Students Teaching Students: Tutorial Creation

As a Teaching & Learning Coach I also support the use of strategies that foster 21st century skills, so our 1:1 laptop program can truly be about developing a culture of learning. Alan November wrote a very well known book called Who Owns the Learning: Preparing Students for Success in the Digital Age. The article Alan November: How Teachers and Tech Can Let Students Take Control , highlights Alan’s idea of a learning culture:

“And it turns out that to teach, students really have to learn the material well. And the students also take more ownership of the school.” One way to replicate that ownership now is to give students classroom jobs, allowing them to contribute something powerful to the classroom dynamic…Getting students to care on that level and to be responsible for one another is exactly the kind of shared exploration in community that education should encourage, November said.

The classroom strategy shared in this post can be used at any grade level, even though it happened in a HS math class. Silvia Tolisano, featured in Alan November’s book mentioned above, has several posts about students being content creators / tutorial designers. A useful post from her provides a Quality Tutorial Designer’s Checklist, that is specially useful with younger students and/or more complex tutorials.

So in the IB Math SL I class, Mr Bert Leatherman’s students had to go over revision material and exercises on three topics: Sign Diagrams, Rational Functions and Inverse Functions. Instead of having the teacher in front of the class revising the concepts and solving an example exercise, we decided to empower the students as contributors to their own learning and the learning of others. During the first half of the class, students worked in pairs, becoming “experts” in one of the three topics. Then they would produce a simple video tutorial to be immediately shared with peers. In the second half of the class, each pair would then take the time to watch other expert videos on a different topic and try to go over some exercises. Because we had more than one expert group per topic, students could choose which video explanation to watch, or even watch more than one to compare explanation styles and decide what suits them better. The teacher became available to support expert groups and later to clarify any questions.


Lesson Plan

The key to the video tutorial was to be simple, short, with useful tips about main ideas and difficult points in the exercises.  The students used their own cellphones for the video recording, which then had to be uploaded directly to Youtube and the link shared on a collaborative Google Doc for immediate access. In this way the Google Doc also became the classroom study guide archive.



Teacher supporting tutorial designers


Students recording video tutorial


Student watching peer created tutorial in class

This is one example of a student created tutorial, which was done during the classroom, within a 30 minutes period including study, prep and recording.


These are the video tutorials created by the other groups:

Group 1: 2E Sign Diagrams  +  2E Sign Diagrams #2
Group 2: 2E Sign Diagrams
Group 3: 2E Sign Diagrams
Group 4: 2F Rational Functions
Group 5: 2F Rational Functions
Group 6: 2F Inverse Functions
Group 7: 2F Inverse Functions



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