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Making up class time online

Pittsford, N.Y. -- Its another way of learning: a virtual classroom thats been set up by Stu Smith, a sixth-grade math teacher at Barker Road Middle School in Pittsford.

It gives them a lot of confidence knowing they can go home and review the lessons as many times as they need to, said Smith, who started posting the lessons online last year.

Around 80 percent of Smiths 100 students use the videos that match each lesson they have in the classroom.

I really like them because in other grades in past years I had to ask my Dad for help if I didnt get anything, and sometimes hell do like different methods and Ill tell him, we didnt learn that in class, thats different, said sixth grader Taylor Sampone. But now this time we can actually use the videos and know thats the way he taught us and still be able to learn.

Students also use the lessons to make up missed classroom time.

I think it's like really good because one time I missed the class and I just went home and went online it helped me with my homework, said 12-year-old Aaron Anandarajah.

Smith said he finds that many times even if a student is sick, theyll come to school with the missed lesson learned and their homework done.

Its a tremendous help to me, said Smith, knowing that if students are absent for whatever reason, a music lesson or out sick, that they can also review the lessons as many times as they need to.

Smiths students arent the only people benefiting from the lessons.

His YouTube channel, Smith Math Academy, has gone global.

His lessons have been viewed about 160,000 times in 182 different countries.

I told parents at open house I dont know if your kids are watching the video, but Im a pretty big deal in the Philippines, Smith joked.

But in all seriousness, Smith has seen the benefits of his online lessons.

Any given day youll have students that miss because of music lessons or theyre out sick or they have a doctors appointment, said Smith. I know that I can just give them the assignment and then they can go home and watch the video and then if they have any questions they can come see me, but generally they do pretty well just watching the video.

While this is a huge help to him and the classroom as a whole, Smith said videos in no way can replace learning from a teacher in a classroom.

I dont think a video could ever replace a teacher, said Smith. Kids need a pat on the back they need that human interaction, so while theyre really great I dont see education ever going to a videos sort of system.

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Washington Times