Tag Archives: vi hart

What WAS that? or, What was THAT? [#NCTMDenver]

We watched this video during the closing session in Denver.

I love this video. I find it amusing and clever. The moment where Vi Hart folded the guacamole into the interior of the hexaflexamexagon was marked by an audible gasp of delight in the room.


Somebody needs to explain to me what this is. Is it a lesson? Is it a tasty bite-sized morsel of entertainment? Is it an inspiring call to mathematical action?


Because Vi Hart works for Khan Academy.

Khan Academy is a school (at least metaphorically, but we have reason to believe that Khan and Gates see it more literally than that). So is this an assembly in the auditorium?


It turns out that Hart thinks it’s a lesson. Lessons have objectives. Can you guess hers? She began a sentence this way, “The main educational purpose [of this video] is…”

Watch the video again if you need to. Then you may scroll down for the answer, which will be in the comments.

We also watched Hart’s “i” video.

She said, “Technically, it was a bad video because I lost subscribers [on YouTube]. But numbers don’t matter.”

She cringed at her own words and observed that saying numbers don’t matter in a ballroom full of math teachers is probably a bad idea. I think we all understood that she meant to say that popularity is different from quality, and is a direct indicator of neither quality nor effectiveness. It is in this spirit that her numbers don’t matter quip is strange.

Has anyone from Khan Academy ever given a talk which did not use the number of views, or hits, or followers, or lessons served?

She and her father (George Hart) had already exchanged the number of views of each of their first viral videos. Number of views as a measure was discussed on at least five separate occasions during the hour including the introduction by Outgoing Past President Michael Shaughnessy (whose title I am absolutely not making up, and which is strangely not redundant).

Which brings me back to my original question. What was that? What was that video, exactly? What was that talk? Anyone?

We have to call this stuff out

Strange start to the day.

First was Kate Nowak noticing the hate Vi Hart routinely heaps on math teachers. As happens at 2:04 in the video below. Note especially her tone here.

Then the following comes across my desk (click on it to see the full size version).

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 10.18.34 AM

The first line reads, “Statistics show that more students are coming from high school with weaker mathematical backgrounds than ever before.”

No citation. No argumentation. Just Statistics show.

I have replied with the following:

Wow. Gotta admit that first line is provocative.

What evidence are you basing this claim upon?
Christopher Danielson
I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, we need someone with some mad video skills to make a “Sal and Vi Hate Math Teachers” video in the spirit of “Hollywood Hates Math“. I’ll help with the archival work. Who’s in?

Calling all you PEMDAS (or BEDMAS, or PERMDAS) fans…

Consider the expression:


Is its value 2 or 4096?

And can we all agree that this question doesn’t matter? Can we agree that it’s like debating the meaning of a poorly written sentence, when we should really be reprimanding the person who wrote it and imploring them to be more clear next time?

In short, can we allow Vi Hart to lead us into the light on this one?

Vi Hart goes to Khan Academy

[View the story “Vi Hart goes to Khan Academy” on Storify]