Austin HS Algebra I team produces its own version of the ‘Khan Academy’

Maria Rios, the content manager for the mathematics department of Austin High School, knew that there was already a multitude of resources available online—such as the Khan Academy—to help kids master various math concepts. But something about that just set wrong with her. So she and the school’s Algebra I team produced an online library of web-based instructional videos.

“What we were interested in is continuing to build relationships with our students,” said Rios, “to personalize our instruction by having our voices—the voices of the students’ actual teachers—and our style of delivery available at any time to learners.”

The video library was created both to complement students’ in-class lessons and to maximize the benefits of the PowerUp initiative, but another benefit was that it allowed teachers to “flip” the traditional classroom model on its head.

“That means students become acquainted with concepts at home, during their evening homework time,” explained teacher Dominique Brown. “Then, they practice and seek clarification with teachers during school time. This maximizes students’ opportunities to practice and lets us diagnose problems right away and provide immediate instructional intervention.”

Principal Jorge Arredondo said he is “thrilled” with the new addition to his school’s instructional toolbox. “These videos are state-of-the-art in computer-based pedagogy and personalized learning,” he said.

More than 40 lessons are available, on topics such as “Evaluating Expressions,” “Proportions,” “Combining Like Terms,” and “Solving One and Two-Step Inequalities.” Production of additional titles is ongoing. Access to the videos is free and requires no password, so anyone who is interested can watch them.

“Austin was one of the founding PowerUp schools,” added Arredondo, “and we are working hard to take full advantage of the students having a laptop computer. I am so proud of the Algebra I team, who spent the greater part of their summer working on these videos, at the expense of their vacations and time with their family.”

To learn more about the Power Up initiative, please visit the main HISD website. You can also read a similar story here.