EducationWorld is pleased to present this article contributed by Kristin Marino, a writer for OnlineSchools.com on a variety of education topics. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Nevada and finds math videos very useful when helping her 7th-grader with math homework.
In the past, math-challenged students had few chances to really nail the day’s material once they left the classroom. For students that need extra help getting from step 1 to step 2 and beyond, trying to do the night’s homework by themselves, even though they’ve attended class and possibly had the help of a tutor, can lead to frustration and a math-hating mentality.
Math videos may be able to help. Here are some of the ways in which math videos are helping math students make it through homework time.
Math XL is an online homework and assessment program used by some middle and high school math programs. A school must use Math XL as part of its curriculum in order for students to use it. Teachers can assign homework on the site, and students can work through the problems and receive immediate feedback. If a student gets stuck, there are “help me solve” and “example problem” options. For some of the problems, there is also a “watch video” option where students can watch a similar problem being worked out on a board.
Students can pause videos in order to solve the problem step-by-step along with the videos. The videos facilitate a personalized learning environment and enable students to learn at their own pace and avoid getting left behind in math. The videos are a minute or so in length, meaning that students can watch a video when they are stuck on a specific problem and still get their homework done. The videos are most helpful to students who have already had a full lesson in the math concept.
Khan Academy offers free lessons for all grade levels on a variety of subjects, including math. While Math XL videos tackle one problem at a time, Khan Academy offers more comprehensive videos, offering full lessons on a plethora of math subjects. Videos are like mini-tutoring sessions, with an explanation of the concept along with several problem examples worked out. Users have access not only to lesson videos, but also to a problem section where they can put what they’ve learned into practice. Students can get a hint and then check their answer. Additionally, users have the opportunity to ask questions in the comments section of the videos and have them answered by other users and math professionals.
Tips and caveats
Math XL, Khan Academy and other math video sources can help solidify a variety of math operations. To help your student or students get the most from math instruction videos, consider the following tips:
While math videos are a useful tool for struggling math students, at this point they still don’t take the place of a math book. Both Math XL and Khan Academy require Internet access. That can be a problem if students are trying to get homework done away from a computer (at an after-school program, for example), or if the Internet is down when they’re trying to complete their homework.
While Khan Academy offers an app for some mobile devices (including iPhone and iPad), Math XL isn’t readily compatible with Apple mobile devices because it currently uses Flash. While users can find mobile browser apps (such as iSwifter) that enable these devices to play Flash, finding the one that works with a specific device is often a process of trial and error. As more students use mobile devices in place of computers, this will need to be addressed. Additionally, some Internet browsers work better with Math XL than do others.
Math videos support multiple intelligences and differentiated instruction, appealing to auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners. Students can see the problem being worked out, hear the narrator explaining the solution, and work the problem alongside the video. While they can’t replace teachers, math videos are an excellent supplemental tool for supporting math students.
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