Remote math: Teacher Jetze Zoethout rolled a chalkboard home

Wiskundeles op krijtbord

Everywhere, teachers are looking for ways to continue their teaching remotely. This is also the case at the Mathematics Department. There, special demands are placed on teaching from home. After all: "In mathematics education it is crucial to follow the reasoning of a formulation. Because of that, a chalkboard or whiteboard is nearly indispensable.”

Smart pens

"The week before we really had to start working from home, I went stocking up on smart pens," says department head Jason Frank. "With a pen like that, you can easily record a knowledge clip at home. You write on a notepad and the smart pen converts the writing to a video recording sent to your phone via bluetooth. In the meantime, you film yourself while explaining the notes and the recordings are combined into one. Students can then look back at the recording. This system lends itself very well to math classes."

Room for error

Frank is proud of the way in which the employees of the department have made the switch to digital education. "Most of them have found their way by now, and there are no major problems we are facing," he says. In spite of everything, he sees positive sides to the situation: "We are being forced to do something we should have done a long time ago," says Frank. "Moreover, the threshold to really try something new is much lower, because everyone understands that things don’t run smoothly right away in a crisis situation like this".

Remote lecture with chalkboard

Still, some math teachers prefer the old familiar chalkboard over everything else. For example, teacher Jetze Zoethout rolled a chalkboard from the lecture hall to his home when the measures to work at home took effect. He now gives lectures, together with colleague Harry Smit, via a live stream on YouTube, simply while standing in front of the blackboard and explaining the mathematic equations.

Wiskunde op afstand met een krijtbord

"We think interactivity is very important, and with a live stream, students are able to ask questions directly, to which we can then respond immediately," says Smit. And because the situation is bizarre enough: "We wanted the lecture to feel as normal as possible.”