Glean: Open Online Videos to Boost Math Instruction

Leilani CohenBy Leilani Cohen
Math Teacher
Frederick Douglass High School
Atlanta, GA

This year, to keep things realistic, I chose one New Year’s resolution: to use more technology in my classroom. Luckily, a colleague turned me on to Glean a few days after the start of the year. It’s a new website that hosts educational video lessons from thousands of teachers on YouTube, and I’ve had a blast using it. I’m encouraging my students to use it to become more self-directed learners.

Glean screenshot of video and alternate videos on Pythagorean Theorem.

Glean screenshot of video and alternate videos on Pythagorean Theorem.

Here’s a brief description of Glean from their about page:

Hundreds of amazing teachers post educational videos online every day. At Glean, we’ve structured and organized these videos, tagged them by educational standard, and wrapped them in interactive tools (like Q&A and practice exercises). We’ve even built technology to pick the ideal teacher for the student based on his/her learning style and ability.

I have seven tablets in my high school math classroom so we’re not quite a 1:1 yet, but I make sure each student uses a tablet at least once each day. I’ve started adding Glean to the rotation of educational software I have them use.

So far our usage is simple. I choose the most appropriate video given the class topic for the day (say, Pythagorean Theorem) and assign this to each student. After watching the video, if the students are confident in their understanding of the concepts, they can move on to my exercises. If not, they can choose from a dozen or so alternate videos covering the same topic on Glean. Of course, hearing things more than once helps students learn a concept well, but hearing things more than once from a different teacher at a different pace using different visual media, I feel, helps even more.

This is why I’m excited about Glean, which could eventually take the place of Khan Academy in my class. So far feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from my high school students, and I’m excited to see how their usage changes with the product over time!

3 Responses

  1. Thanks so much for the Glean shout out! I’m part of the Glean team and hope you enjoy using the site. I’d love to hear feedback and how it’s going, so please keep us in the loop. We’re always looking to improve and help teachers like you!

  2. I like this bit particularly: “Of course, hearing things more than once helps students learn a concept well, but hearing things more than once from a different teacher at a different pace using different visual media, I feel, helps even more.” It fits in nicely with claims of Cognitive Flexibility Theory – the idea to present information from multiple perspectives and in different ways so that students will form mental representations that can be applied and transferred to new contexts.

    • Stefanie – thanks for bringing Cognitive Flexibility Theory to my attention. Not something I had thought of before in a formal sense but had always tried to do in my own classroom. I’d love to hear from you and how you’re using Glean in the classroom. It would be great to get your thoughts and feedback. My email address is sandra@glean.co. Thanks!

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