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Plugging In to Homework

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Students at one Maryland middle school are plugging more than "Batman Returns'' into their home videocassette players these days.

Marvin Mostow, a science teacher at White Oak Middle School in Montgomery County, has taken advantage of his students' fascination with the medium by producing a series of take-home study videotapes.

Mr. Mostow's students can use the videotapes to study anything from their science unit on muscles and bones, to a mathematics lesson on decimals, to an English discourse on subject-verb agreement. The idea is both to keep students interested in their schoolwork and to complement what they learn in class.

Students pay $3 at the beginning of the school year for a blank tape so Mr. Mostow can record the study lessons. The tapes usually contain a table of contents at the beginning so that students can fast-forward or rewind to the part they want. The videos typically contain problems that the student must solve and then explain to the rest of the class the next day.

Mr. Mostow says that he has seen improved performance in students who use the videotapes. The tapes are popular with the class, he says, because he includes cartoons, puppets, and real-life examples to explain the concepts he wants his students to understand.

Even though most students and parents endorse the videotapes, Mr. Mostow says he does not think that they will replace traditional methods of instruction.--U.G.

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