Fall 2008 Issue


Thanks to ATV, Parents Can View Their
Children Teaching Math on the Internet

By Miguel Enriquez, KD7RPP

Shani Coca explaining how to add fractions with different denominators.

Putting amateur radio to work and demonstrating the benefits it provides to mankind has been confirmed countless times since day one of our hobby. Amateur radio operators in near and far-away places rising to assist or save folks in peril make the news reports quite frequently. However, we hardly ever hear of the skills and
dedication required to make that particular rescue possible. Therefore, we go about our lives, safer and happier because of ham radio, not fully appreciating the full impact that amateur radio has on us all.

Amateur Television, on the other hand, does not suffer this same degree of indignity. It suffers an even greater level of indifference. This is because few people, including some ham radio operators, tend to view ATV as capable of delivering little in terms of community services. Sure, we televise picnics and gatherings, bicycle events, local parades, and even the Rose Bowl Parade many years ago. However, it is the opinion of this author that ATV has been allowed to sink to a low level of importance, not because of its limited capabilities but because only a few ham operators are actively participating in its development.

Perhaps those days are coming to an end. In trying to figure out a way to put our own ATV resources to better use, the students in the Pueblo Magnet High School Amateur Radio Club are embarking on a new venture—the delivery of math instruction to elementary schools via ATV and the internet.
Pueblo ARC students are busy preparing 3–5-minute vignettes that will be aired live to any classroom wishing to view and benefit from these presentations. Interested classroom instructors must have a computer connected to the internet in the classroom. What this means is that in the next few weeks, you too can tune to our ATV signal via your computer. These same presentations will also be videotaped and “rebroadcast” at later times.

The premise of the program, which is called “Kidz-Teaching-Kidz,” is that children learn faster and more easily from other children. Call it more appropriate levels; call it better comprehension; call it what you must. However, research has demonstrated repeatedly that kids learn better from other kids.

The Pueblo ARC students will not be presenting math instruction in its entirety. Rather, the Pueblo ARC students will be teaching those areas in which many students traditionally have problems. Subjects such as fractions, decimals, number sense, and recognizing patterns are first on the teaching schedule. Admittedly, the math instruction via ATV concept is still in its infancy and we have yet to articulate an entire curriculum. However, as one of my students said, “So what if we’re not good at this? At least we are getting more confidence standing in front of a camera and having our friends and parents see us trying to do the math. We can’t go wrong.”

While our efforts at introducing ATV to other Tucson hams have not been as successful as we would like, our efforts continue. The school has three stations, one fixed and two portable. The students use the two portable stations at other schools, hamfests, and other venues to demonstrate ATV QSOs. It is via these students’ efforts that we hope to grow ATV activity in Tucson and the outlying areas. In my next column I will highlight some of our successes in increasing ATV activity. In the meantime, we remain true to our cause: to develop our ATV knowledge and skills as we find ways to use ATV to make a significant contribution to our community.

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