What Can You Do With This: Pilot

My take on digital media in the classroom, the next-gen lecturer, went ultra-viral last summer, tripling up on Did You Know?, and making Sir Ken Robinson wish he never paid attention to his YouTube stats, etc.

Responding to demand, I’d like to serialize the video into an ongoing series called What Can You Do With This?, the structure of which will go like this:

  1. I will post a digital photo or some digital video. I will do this without elaboration.
  2. We will take to the comments and angle ourselves at the best possible use of that media in a classroom setting, which use, I predict, will be superior to the one I originally imagined.

At the very least, we will find in these (high-res, DRM-free) media a better way to introduce material than whatever “real world” contrivance your textbook recommends. At best, we will train our eyes to find our content areas in the world around us, becoming better teachers in the process.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school teacher, former graduate student, and current head of teaching at Desmos. More here.


  1. Suggestion:
    When you’re looking for clips to post, don’t always go for the pop-culture/cult-classic movie clip which by their very nature are the fictional contrivances that you so vehemently rail against in textbooks.

    If you want to create authentic and relevant (real world) learning experiences for your students, look no further than CSPAN, the latest economic crisis, random numbers bandied about by presidential-hopeful politicians.

    Many teachers offer extra credit to their students for watching the presidential debates. But how many math teachers challenged their students to find logical fallacies and mathematical errors in both candidates arguments?

  2. Meghan, I’m unopposed to contrivances, so long as they’re engaging and visual. It’s the uncompelling clip-art involving trains traveling toward each other that bothers me in textbooks.

    At this point, I’m looking to leverage tiny media fillets into full-scale lessons. I don’t know if CSPAN footage of (eg.) a candidate quoting unemployment numbers really offers me much, but I’ll keep an eye out.