Last week I was in Albuquerque Public Schools working with a group of high school students who are members of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee (SAC). Each of the 18 SAC members invited a teacher to attend a day of learning and professional development focused on Discovery Education. We spent the day with the teachers and students exploring all of the resources Discovery has to offer and provided them some time to collaboratively build lessons and resources to take back to their peers and colleagues. APS is leading the way in digital transformation and has made a huge investment not only in technology and digital media but also in their teachers and students by providing on-going professional development opportunities. This is incredibly important to ensure the technology and content is used in new and transformative ways to empower student learning.
It was by far one of the most rewarding experiences I have had to date in my tenure with Discovery. I was inspired by the collaboration between the students and their teachers as they shared their perspectives and questions with one another. I was also inspired by a high school math teacher named Marco Martinez.
At the end of the day, Marco approached me to say thank you for the day and to share a resource he and his wife have developed for students struggling to learn math concepts. The resource is called Laracos Math: A Video For Every Problem. I thanked Marco for sharing this and took his name and email address to follow-up with him once I had a chance to view his website. A few days later I had the opportunity to view his site and I was blown away. Using his Promethean board, he has recorded over 600 videos in Spanish to explain HS math concepts. I immediately reached out to Marco to see if I could feature him on the blog and asked for the story behind this resource. Below is Marco’s story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Marco and Laura- thank you for being who you are and reaching thousands through your work.
I came from Mexico to teach Bilingual High school Math classes in New Mexico back in 2001. I have been teaching physics and mathematics since 1989 at the middle, high school and college level. I’m a Mechanical Engineer as my first career. My wife is also a math teacher with a business background.
We had the idea to create a website to compile all the videos we were creating for our own students. We observed that many of our ESL students never asked a question in class mainly because they had different reasons not to participate in class; we started recording some videos for those students, shared the link in a YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/Matecast), and made copies of videos in thumb flash drives or CDs to make them available for everyone anytime. As a result, we started to receive questions from all over the world and after two years, we have reached almost 4 million views in our channel. We have had excellent results with our students because we are helping them translate their prior mathematics knowledge in Spanish into the new math vocabulary in English. Those students are now taking classes in regular English instruction and are able to review our videos in Spanish even if they are not our students anymore. Since we have over 20 years of experience in the classroom, we know the misconceptions, the prior knowledge required to succeed, and real life applications of mathematics.
We believe that not all students are ready to learn the same way at the same time during class, and our videos have helped them to learn in their own pace. These videos are not replacing the teacher lecture; they are reinforcing key concepts necessary to succeed in math classes in a student’s academic future.
My wife and I have made a great team because we both teach math and we know that technology can make a difference by having highly qualify teachers on demand. We will continue to create videos for our students whose first language is not English and help them make the connection between their prior knowledge and the new academic vocabulary in English. Our videos are also useful for those teachers that have English learners in their classrooms and don’t feel comfortable teaching them in Spanish.