My Interview With Sal Khan at CanvasCon

While I have done a number of EdTech conference keynotes and panel discussions, it has been difficult for me to directly participate in the LMS users’ conferences to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest. At Instructure’s virtual CanvasCon this year – which replaced the onsite InstructureCon typically held in July – I had an opportunity to participate in a way that made sense. Specifically, I had the chance to interview Sal Khan for his conference keynote, about Khan Academy and not about the LMS. I had asked that the planned questioning was not subject to any review, and that the interview would not be edited for marketing purposes, and both Instructure and Sal Khan were very agreeable. In fact, Sal did not want to have any preview of the questions at all, and I believe that Instructure made only one edit, removing a discussion on Khan Academy funding in the interest of time.

This was an enjoyable interview for me, as I could ask Sal what I wanted and to react to his answers on the fly. You can view the full interview embedded below or at this link, and you can read Instructure’s blog post summarizing the interview. The general discussion topics along with timestamps are listed below.

  • Introduction and description of the scope of Khan Academy: 00:16

  • Whether surprised at the scale of Khan Academy: 03:02

  • Potential explanation for the scale: 05:32

  • Lessons learned over the past decade: 08:51

  • Place of Khan Academy in pedagogical and EdTech ecosystem: 12:45

  • Whether this place for Khan Academy changes based on geography or grade level: 16:21

  • Experience and lessons learned during pandemic, for Khan Academy and EdTech in general: 19:05

  • Impact of increased usage on sustainability: 22:22

  • Reaching underserved student populations: 25:10

  • Role and limits of EdTech in coming years: 27:50

  • Euler’s Identity and passion: 33:42