Niles New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy facilitators Jeff de Varona and Kelley Watson give students direction during MathMath class Wednesday morning. The facilitators were awarded two grants totaling $6,000 that will allow students to create online Algebra tutorials in the near future. Daily Star photo/Craig Haupert

Archived Story

Students become teachers

Published 11:30pm Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Math students at Niles New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy will have the opportunity to teach thousands of other students, both near and far, how to master the same algebra concepts they have already conquered.
At least that is the hope of Niles New Tech math facilitators Jeff de Varona and Kelley Watson. Teachers are referred to as facilitators at New Tech.
“We believe this will help get the students more engaged,” said de Varona. “You aren’t just taking a quiz for the teacher, you are demonstrating your knowledge for an outside audience. We have the tools to do some pretty cool stuff.”
De Varona and Watson have been awarded two grants: a $1,000 grant from the Niles Education Foundation and a $5,000 grant from the National Education Association.
The grants will provide the necessary resources for their students, which are called learners in New Tech, to create and post online algebra tutorials and demonstrations to a yet-to-be-made website. The tutorials then could be viewed by anyone connected to the Internet.
“The videos made this year could help out students next year, or help anyone else who sees them,” Watson said.
Watson and de Varona say they will use the grant money to purchase more than 20 video cameras, more than 20 electronic writing tablets, a green screen and other equipment needed to create the tutorials for the yearlong project.
Both Watson and de Varona believe the process of creating the tutorials will give learners a better understanding of the concepts taught in New Tech’s MathMath class. One-hundred and twenty eight freshmen are enrolled in MathMath, which is a combination of Algebra 1 and Geometry.
Once the grant money comes in, the equipment can be purchased. Watson and de Varona hope to begin the program in two to three weeks and have initial tutorials up and running by Christmas.

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