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Sharing mathematical understandings through YouTube

Tags: Mathematics and statistics | Multimedia – video | Primary | Upper primary |

Students at Weymouth Primary School in Auckland deepened their understanding of mathematical strategies through creating YouTube clips explaining their their problem solving processes.

"In our school, we regularly inquire into the way higher order learning, enabled by digital technologies, meets learners' needs."
eLPF 2014

Teaching as inquiry

The classroom teacher wanted to find an interactive tool that her students could use to demonstrate different mathematical strategies. She also wanted to share maths learning with parents so that they could support students at home.

The students worked best at practical, small group tasks with a digital element. They regularly used YouTube to access digital content, and had camera experience through working on their school TV show. The teacher decided to build on students' strengths and experiences by creating videos to capture mathematical thinking. By using YouTube videos with students, she hoped to reinforce classroom learning, and boost confidence levels of learners.

Students identify learning strategies

The students were engaged in a range of activities that exposed them to different mathematical strategies. As students worked with the teacher in small groups, they were asked to share the strategy they liked best, which was recorded in their group scrapbook.

Creating the YouTube videos

Four students were asked to record their methods on camera. As one student explained the steps taken to solve a mathematical problem, another student recorded the working on a whiteboard. When ready, they were filmed separately. This produced two films; one of a student speaking to the camera, and one of a student documenting the steps on a whiteboard.

Video footage was edited through iMovie . Using the "picture in picture" tool in iMovie, the footage of the students speaking was added to the top right corner of the whiteboard videos. The teacher filmed herself directly into iMovie introducing the four students and the maths problem that they were solving.

The four student videos and the introduction video were uploaded to the teacher’s YouTube channel. The "add annotation" feature was used to add spotlights to the students’ photos to make the introduction video more interactive.

» Note: The "add annotation" feature on YouTube has been replaced with "end screens" and "cards" that work on mobile devices.

Sharing the videos

Three sets of videos were created which linked to numeracy stages: addition at stage 5, subtraction at stage 6, and multiplication at stage 7. The YouTube videos were then added to the class blog for sharing.

Student outcomes

  • Students learned how to solve a simple maths problem in a variety of ways.
  • Students’ learning was reinforced as they viewed the films with their peers, parents, and the wider community.
  • Students’ confidence soared as they saw themselves as experts communicating with an authentic audience.
Student reflections

“I really like that my mum and dad can see what I am doing in my class.”

– Shannyl

“I know how to solve problems using lots of strategies.”

– Darius

”It’s better seeing what everyone else is doing so it gives you ideas when you get a problem the same.”

– Riley

“We can look in the book at what we’ve done before but I remember it more when I watch my friends' ideas on the blog.”

– Vianne

“We use YouTube a lot in our class and it was fun to see how we could make movies of ourselves to show what we do in Maths.”

– Ryan

Next steps

The purpose of posting to the blog and using an interactive sequence of YouTube videos was to engage students outside the classroom, and celebrate learning with parents. Some parents accessed the blog but were wary of commenting. Next time parents will be invited to the school to view the blog and understand how much their contribution is valued.