Kuna teacher to be featured on documentary airing Friday on CBS

September 5, 2013 

Kuna Middle School teacher Shelby Harris, center-right, is one of four teachers featured in the documentary "Teach" by Davis Guggenheim, who directed the Academy Award-winning "An Inconvenient Truth."

DON HOLTZ

Shelby Harris, a seventh-grade math teacher at Kuna Middle School, didn’t quite know what to make of a high-tech approach to math instruction intended to guide her students' learning.

Now she doesn’t know what she would do without it.

Harris’ use of the Khan Academy computer-based math program and how it affected her students is part of a documentary called “Teach” by Davis Guggenheim, who directed the Academy Award-winning film “An Inconvenient Truth” about Al Gore’s warning of global warming.

“Teach” will air at 7 p.m. Friday on KBOI TV with host Queen Latifah and could be coming for a theatrical showing to Boise as soon as next month.

“Teach” chronicles four teachers — two in Denver, one in Los Angeles and Harris in Kuna.

Guggenheim knew Idaho was piloting the Khan Academy across the state and was looking for someone to feature on how it was working. He chose Harris.

Khan Aademy is in 48 Idaho schools with the help of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation in a partnership with Northwest Nazarene University and the Khan Academy. The program helps Harris by letting her focus on instruction.

“The computer is for practice and feedback,” she said.

Harris teaches students how to do math and then Khan Academy gives them problems to solve. If they get something wrong, students can find out immediately what it is and how to correct it instead of waiting for a day to get a paper back from Harris.

“It is also for the kids who struggle and don’t have confidence in their math,” said Harris, a 13-year teaching veteran.

Khan Academy has freed Harris to concentrate on kids needing additional help. She finds she can give all her students more one-on-one attention.

Guggenheim’s film crew followed Harris from February till May last school year.

She’s seen the film and likes the message it leaves with audiences.

“I hope they take away that teaching is an art, it is valuable and that it is killer difficult,” she said.

Learn more about "Teach" at www.khanidaho.org/teach.

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