will reach 60,000 participants – 50% of students coming from Title I Designated schools. The 49ers efforts in STEM education additionally translate to the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute's Chevron STEMZONE at Cabrillo Middle School in Santa Clara, Calif., where a six-year curriculum that begins in seventh grade and continues through high school, seeks to prepare students with high academic potential to be outstanding in STEM. The STEM Leadership Institute, launched in 2014 in partnership between the 49ers, Chevron, the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, and the Santa Clara Unified School District, currently hosts two cohorts of scholars totaling 120 students enrolled in the 7th and 8th grade program and will expand to Santa Clara High School in fall 2016.
About the San Francisco 49ers Foundation
The San Francisco 49ers Foundation is the non-profit community funding extension of the San Francisco 49ers. Now in its 25th year, the 49ers Foundation supports development programs for underserved youth that keep them "Safe, On Track, and In School." Since 1992, the Foundation has donated $34.6 million to support non-profits, contributing $4 million in 2015 and supporting 75 community outreach events representing over 400 hours of service from 49ers players, alumni, ownership, coaches, executives and staff. For more information on the 49ers Foundation, please visit http://www.49ersfoundation.com.
SOURCE Khan Academy