If I had a million dollars, I'd build you a school.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Teaching Math Using YouTube

I took my first video class at my former day camp in the summer between fourth and fifth grades. It was a two person class, and we made a documentary about the camp using a shoulder mounted camera that recorded directly to a VHS tape. By the time I was teaching video at the same camp fifteen years later, we were using handheld MiniDV cameras, and editing the movies using FinalCut and Adobe Premier.

I have taken the video skills I learned there, and brought them into my Spanish classes as well, filming everything from short skits to elaborate movies written and directed by the students themselves. I have found the video camera to be an excellent motivating force in the classroom. Knowing that they will be on film makes the students work harder and rehearse more, while at the same time having more fun with the project. Everybody wins.

I have been out of the classroom for most of the last three years, so I have yet to take the next step in the evolution of using video in the classroom, posting on YouTube for all the world to see. Based on a brief tour of YouTube yesterday, a lot of classrooms are taking advantage of the opportunity, and are posting some very creative and funny things. I thought I would include a couple of my favorites, all covering topics in math, since that is still the section of my curriculum table that I am supposed to be writing about these days.

The first video was brought to my attention by Joanne Jacobs, and started me on my YouTube exploration:

Not quite as professional, but more in keeping with what a high school class might put together is this Fergie spoof:

Then, there's nothing like two white kids having a rap battle about math. I feel like I know these two.

Finally, this may be my favorite. I think this kid has a future in educational song writing. It's not so much the song as that he has the audience in the palm of his hand.

The videos go on and on, and are of wide ranging quality. Mostly I just enjoy them because it is always nice to see students having fun in school while still doing something educational. It makes the teaching part more fun, too.

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