Like a lot of great innovators, Salman Khan didn’t set out to change the world. He was just trying to help his teenage cousin with her algebra from across the country. But from a closet turned office in his Silicon Valley apartment, Sal, 35, has produced an amazing library of online lectures on math, science and a host of other subjects. In the process, he has turned the classroom—and the world of education—on its head.
The aspiration of khanacademy.org is to give every kid a chance at a free, world-class education. The site has over 3,000 short lessons that allow kids to learn at their own pace. Practice exercises send students back to the pertinent video when they're having trouble. And there’s a detailed dashboard for teachers who use Khan Academy in their classrooms.
Early pilot programs in California classrooms show terrific promise. I’ve used Khan Academy with my kids, and I’m amazed at the breadth of Sal’s subject expertise and his ability to make complicated topics understandable.
Sal Khan is a true education pioneer. He started by posting a math lesson, but his impact on education might truly be incalculable.
This was originally published in The 2012 TIME 100: The 100 Most Influential People in the World.