Make the marriage of your digital projector and laptop a happy one.
Become the teacher/learner hybrid.
I buy some tea from the deli next to the school. $1.80. I'm at the grocery store the next day and notice a box of the same tea for $6.49. 18 bags. I start wondering, "how much is the deli profiting off our transaction?"
I take a picture of the box and put it in front of my beginning algebra classes the next day — today.
This is how we introduce rates: how it doesn't just matter that the box costs more or that you get more tea in it rather you must consider the two things against each other.
After we divide price by bags and come up with 36 cents per bag, the students notice that same figure on the price tag. The grocery store helpfully makes these calculations for you.
So when I put up two more photos, two sports drinks, one in bulk, the other in miniature six-pack, I censor those figures1.
And we spend 45 minutes running computations, discussing the results, arguing over the significance of the results — all from three photos.
No wipes, checkerboards, animations, or other PowerPoint detritus. This is the 21st-century digital projector bashed back into the 20th century.
This is one of those carousel slide projectors I'll only pretend to have seen in person. I'm only projecting still images but here, in the 21st century, I can draw those images from infinite sources from around the globe or my local supermarket.
This practice habituates like a hard drug. With a digital projector waiting back in my classroom, I can't help looking for interesting, relevant images to put in front of my class.
A digital projector shrinks the time-gap between my learning moment and theirs.
A digital projector has effectively buried the difference between What Fascinates Me and What I Teach.
- So Happy Together #1: Easy, permanent storage of cool material.
- So Happy Together #2: Visualize and enliven perfunctory classroom business.