By Benjamin HeroldBenjamin Herold Middle School
May 31, 2018
As soon as Darnell Boursiquot hits the hallways of a Florida middle school, he’s mobbed by starstruck teenagers.
When he steps into a classroom, Sharpie-wielding students line up to ask for autographs on their shoes, phone cases, and body parts.
In the main office, teachers rush over for photos.
But Boursiquot isn’t a politician, pop star, or professional athlete.
He’s a wildly popular online math tutor, whose surprising celebrity has been made possible by an explosion of new online learning models in Florida and across the country.
“Honestly, it’s surreal to actually get to see him in real life,” said Joselyn Espinoza-Guadamuz, an 8th grader at Conniston Middle School.
“I’m used to just seeing him on a screen. When I don’t get something, I just watch his videos, and he makes me understand.”
Boursiquot is one of the public faces of a project called Algebra Nation, which includes a library of web-based instructional videos featuring T-shirt-clad instructors who sprinkle in jokes and dance moves as they explain polynomial expressions. Launched in 2013, the free online-learning platform is now used by every school district in Florida, as well as schools in Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, and South Carolina.