Three years ago, London teacher Colin Hegarty started making maths tutorial videos to give his students extra support. Those videos – and the many more he has created since – have now had 1.2m hits on YouTube and have reached 200 countries. Here, he tells his story:
“I believe that all students can achieve in maths as long as two conditions are met: students believe that it is possible for them to achieve in maths; and students have that bit of extra support/guidance to help them through their maths journey, particularly at home.
Three years ago I decided to make YouTube maths video tutorials for my students to assist with the second of those conditions. Initially, the idea was to level the playing field between students in my class that were using private tutors to improve their maths grades and those who could not afford that extra support.
There was, however, an initial problem with my videos idea – they turned out not to be helping the most disadvantaged pupils in my school; those students did not have access to the internet or a computer to access this resource.
Hence, I applied for funding from charity the Shine Trust, which funds teacher ideas through the Let Teachers Shine programme. My application was successful and I used the money to help me expand the collection of videos and also to run after-school iPad revision clubs, where students could stay at school to work through the specifically-designed maths tutorials.
After the first year, the tutorials and iPad revision clubs had helped my students achieve the best results in our school’s history. A most wonderful unexpected benefit was also achieved: students from across the country (and even the world) started accessing these videos and benefiting from them via YouTube.
Since the first year, and with continued Shine support (I received second-year funding for my project after the success of the first year), I have expanded the project to become a free online website and have uploaded the videos to my TES Connect profile. The videos enable students to work through their GCSE and A-level maths curricula with video support and interactive checklists, so that they can track their progress and make their home learning really targeted and beneficial.
The videos have now been watched more than 1.2 million times and reached more than 200 countries to date. Over 20,000 students are regularly benefiting from the videos.
Long term, my dream is to provide a free online resource to support students through their entire maths education, one where students feel that they have a one-to-one tutor that can help them whenever they are stuck or working on their maths at home.
I have enjoyed every second of this journey so far and look forward to the realising my big dreams in the not too distant future.”
Colin teaches at Preston Manor School in Brent, London. His funding was provided by the Shine Trust, which runs Let Teachers Shine, a competition to fund innovative teacher-led ideas to raise attainment in the classroom. To apply for a grant of up to £15,000 before the closing date of 27 April, visit shinetrust.org.uk.