Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Successful Failure

A couple of years back (in 2009) I went and recorded about 70 math instructional videos and put them up on my YouTube channel.  I was very excited about how it might be a way to help my students work at home.  Our school has very poor attendance and I was pulling my hair out about how low my success rate with with senior math.  Each video was 5 minutes or less and were intended to be simple - only one concept per video.  I even organized them (in many cases with classroom notes) on my section of the school webpage.

The project was an overwhelming failure - and now it has become a different success that I am proud of.

First the failure.  My students did not use the resource.  I tried to sell them on the idea but failed.  The time, effort, and resources were wasted.  It failed for two main reasons.  One - very few of my students had high speed internet at home.  Today it is still shocking how little access my students still have.  Two - my students rarely did (or do) homework.

As time has gone on other people have been finding my videos.  Comments from students all over have been filtering in.
Thank you so much! Now I get it haha. THANKS! >_<
It is obvious that the comments have been coming from students - not teachers.  People are finding my videos useful.  The hours I put into creating them have not been wasted.

Last week one of my math videos even hit 10,000 views.  I am not sure why that particular video has been viewed so many times.  (Yes I realize that you aren't anybody on YouTube until a video has hit half a million hits).  It is not one of my better ones - in fact I created it on a whim and almost didn't upload it.

This year some of my students have finally started using the resource.  Finally.  When a sub teacher comes in they prefer to watch my videos than listen to somebody else explain the concept.  They are used to the way that I teach.  It is about time.

This fall near the beginning of the school year some of the Central Office staff started getting excited about online learning resources like the Khan Academy.  One of our consultants mentioned my name and pointed out that I had already done this with my math videos.  (Thank you Donna.)  For the record I think that most of the assistant superintendents had already seen my videos but had merely forgotten about them.  Sometimes it feels good to be on the right end of the curve.

The math video project is still a failure.  The students that I am paid to teach have not really used it a lot (and my goal was to help MY students).  I can admit the failure but I am still proud of what I created and what it has accomplished.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hey Gary!
That is awesome!! I am excited for you to know that your work isn't going un-noticed. I think as long as the information you put out there is hitting some crowd of people, you're doing a good thing. I know how lots of my students look to things like youtube for help and I think it is great you've uploaded them for many to see! Why don't you make a wiki, or website for math 101 help and post all those videos for people to see in some order? Just an idea.
I agree, sometimes kids just like or want to hear how their teacher explains it (recording for the sub) - I know other math teachers that do that with their smartboards so the sub just has to press play! How cool is that??
Keep it up!!!