Searches soar for education hub Khan Academy

Mike Krumboltz

Craving a good education but can't afford the tuition? Maybe Khan Academy is the answer. On Sunday night's "60 Minutes," the show profiled Sal Khan and the Khan Academy, an online school that offers roughly 3,000 videos for free.

Ever since CBS aired its profile, Yahoo! searches on "khan academy" have roared to life. Online lookups for "khan academy" are up 3,382% in 24 hours. Related searches for "khan academy tutorials" jumped 9,575%, and "khan academy math" spiked 8,100%.

The clips, in which viewers can learn about everything from algebra to physics to finance to history, are, amazingly, all taught by Khan. And they are each delightfully free of gimmicks. It is just Khan's voice as he explains things with the help of a digital blackboard.

A blog from the Washington Post points out that Khan teaches with a "conversational tone" that helps with accessibility. Nothing intimidating here. It's more of an informative chat from a man who sounds remarkably similar to President Obama.

The Khan Academy recently launched an iPad app that allows students to download videos and watch them later, when they are offline.

Khan, who can boast degrees from MIT and Harvard, has been praised by Bill Gates, who calls him the teacher to the world. And yet Khan isn't a professional teacher by trade; he just happens to be a really smart guy with a passion for knowledge and helping out overwhelmed teachers on the frontlines. But he didn't start the enterprise with such big dreams ... he was actually just trying to tutor his young cousin Nadia.

Khan believes most teachers enjoy using his videos in class. In an interview with the Washington Post in 2011, he remarked, "They can switch gears and form bonds with their students. It allows them to be way more creative than they could in other classrooms, and also provides kind of leveraged or optimized way to monitor progress and get involved."