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Dina Strasser, killing me in the comments of the last post:

Was I NOT just up til midnight last night scavenging Youtube for lit term videos??!

Thinking to myself, “{expletive redacted}. No one’s done this yet to my satisfaction… something *else* I need to do?!?”

And then this.

Educators will understand that it is not the mere synchronicity, but the fact that my workload has been LIGHTENED that confirms the hand of God at work here.

Or the hand of Todd Seal, a high-functioning blogger. Can we all get with this program?

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. 8 months later and still no closer to a solution (“Call to Action”). And I think I’ve posted about this, too.

    So what’s the next step? Is one of us going to have to quit blogging, just patrol the internet, and create a clearinghouse for all these posts? Are we all going to quit writing our own sites and just create a massive WordPressMU site with each of us our own discipline to maintain? How do we kick Christian’s thought into gear? Is it a searching problem? I posted that entry on Tuesday, so why couldn’t Dina find it on Wednesday? I’m nowhere in the Google results for “lit term videos.”

    There’s a good point being made, here: great entries are being posted left and right. How do we make sure we’re all in on the idea frenzy so our students benefit?

    Yeah, I’m shocked she didn’t go for “the hand of Todd at work” on that.

  2. Todd. God. Why must I explicate what is an obvious equivalence?

    Working on this, guys. Just shot an email to Christian about the three of us English people starting with a tri-moderated visual dictionary/wiki: culturally relevant video clips mapped to lit terms. I can already see expanding to other discipline-specific concepts later, once/if a workflow is established and site publicized.

    (It’s not the warehouse for all amazing education posts you envision, Todd, but it’s probably a good idea to start small and specific.)

    Forrest Gump on simile…How to Kill a Chocolate Bunny on heat transfer… THE WORLD WILL BE OURS!

  3. You’re giving me free reign on unapologetic Forrest Gump usage in my classroom, Dina? Enough said. I’m definitely game for the “small and specific” English side of the wiki hallway.

    I like how JackieB is asking one of the obvious questions regarding codifying the process, although I am not a ‘tagger’ (so I’m not gonna jump into that idea pool myself). Instead, I think that if a few passionate folks craft a compelling site with a clear point that serves a specific community of discipline-specific educators, it’ll have tangible value to those it has value to. The same way certain blogs (like dy/dan’s) do for math teachers, video-focused educators, design-savvy teacher types, etc., but also then act as metaphor crafters for the field-at-large. Suggesting that we establish a universal protocol suggests great promise in a democratic manner, but rarely great ownership/follow-through (IMHO) can be found a months later unless Jimmy Wales is on-board.

    Todd: I’m 100% game, fella. As Dina said, we’ve already connected and have a phone call being scheduled for later this weekend. Shall we Skype it up so that all 3 of us can jump on board with a lit term initial focus, looking to broaden it a bit more in due time?

    For one, I’m geeking out these days on creating a master list of video clips (trailers and specific scenes) of films and TV episodes that highlight specific elements of Joseph Campbell’s hero journey. I’ve been scouring YouTube a great deal as of late, but I know I’m only scratching the surface.

    I’m sure with you/Dina helping out, we could put some serious hero meat on the archetype bone together, as well as building additional media ‘lists’ for other English topic categories, too. Let me know what you’re mulling over..and let’s put this sucker in motion.

  4. I’m not sure about JackieB‘s idea that there should simply be a set of agreed-upon tags. Sure, standardization between synonyms is good, but that still doesn’t mean it’s any easier to find things if you don’t know where you’re looking. Google has millions of results for “simile”, but probably few with any information like you’re looking for.

    On the other hand, Christian, I’m inclined to think that tags are more useful than simply having categories, if the videos are in one semi-central place (even with many people being able to edit the information). You’ll lose valuable metadata whenever you try to pigeonhole something into one place or another. Of course, a universal protocol like the Semantic Web would be ideal, but you can see how well that’s worked out so far. I’m halfway inclined to set up a quick web application to make the whole thing easier, but we’ll see how that goes. It seems like there’s some interest in getting something together, however it goes.

  5. Could someone set up a ning like Vidsnacks?

    Each content area could have its own Discussion Forum but people would be able to put out a “call” for specific videos, topics, etc. in a general area. Users could also contact specific videographers without having to searching through dozens of blog postings.

    An easier but much less attractive option would be a wiki, someone could organize it and others could add links to videos.

  6. aschmitz: No doubt that there is potential to frame a single source that crosses all academic subject headings. And from the vantage point of the larger philosophical considerations, it would be lovely to ensure that key metadata was retained so that the collective wisdom of the crowds could tap into the new media gems at every turn.

    Personally, I’m most focused on giving my 5 classes of 10th graders as many tangibly visual epiphanies as possible, so I’m also really content to just work doggedly with Dina and Todd in the interim to build a simple site — or maybe just to brainstorm without worrying about a single site — that serves my kids…as well as theirs.

    If others find value in such a collection (lit terms, Joseph Cambell movie moments, etc) that align with our specific MS/HS English classes, even better. They are free to borrow or build upon that.

    As for wanting to be at the front edge of building yet another globally co-edited wiki or networked Ning site (simply because it can be co-edited globally; simply because Ning can be celebrated), I’m a bit gun shy at pushing on that lever when so many of them seem to lose their initial momentum after a lovely launch.

    My goals are pretty tame/localized on this one: get my kids good content. Period.

    I’m fortunate that both Todd and Dina have touched base to work together. Personally, after so much global focus the last few years, I kind of like the opportunity to work at such a small scale for a bit…and then give it all away as soon as there is value to our whatever our humble collection might be (beyond mere potential).


    Nancy: Thanks for the link to VidSnacks. For a very poor editor of video, other than a few simple gimmicks iMovie does for me by default, I really appreciated what I saw there after rummaging around a bit.


    P.S. I am intrigued by the web app you hinted at, however, aschmitz. Perhaps you oughta ‘go there’ regardless of what a few English teacher types might do on a small scale in the near future. I’d definitely like to see what you come up with.