Vi Hart Salman Khan Luvfest

Posted on January 4, 2012


Welp, I’m glad I’ve been posting positive things about other people’s math videos. Honestly, I’m not one of those persons who think I know more than anybody else out there.
However, my stomach did some flippy floppies listening to this rah-rah video on youtube: They’re joining forces gleefully for the wonderful cause of fighting mathematical ignorance.
I really did honestly have a fleeting fantasy that they’d talk about going back and putting in some, um, you know, pedagogy? That they’d think about how normal people actually grapple with math concepts? That they might actually want to accomplish that lofty goal?
No. Vi Hart was all over how wonderful and clear those amazing free world-changing videos are.
There were only 125 comments, the ones I saw being of the “+1” variety.
They want to answer questions and they will, next week.
The questions also make me want to cry. “These are perfect for people with anxiety.” Well, it does remove the “in your face” aspect of a math class (the fear of being called on, etc). However, it *doesn’t* do a good job of teaching math.
Perhaps some of the videos about more advanced stuff are better. Peachy. Please, please, please cease and desist the blather about this being good for the nation’s general innumeracy, though.
The videos I saw are lecture, lecture and Procedure, procedure, procedure. I had *liked* some of Vi Hart’s doodles and thoughts because she did talk about what things meant and maybe she’ll sneak a little bit of that in there…  Of course, we **say** we want to nobly stop mathematical ignorance. And… Vi Hart has seemed to think that math lectures were boring things. Why, then, stick lecture on video and act like you’re not doing the same thing? ( Here’s what I thought of the video “introduction to averages”/01/average/
I’m afraid this is that really scary kind of no-of course-I’m-not-arrogant elitist — the ones so enveloped in their cocoon that they’re sure that is what the whole world is about, who trample over the people who didn’t have their privileges without even feeling the squish beneath them. Kindly sweep the streets, now… we must get on with our noble work. Those people clearly don’t want our help! And while I am not laying all the world’s evil here, that lends itself to the “those people just don’t use the help we have — they’re too lazy!” Well, if the help is mathematically wrong (sorry, sum means add, not multiply and average numbers do more than “represent” a group) and pedagogically inappropriate (expecting a student who’s being introduced to averages to be able to solve algebraic equations with variables all over the place), the lesson you’re teaching is You’re Too Stupid.

Yea, I know, tell you how I really feel. I’ll work on putting the constructive into constructivism…

Posted in: math, math anxiety, rant