HOMEWORK TV show provides pupils help
Pupils with homework problems can get live, televised assistance.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- It can be fun putting your teacher on the spot, and callers to the premiere edition of Youngstown State University's "Homework Express" television show got a chance to do just that.
The twice-weekly show debuted at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, broadcast live over local cable channels from the television studio in Bliss Hall.
Amy Burd, a math teacher from Warren G. Harding High School, and Joe Radza, a science teacher from Girard Junior High School, served as the homework helpers on the first show, answering a total of five questions phoned in by area young people working on homework problems.
"I love science, and I love working with young people," Radza said, explaining why he agreed to participate.
Teach and perform
Burd, whose husband, Thomas, also a Harding math teacher who will participate in later shows, said she and her husband both teach and perform before an audience in community theater.
"Homework Express" gives them a chance to do both, she said.
Burd got the lion's share of the work on Tuesday's half-hour show, responding to four math questions.
Radza got one question that was basically a math question as well.
It's important for kids to see teachers thinking things out, just as students are asked to do, he said.
The key to the show is not so much answering homework questions as it is helping children work through their homework problems, encouraging them to experiment and understand how answers are derived, said Dr. Fred Owens, professor of communication and theater at YSU.
In addition to answering questions, the show features taped segments offering educational advice and even science experiments.
Students whose questions get aired receive a prize such as a YSU T-shirt or ice cream from Handel's Ice Cream.
Marketing the program was the toughest job, Owens said.
"We worked hard on getting the word out," added Jim Stipetich, the show's executive producer, noting that two pilot programs were run in April to see how the call-in format would work. Homework calls kept coming in even after the show, he said.
Stipetich leads a studio crew of 14 YSU telecommunication students to produce the show.
Owens said the program will focus on math and science, but, if other questions arise, resources will be provided to callers to help them find the answers.
The call-in number is (330) 941-2030.
The show will air at 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday during the school year on channel 9 on the Time-Warner cable system in Youngstown, channel 19 on Time-Warner in Trumbull County, channel 20 on Armstrong Cable in Mahoning County and channel 10 on Adelphia Cable in Mahoning County.
Kelly Stevens of WHOT-FM and HOT 101's Wake Up Crew hosts the show.
The on-air teachers will rotate appearances. In addition to Radza and Amy and Thomas Burd, Judith Moschella, a math teacher from Volney Rogers Junior High and East Middle School, and Kristy Fill, a math teacher from Girard High School, will share airtime.
The teachers had to audition for their roles and are paid for their services.
The program is a partnership between the university, the Diocese of Youngstown, the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, Mahoning County Educational Service Center, Trumbull County Educational Service Center and Time-Warner, Armstrong and Adelphia cable companies.