If you know mathematics well enough to teach it in a one-on-one setting, you have a real possibility to change the lives of a lot of young people.
There’s no question that Salman Khan has done a wonderful thing with his Khan Academy. His mathematics videos are very good. Well over a million students have taken advantage of these videos, and they are live all over the world. He has fundamentally changed the lives of more young people than any teacher in history. Yet he did this simply by posting YouTube videos on his site.
We know this much in education: “One size doesn’t fit all.” One teaching methodology doesn’t work for everybody. Anybody who thinks that there is a single theory of education that applies to as many as 80% of the population does not understand the findings of modern psychology. The learning process is astoundingly complex, and no one can get a handle on it.
There are a lot of homeschool mothers who fear the day when they must teach advanced mathematics to their children. They know that at that point, that they will have to turn over the instruction assignment to somebody else. This may be someone in a local homeschool cooperative. It may be a course on the Web. But the mothers know that they will have to bow out.
One of the ways that this can be done is to adopt Ray’s Arithmetic. This was widely used in the 19th century’s public schools. It is highly sophisticated. The textbooks are online free of charge. They are available to download on the Ron Paul Curriculum site.
If someone were to take these digital pages and create video lessons on them, he could post them on his own personal website. If they are any good, I will post them on the Ron Paul Curriculum site. They should be YouTube videos, the same way that the Khan Academy’s videos are.
I would like to believe that somebody out there would do this simply to help kids. This is what Khan did. But there are ways of monetizing this work.
If somebody produced a series of screencast videos, but he offered his services as a tutor for a fee, I think he would be inundated. Maybe he could teach a live online class this way. If somebody picked up 50 students at $10 an hour, life would get sweet.
I see this as a way for anybody who wanted to go into teaching to get into teaching, and he doesn’t have to go through any kind of certification. He probably could make a nice living at it, but in any case, he could change a lot of students’ lives. I think somebody who has taught for years in a classroom environment, and who is now retired, could leave this is his legacy.
When I say his, I mean anybody. There are a lot of women who can do math. My wife is a whiz at mathematics. But I find that they tend not to want to get in front of an audience. They don’t want to shoot YouTube videos. I have asked a lot of them to do it, and every one of them has turned me down.
The technology is cheap. There are whiteboard systems. There are the wonderful drawing devices put out by Wacom. Here is an article on these tools.
If you own a tablet computer, you don’t need a Wacom. You could do it with free or cheap whiteboard software.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)