Beyond Blogging – Alice Aspinall

As mentioned yesterday, I’d like to try something a little different so please hang in there with me.

You know that I’m a big fan of Ontario Educators and their blogging efforts.  I have no intention to drop that because there are so many that have poured their deepest thoughts into personal blogs and continue to do so.  A look through the Livebinder will show you the wit and wisdom of so many.  It continues to grow and I fully intend to continue with my Friday TWIOE posts.

But there are some great things that appear other than in the traditional blog.  I’d like to take this week to identify and share other media that is being used to share thoughts.  It’s certainly not complete but should serve as a nice inspiration for you to consume and, hopefully, branch out to something different for yourself.

Since we’re in education, we know that there have to be rules.  So, my rule in order to make this list was that you have to show evidence of doing multiple things in the media.  I think we’ve all done one ofs.  Those are experiments.  Do it more frequently and it becomes a series and makes it eligible for this series.  Hey, my blog, my rules.


Alice Aspinall

This morning, I’d like to focus on the works of Alice Aspinall.  She is a secondary school mathematics teacher and apparently loves the subject.  At least, that’s what her YouTube handle says.

https://www.youtube.com/mrsalovesmath

Recently, she reached 100 followers of her channel which enabled her to have the custom URL.  So, congratulations on that.

The focus of the channel is to solve mathematics problems – from beginning to end and record/explain every step.

I’m impressed with this work at so many levels.

  • First of all, it can be difficult to go from beginning to end without making a mistake.  Any teacher who has ever tried to solve a problem in front of a class at the chalkboard knows that.  (How many of you have used the line “just checking to see if you’re paying attention” as you erase a mistake)
  • Unlike the traditional short video of 30-60 seconds, a complete mathematics solution can take some time.  Most of her videos fall in the range of 4-10 minutes as demonstrated here.  Try replicating what she’s done and you can’t help but be impressed.

  • Her printing is perfect.  As a terrible writer any more, I’m impressed with that.  In addition, you’ve got to appreciate her ability to write in a straight line on unlined paper while explaining the solution.  Throw into the mix keeping an eye on the recording to know when to adjust the paper to keep everything in sight and there are many possible points of failure!

The result is a nice collection of explanation videos.

How to use them?  There are a multitude of ways.

  • introduce a concept
  • students can review the procedures at home
  • students who don’t “get it” in class don’t have to embarrass themselves by asking to have it explained again
  • students who miss a class for whatever reason can use this as part of their catch up activities
  • flip the classroom using content on her terms
  • and I’m sure that you can think of other ways

There are huge benefits for her students in the explicit instruction that is given.  There’s also another message here that’s important.  Anyone who takes the time and considerable effort to pull this together must truly “love math”.

Her students will be the immediate users of this content.  But, because they’re online for all to see, you can use these as well if they’re appropriate.

You can follow Alice on Twitter at @aliceaspinall.

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