Live Every Week Like It’s Shark Week

So you’ve got these sharks swimming around in the Pacific Ocean tagged with GPS transponders. Sharkrunner, a game from Discovery Channel, gives you a virtual boat, a virtual crew, affiliates you with a virtual research consortium, gives you virtual profits, but has you tracking real freaking sharks.

You choose your port-of-call (Monterey, CA, for me) and what should blink awake on your radar but several real freaking sharks. I set course for “Vicky” after deciding I had enough fuel to reach her.

And then this is fun: your ship travels in something approximating real-time so you can then take a break, talk some trash to rival sharkrunners, go for a jog, or whatever, and Discovery will e-mail and/or text-message you when you’re in range of the big fish.They let you block out sleeping hours, during which time they won’t message you, but I rejected all such conveniences. I’m a sharkrunner … not some weekend abalone diver, ya heard?

After you receive the text-message alert and cut your anniversary dinner short, you can perform one-person dives, two-person dives, seal decoys, remote camera embeddings, etc. You want to gather data for your sponsors but you must make sure your crew has the stamina and skill for the dive.

Poor poor Olaf. Your captain’s ambition outreached your ability. For that he will never forgive himself.

Lots of obvious fun here for an oceanography class/unit. Even if you have only one computer in the back (like me) kids will reach their real freaking sharks at different times. They’ll catch a text message in class and, for once, it’ll be oriented around instruction. Sharkrunner’s applicability to my math classes is basically nil, but, you know, I’m all about the love here at dy/dan. So enjoy.

[via Information Aesthetics]

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. If you ever consider re-branding the blog, Mr. “All About Love Here” Guy, I think “DY/Sharkrunner” might deserve a consideration.

    Brilliant find. Can see why you were hooked.

    And I can see future applications, although few would have immediate educational overlaps:

    1. CelebrityRehabRunner: Follow Lindsay and other celebs to and from rehab, upscale shopping malls, and late night lounge parties. Best of all, you get to be a virtual Paparazzi and ‘collect’ photos of celebs via Flickr RSS feeds and text messages.

    2. RunningOfTheBullsRunner: Either follow a runner or be a runner. Do your best in real time to out-run the bulls. Fail to dodge the large rushing beasts and find yourself gored. Text messages come with buzzing/vibration feeling in an effort to suggest ‘pain’.

    3. CarbonFootprintRunner: A bit more esoteric, but this is your chance to follow Al Gore giving PowerPoint Presentations around college towns throughout the US. Special upgrade allows you to go to Davos, TED, and the Aspen Institute for very hush-hush meetings that are ripe with “sustainability” language. Extra points if you predict the “Did you really create the Internet?” question from people whispering behind his back while he passes in the halls.

  2. I think you’re onto something. Three somethings. All of those.

    You’re in professional development, right? You should definitely interrupt tomorrow’s morning meeting and suggest those. Let us know how it goes.

  3. I’m not quite so sure that there’s “nil” application for your math classes…. maybe the sharks themselves don’t present anything too mathematical, but that darned GPS sure offers a good context for talking about geometry in general, and trigonometry in particular! Granted, doing the actual math with whichever satellites are helping out might be a little bit esoteric for a high schooler, but the concept is definitely strong.

  4. Sure, conceptually, GPS is strong. No argument there. I’m not sure what conceptual purpose sharkrunning serves math, though, except as an arbitrary hook. More or less fascinating than Google Maps? Jury’s out for me.

    Even if I taught science, I’d find the value here sketchy. It’s closer to a job shadow program than anything else, I think, and what value that has is left to anyone else’s discretion but mine. Fun way to wile a Saturday afternoon away, if nothing else.

  5. While I can’t compete with Rich’s righly-suggested geometric tie-in on the Shark GPS game, I am willing to bank my career on the fact that my new colleagues/school will embrace with open arms my RunningWithTheBullsRunner project concept.

    I’m going to suggest — naturally — that they fly me over to Spain to ‘scout’ the ‘learning’ connections in advance. Hate to get involved in anything I haven’t thoroughly researched on-the-ground ahead of time.

    I’ll leave Al Gore and Lindsay Lohain to bigger fans. Perhaps you can take up the slack in either camp, Dan?