David Calle is the Spanish Youtube teacher. The 43 years old telecom engineer has gained reputation among the educational community for their explanatory videos. He accumulates more than half a million followers that helps pass their exams.
How arises the idea of giving their math classes on YouTube?
As a support teacher in my own academy, I got used to come home some days very frustrated because I hadn’t time to explain to my students everything I thought they needed or because I perceived quite demotivation by some of them. It was also consisted by myself on firsthand that many families could no longer afford an academy or a tutor and I thought I could put my bit to improve a little the world in which we live. Above all, I thought I could try to bring to many students the confidence and the necessary energy lacked when they faced their exams and exercises. It took several months to make the decision and gather the necessary strength – I have some panic onstage , although you don’t believe it – but as with everything I do, I put all the energy and passion I got, I studied some basics of lighting, recording and video editing and produced my first videos, thinking they would be watched only by a couple of dozen of my students … Fortunately, I was totally mistaken on that.
You have undertaken from the physical environment of a physical learning academy and from the digital environment, where do you think is more complex? Is it easier or more difficult to undertake through the digital environment?
It is certainly easier to start in the digital environment. No need to get a mortgage, or put a local, or make costly investments. In my case, I only needed a lot of courage, a couple of pens and a camera. But without any doubt, nowadays, we want to take a step further, taking into account the spirit of Unicoos 100% altruistic, it becomes very complicated and extremely difficult to obtain the resources needed to continue growing and scalable Unicoos, which is our struggle at the moment.
How did you come up with the idea of creating your own academy online, Unicoos?
From the first day, from 5 years ago without missing anyone, Personally, I began to resolve all questions that came to me. There was a time when the volume of comments was almost unaffordable. In addition, I discovered they needed more than just videos, much more than I could offer them on YouTube. And so I decided that a website where the videos were classified by subjects and courses, where there was an online forum for questions and answers, test, theory, solved exercises, books, gamification, videoclasses .. all of these were necessary and I boarded fully on it late 2014, with the intention to bring something more than what was being offered … today there are more than 100,000 subscribers on the web and accumulates a million page views per month. And in a couple of weeks with the new version we are polishing, we are convinced that it will be even better …
In 2012, Google recognized Unicoos like YouTube NextUp, in 2013, Unicoos was the project most voted in the OPEN BBVA OPEN TALENT, in 2014, Unicoos was chosen by the Telefonica Foundation among the Top 100 Educational Innovation in the world … What is the goal for this 2016?
The goal for this 2016 is to get sufficient resources for unicoos.com, so it will definitely become the online academy of sciences in the Spanish language. The idea is to help more students and better. I want videos of other subjects and levels, self-assessment tests on the web, a solution for teachers, individual video classes. This has only started…
How does it feel to teach more than half a million of subscribers?
It feels especially a great responsibility, being aware that many students see your videos and not all the content is worth it. To begin with, for example, I didn’t longer record so many videos as before because I need to be as professional possible, find the best examples, the best way to explain ..
And then a huge satisfaction, because many subscribers are the result of a lot of work and many hours of dedication.
Did you ever think your videos, which are about dense mathematics and science subjects, could overcome in reproductions other phenomena of viral music videos network or artists?
No, no way, especially seeing my first videos, which were particularly “bad”. I never imagined this … Obviously my channel does not reach the level of visits by a gamer or vlogger but as you say, to be a channel of science in which I explain how to solve problems is not bad, not bad ..
What was the opinion of your classroom students about your videos?
“Some say that I had become crazy ..: P … But most of them they were happy because finally they could go over at home, slowly and at their own pace, all what I hadn’t time in my academy. And not just at home. On the way to the examination, at the pool, in the park, on the bus .. This is one of the priceless advantages over YouTube … And FREE. What more could you ask for? ;)”
What teachers discuss with you about the teaching methods you use?
“Most of them are thrilled with the idea and encourage me to continue. Even some put my videos in the classroom or recommend them as homework.”
In the background, my videos do not differ much from what they do, with the advantage that I can focus on the eminently practical part, leaving a little aside the theory. It is true that some criticize precisely for that, that my videos does not explain the theoretical fundaments in depth in few steps, but maybe my engineering training prefer to focus on the practical applications of what I teach to my students, so they can see what really serves as an integral or a derivative, which is the actual operation of a lever and the multiple examples that they have around them in their daily lives.
How do you think it should be the attitude of a teacher in the XXI century? Do you think teachers are prepared to adopt a more digital approach to teaching?
“It is necessary passion, energy, dedication, curiosity, innovation, real desire to change things … With them there is no technological barrier to a teacher, whatever will be the generation, it can not overcome. Students who come to school today are digital natives and they have not grown up watching videos and reading books (although I am a strong advocate of reading, I think it is a current serious shortage). And we must try to adapt content and teaching to the audiovisual world that dominate and in which they have grown.”
It makes no sense unless wonderful exceptions continue teaching mathematics or physics as I studied 20 years ago when there was no Internet, no YouTube, or Google …
What is the future of education for David Calle?
“Lately I am experiencing and studying everything that comes to me on the virtual reality that I am convinced it will be a revolution, especially from an educational point of view, for the tremendous immersive power involved. It converts a science class, architecture, history or biology in an adventure. The possibilities are endless.”
I also imagine students without exams, which work together to move forward multidisciplinary projects for which they are evaluated. I imagine teachers focused exclusively on motivating students, awaken their curiosity and desire to learn and to teach them how they can take advantage and how it affects them all you have to do with science, leaving it Unicoos the resolution of the most frequent questions and more complex exercises. So they can also focus on other aspects of education that are forgotten, all they have to do with emotional intelligence, social skills, conflict resolution .. There is no point for example that a student is a teacher doing comprehensive if it is then unable to speak in public or adequately defend their ideas in a meeting.
There is a phrase of an English playwright, W.B.Yeats that I usually cite as an overview: “Teaching is not like filling a bucket, but as a bonfire”. That’s what we humbly try, “light bonfires” from a garret. With the hope that many of my Unicoos, in the future they can change the world, which is really needed. #seeyouintheclass