Friday, August 12, 2011

Student Made Math Tutorials

Two years ago, I received a small grant of $500 to purchase a WaCom tablet for my classroom workstation.  This tablet allows users to draw on the tablet and show what they are doing on the computer screen.  Now, if you have a Smartboard in your classroom, you could do the same thing with that.  I also purchased Camtasia Studio to do screen recordings.  With these two tools, I was able to teach my students how to create their own math tutorials.

WaCom's Bamboo Tablet
My purpose in teaching them this was two-fold. First, I needed to teach them how to write a non-fiction piece about how to do something.  Secondly, I need to give them practice in reading fluency.  They were able to write the directions for how to do a math process and then practice reading it until they were fluent.  They used the WaCom tablet to do the math writing for their process.  Once they had the screen capture of the math writing, they added the audio to the video.  Not only did they learn their reading and writing skills, they also learned more about math!  They were very engaged and wanted to make more once this first one was complete.

Check out a sample showing how to do Partial Products Multiplication.

Today, I came across a blog article about Eric Marcos is a sixth-grade math teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, California who is doing basically the same thing with a tablet PC.  The blog article includes tutorials for creating screen casts.  You can use free software such as Jing or CamStudio to create the screen casts as well as using the recording feature of the Smartboard software.  Next time you are trying to figure out how to improve your students' math understandings, have them create a video.  It is fairly easy...and the students will catch on fast!