Eric Marcos is a sixth-grade math teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, California. But his kids stay after school, spend hours on their homework, and accompany him to education conferences (and even sometimes lead his presentations). None of Marcos’ students are doing this for extra credit. They’re simply learning a lot about math and they’re loving it.
His secret? The now-global phenomenon known as MathTrain.TV: kids teaching other kids through creating their own video tutorials. Much like the now-famous Khan Academy — but it’s made by and for students.
It wasn’t Marcos’ idea in the beginning. “Believe me, I’d love to take credit,” he laughs. The breakthrough happened when, about five years ago, one of his students used their class Moodle to send him a question about a homework problem. “If you try to answer a math question in an email or a Word document, though,” says Marcos, “it’s crazy hard to line things up, even a couple of equations.”
So he turned on his newly-acquired classroom tablet PC, scribbled a few equations, pushed record, and made a screencasting video. “This was at about 7 at night. The kid sent another message right away, saying, ‘Thank you! I got it now. Can you make me another one for this problem?’” Over the next few days, other students wanted to know why they didn’t get a video, asking him to post it somewhere so they could all benefit. Continue reading