The O’Sullivan Foundation Grants $5M To Online Learning Platform Khan Academy

Online learning platform and non-profit organization Khan Academy has been granted $5 million from The O’Sullivan Foundation. The organization has previously raised $2 million+ from Google and The Gates Foundation.

The Khan Academy is brainchild of Salman Khan, who brought the idea of educating young people, self-starters, people who learn at their own pace — online. The educational startup now counts over 2,600 videos in its library, with sessions or classes on everything from arithmetic to physics, including 211 practice exercises, to let students watch videos and learn at their own pace.

Khan just announced that the platform is seeing 39 million pageviews and 3.5 million unique users per month. That 3.5 million unique users is up 309 percent year-over-year. Khan Academy’s free lessons have been viewed more than 82 million times on YouTube.

The O’Sullivan Foundation’s support will be used to grow the faculty of the Khan Academy; extend the content to include crowd-sourced contributions; and to develop curricula for a blended physical and virtual academic experience.

“Some have wondered if it was the intent of the Khan Academy to have all these lessons to be written and performed by me,” said Salman Khan, founder and head of faculty of the Khan Academy. “The answer is a resounding no. We’re simply looking for unique voices that get traction and engage with students. As we expand our faculty, we’ll enable more teachers to share their enthusiasm with kids everywhere.”

One use of the grant from the O’Sullivan Foundation will be to expand Khan Academy’s faculty from one lesson producer to at least five full-time-equivalent teachers, extending the range of subjects taught from just science, engineering and math to the arts and humanities.

Already, the grant has been used to appoint Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris to produce content on art, history, and the humanities. Dr. Zucker was formerly Chair of Art and Design History at Pratt Institute. Dr. Harris was Director of Digital Learning at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Their videos are now available at here.

Khan Academy will also be opening a physical school, which will be run as a series of summer school camps starting in June 2012 in Northern California. The camp will be a testing ground for curricula that will, over time, develop into a complete academic experience and serve as a model for real-world schools worldwide, says Khan.