Khan Academy--I'm a Fan!
A few months ago, I heard a news program on NPR about the Khan Academy and how it was started accidentally by Mr. Khan to help his niece with her math homework. Since he lived far away from her, he captured his helpful hints via YouTube and shared via the Internet. One thing led to another and now Khan has found himself the creator of something big.
Since that NPR special, I’ve had a few chances to visit the website. There are over 3,200 videos on a wealth of subjects. I found myself touring around and clicking on things like science, economics, history and even SAT prep, and getting progressively more excited by the proposition that this is a tipping point to excite kids to continue to be curious about math and science as they get older.
The Khan Academy concept reminded me of Professor Fornetti’s ExploreRF YouTube Channel, which offers training courses and webinars in RF and microwave related subjects, and of course AWR’s own AWR.TV portal. Our numerous video tutorials and vignettes are meant to accomplish the same for RF/Microwave education as Khan is for mathematics. Both aim to excite current and future users to learn more about the wealth of capabilities in AWR’s software as well as the fundamental mathematic theories it solves.
AWR continues to be committed to helping university students learn more about RF/microwave design. To that end, we recently re-evaluated our strategies of supporting university engineering courses with student-empowered licensing, awarding free software to engineering graduates, and sponsoring the IMS Student Design Contests to see what, if any, positive impact they were having. We were excited to find many successes, two of which we have recently published as University Success Stories. One design student at Istanbul University of Technology (read the story here >>) actually taught himself how to use Microwave Office through our documentation, extensive library of examples, and, most importantly, our AWR.TV videos. His journey resulted in a low noise amplifier design that won the Turkey Graduation Design Competition and was a finalist at the IMS Student Design Competition. Another student from Vienna University of Technology (read the story here >>) was able to design an X-band transmission analyzer from end to end thanks to several master’s degree courses that offered the use of Microwave Office, as well as attentive technical support.
Khan Academy and Professor Fornetti; yep, I’m a fan of these new concepts for helping a breadth of students learn remotely through innovative means such as online videos. I hope they each expand and grow in “frequency” of content and exposure. Knowledge is always something we can use more of. And I certainly intend to follow this model for AWR and hopefully help many more aspiring engineering students to become great designers in the future.