Bauxite educator has more than 10 million views on YouTube

By Sam Pierce Published January 1, 2017 at 5:45 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Sam Pierce

Tyler Tarver, director of curriculum, instruction, communications, and technology for the Bauxite School District, has more than 10 million views on his educational YouTube videos. His video on the slope intercept formula has more than 1.2 million alone.

An educator in Bauxite has gained some internet notoriety in the past couple of years after deciding on a whim to make a YouTube video.

Tyler Tarver, currently the director of curriculum, instruction, communications and technology for the Bauxite School District, made a video in 2009 on the slope-intercept formula. He said the entire process took maybe five minutes, but in seven years, the video has gained more than a million and a quarter views.

“That day, I had an extra day during the summer,” Tarver said. “I was working on my room, and I said, ‘I am going to throw a few basic math videos. That way, if kids get stuck, they can use it.

“A year or two later, it just continues to keep getting hits. If you search slope-intercept formula, I’m the first one that pops up.”

Currently, Tarver’s video on the formula — which he posted on Aug. 18, 2009 — has earned 1,254,387 views on YouTube. He has more than 10 million total views on his educational videos.

“I tried to make it simple, and I didn’t try to sound mathy,” Tarver said. “I made it simple. I try to point out stuff and make it light and fun, and deliver information for kids to understand.”

Tarver said he has made a little money off of some of the bigger videos, “usually enough to go out to eat a time or two a month.

“I have had a couple people sponsor some videos in the past, but not in a while.”

Tarver said he isn’t sure why his videos have gained so many views but credited it to the ever-growing and changing ways of education.

“You used to be limited,” Tarver said. “You could only learn from whoever got hired to be your teacher. And now, I can teach you math. I think Darth Vader can teach you math.

“You can basically choose your own adventure. Kids are not limited to who they learn from.”

Tarver said that if somebody likes a “twangy-sounding white guy from Arkansas, then hit me up.”

“I get a lot of comments, but the three I always get are: They talk bad about their teacher and how they didn’t teach them anything in 45 minutes, and they say nice things about me where I taught it in five minutes and they get it, or they make fun of my accent.”

Tarver said some of the YouTube comments can get crazy, but he has built up a thick skin to the insults.

“Pretty much anybody can say anything about me, and it is not going to phase me,” Tarver said.

Tarver said the goal of school is to get kids prepared for real life.

“So if they are going to use a computer to do whatever job they are doing, then it makes sense to help do their education using a device,” Tarver said. “It is just a device. It is not going to do the job for you.

“Teachers are still the most important aspect of learning, but now it is less about teachers teaching, and it is more focused on students learning.

“Kids are different than they were 10 years ago or 50 years ago. Now it is about engaging them, helping them learn and build skills for whatever they are going to do.”

Tarver said it is not about pushing every kid down the same hallway, but “it is about opening doors so they can go wherever they want.

“That’s the way I look at education.”

Tarver graduated from Bauxite High School in 2003 and from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville with a bachelor’s degree in 2007. He started teaching math at Beebe High School right out of college. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and an administration degree online from Arkansas State University. He is currently pursuing a doctorate from the University of Arkansas.

“I am trying to get a degree from every school in the state,” Tarver said, joking. “I want to donate to every school’s funds and get alumni donation letters for the next 50 years.

“That’s my goal.”

He said his loyalties lie with Bauxite and Arkansas Tech, but when schools such as ASU or UCA play each other in sporting events, he has to choose UCA, just because he has done so much with the school lately.

Tarver has two YouTube channels, and they can be found at www.youtube.com/tylertarver and www.youtube.com/sirtylertarver. He also has a website, tarveracademy.com.

“You can tell when school starts because the views go up,” Tarver said. “There are a huge chunk of kids that are in Chapter 5, and they are working their way through.”

Tarver said he will get hits, emails and comments all the time where teachers assign his videos.

“It is kind of the way education is shifting and changing,” Tarver said. “You don’t have teachers delivering the information; they guide the process of learning.”

Tarver said sometimes it just takes a different voice or a different style of teaching to help people learn.

“There were kids who didn’t get it when I was teaching it in class, when they had me in person,” Tarver said. “I am just glad I could help any kid, much less a few million.

“I love helping kids. I am still making math videos and tossing them up on my channel.”

He said that for a long time, kids from all over the world would tweet him or email him and ask him questions.

“They would take a picture of their math problem and tweet me; then I would get it, work it, upload it and then send them a link,” Tarver said. “For anybody that asked, I was their teacher.

“I was like their free tutor. It is just about helping kids learn.”

Tarver has been in his current position for the Bauxite School District for two years and has been in education for 10.

“I am basically an assistant superintendent, but I don’t have the title or the pay raise,” Tarver said, joking.

He was also a principal for the district for two years and currently freelances by making commercials, as well as wedding videos and sport videos.

“That also comes in handy for work,” Tarver said. “Whenever I can, and whenever I have the time, I want to promote our staff and what our teachers are doing.”

Tarver and his family are members of New Life Church in Maumelle.

“How much content do we consume and it doesn’t progress us at all?” Tarver asked. “If I can help any kid learn anything, I think I have done my job.

“My video has done something. It took five minutes, and now the video has helped over a million kids, 10 million views all together. The amount of kids, if it helped any kid, that’s good. That’s my goal.”

Staff writer Sam Pierce can be reached at (501) 244-4314 or spierce@arkansasonline.com.

Staff Sam Pierce can be reached at spierce@arkansasonline.com.