Saturday, April 11, 2009

Students Learning Through Teaching

I teach beginning algebra at Contra Costa College. Most students in a course like that do not like math. I work hard to create an atmosphere of working at it and having fun with it. However, I still feel like I'm too tied to the textbook. Reading blogs like f(t) and dy/dan really inspires me. (I must admit, I also feel like such a slow learner when I see all the amazing things they're doing.) But there's more... The burst of energy I've gotten this semester from all the possibilities available on the web is great. A student in another class recommended and then we heard about After I watched the videos on that site, I figured, "We could do that!"

On Thursday two students presented one problem each. And then on Friday 3 students presented a problem each. All of them were recorded using the video capacity on a digital camera. The student whose camera it is has put them all on Youtube. (I haven't learned how yet.) And I've linked to them here.

We had a great time with these first few presentations. Students are asking more questions, and listening better. When I showed how a step on one problem could be done in a more elegant way, the student who had presented it said "That's beautiful, Sue!" I was delighted. "Bet you never thought you'd say that about a math problem!" (And we're talking rational expressions here, one of the ugliest topics in the beginning algebra curriculum.) ;>

They're all up now: Here's Hira, Stanley, Tulawna, Brandon, and Nailah. You guys are great! When we get back from Spring break, I'll have to be as brave as you all, and get on YouTube too. In search of a tripod...


  1. Thanks for those links (khanacademy and mathtv) - I hadn't seen them, will check them out more thoroughly.

    Nice work with making videos! It seems like your students are enthusiastic about jumping in.

  2. Yeah, it's a great group. They're willing to risk because they enjoy each other, I think. Maybe one of them will come comment here. ;>


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