The education revolution is already here!

Getting started in math video production

When I started filming math tutorials as part of an e-learning project in 2011, I came across the fact that renowned universities such as MIT and Stanford had been filming lectures since the 2000s and first made them available on their own platforms and then on YouTube. I discovered Sal Khan, an MIT graduate, who quit a top job to build a global digital classroom with Khan Academy. And how did it start? With remote tutoring for his cousin via Skype, as the two were several thousand kilometers apart. Khan also produced educational videos and used the YouTube platform so that his cousin could access them. He supplemented it with self-written software for creating additional learning tasks. Via YouTube, Khan quickly received positive feedback from total strangers, who were able to better understand math with his learning videos. Due to the increasing demand for digital learning content, the idea of ​​the Khan Academy was born, whose technology was not developed as a substitute for the teacher, but as digital support for joint learning. In addition to using my math videos on my own platform, I also decided to use YouTube, above all to get quick feedback.

Type and structure of my tutorials

From years of experience as a math tutor, I knew about special math questions, which mostly consisted of gaps in knowledge. That’s why I didn’t produce hour-long lecture formats, but on average 5 to 10 minute learning videos. To do this, I decided to step in front of the camera in the familiar explanatory image and explain the math units on a whiteboard. After all, it was a well-tried system to watch someone do something. I found it to be an exciting learning approach to provide this in precisely fitting explanatory units for constant availability as required.

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Fail here, options there

I wanted to provide the e-learning platform as an opportunity for schools and universities to offer ad-free and distraction-free digital learning with videos, which in the 2010s turned out to be economically unsustainable for me. Meanwhile, YouTube incurred no costs and offered the opportunity to reach many different people quickly and learn from the feedback. Even the first feedback was very positive:

“Understand more in 5 minutes than with several pages in the book”

“Exactly the information that I needed now”

“Cool format, see and get explained and that in short units”

It was like Sal Khan. Complete strangers reported the ability to understand math topics. So that could only mean continuing with the production of math-video-learning nuggets (small video nibbles).

Structure of the math channel and emotion despite distance

With the increasing number of learning videos (today almost 2500 on topics for school and university) I was able to build an additional structure in the YouTube channel. On the one hand, I sorted the videos according to topic in so-called playlists, so that you can start with the cake model when it comes to fractions in Video 1 and then go into more depth in later videos. For this purpose, I have sorted all playlists into main categories according to their degree of difficulty, starting with the basics through to multi-dimensional analysis in the course of study. In addition to the targeted search for a video unit, this enables video learning in a whole complex of topics as a sequence of several tutorials. One feedback in particular still touches me:

It shows that despite the distance (I have never seen 99.99% of the learners – although the tutorials have now been accessed almost 300 million times), emotions can be generated through digital learning.

Not a replacement, but a new base

Once it was the possibilities offered by book printing. The book was a distributor of knowledge and a basis for mutual learning. Now we have knowledge in the form of tutorials. The Khan Academy, among others, has shown that this is not about completely replacing learning together with videos. The video units were supplemented by additional tasks plus software that detects gaps in learning. To this end, it has long been tested in cooperation with schools how the on-site lessons can be set up in a promising future thanks to the support of digital learning environments. Namely in such a way that the teacher can outsource lengthy blackboard lectures and work with the students in a much more problem-oriented manner.

In addition to many other platforms, I have been mentioning Udacity for years, founded by Sebastian Thrun, a former Stanford professor. Again on the basis of video learning units, supplemented by tasks, exchange with experts on special questions and final tests for themed projects, so-called nanodegrees (mini degrees) can be acquired here, which will become more and more essential in the future working world. Leading companies worldwide make lifelong learning possible for their employees.

Opportunities for lifelong learning!

It is worth discussing separately how we will shape early childhood learning in the future. My opinion here is very clear: more investment in people, namely educators. From a certain age, however, it is essential to prepare our youth for a digitized future. And in lifelong learning, the consumption of learning videos, in combination with the mentioned optimizations, will play an essential role and create space and space to explore new problems in the presence phase and to work out solutions together!

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I am looking forward to your feedback!

Best regards


If you want to stop by to learn:

My math channel on YouTube:

Explanatory videos on other platforms:

Digital Mathelernplattform:

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