Revisiting the Dreaded Quadratic Formula

It is hard to believe that it was one year ago that I posted “DON’T MAKE ME LISTEN TO THAT SONG AGAIN!!” reflecting on how technology was used (in a small way) to help students learn the Quadratic Formula .  My nightmares all had a “Pop Goes the Weasel” soundtrack  after listening to the quadratic formula sung to this tune many, many, many times!  So this year as I turned the page in my notes and saw the words “Quadratic Formula” my heart skipped a beat and my palms began to sweat.  How was I going to survive the trauma again this year?

Fear the Dark by Stuant63

Fortunately, this year I was spared some of the agony.  I only have one Algebra 1 class and we very quickly looked at some of the quadratic formula videos from YouTube.  It was comparatively quick and painless.  But last year I had said that I might extend the technology use this year … so why not?  My nightmares have diminished and I can take it!  So students were asked to create a video of their own to help them remember the formula.  I was very impressed with the results!  The quadratic formula was put to music in unique and creative ways.  The music used included “Happy Birthday”, the “ABC Song”, a couple of raps, a song by “One Direction”, and some original music.  The creativity with the songs as well as the video editing skills of the class impressed me.  Once the videos were finished, students uploaded them to the class Google site.  One video was not able to be viewed after it was linked to the site.  Before I was even aware of the problem, another student has posted instructions on how to correctly upload the video!  Thank goodness, because I have no idea how to do that … it all seems like magic to me!

Here are some of the videos created by my class!


The bloopers and “historical perspective” added to the charm of this video.

This group could run a course in “How to Earn Brownie Points” for the way they ended their video, but it made me smile!!

This student did a great job of taking a well known song, adapting the words to fit the formula and using appropriate props!

Besides recording their videos, many students extended their production by including bloopers which is always good for a laugh. What a privilege to be blessed with such a creative group of students.

There were a number of other excellent videos submitted, but this gives you an idea of the craftsmanship of these students!

So next time those infamous words “Quadratic Formula” end up in front of me, there will be no need to panic … the students have got this!

Viral Educational Resources?

We live in a world of extremes: love and hate, hot and cold, easy and hard.  The technological world is no different.  There are the digital immigrants and digital natives, separated by years, by terminology, and by technology fluency.  Yet each group has valuable skills and talents to contribute to develop a safe and engaging internet experience.

Educational institutions and companies are working to develop resources that will engage digital natives in constructive and effective educational experiences online.  Though great advances have been made in recent years, we have a long way to go.  Perhaps we can learn from commercial companies who are also seeking ways to utilize the internet to promote their products.

While researching digital footprints, I was intrigued to see how Doritos was utilizing social networking sites to promote their products.  The company began a campaign to allow the public to name their newest flavor.

YouTube Preview Image

The write up “YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT MEASURED FOR THE FIRST TIME” from February 16, 2010 begins with a great hook:  “The online space is dynamic, fast-paced and viral.  Canadians are finally being given the opportunity to have their digital footprint measured and their social status quantified, with the help of a first-of-its-kind Doritos challenge – Doritos®Viralocity.”  The article continues by saying:  “The key to the Doritos Viralocity contest is to be savvy about navigating through the online space.  There are two simple ways to achieve Doritos Viralocity success:

  • Be Creative: do your research, watch and learn from other videos that have gone viral and create your own that’s engaging, entertaining, quirky, humourous, and one-of-a-kind
  • Spread the Word:  take advantage of and use all of the social channels that exist to you, to get people watching and talking about your video”

To determine the winner Doritos pulled data from Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and AddThis.  You can see the winners in various categories at the official Doritos Viralocity site.  The overall winner, with what appears to be 3,415,824 hits was Jeff C with Spice 2.0 as his new flavor.  Jeff has some great technology connections in his advertisement.  Here is his video:

YouTube Preview Image

Imagine the educational resources that would be developed if we had a hook like that to get students to generate their own educational resources!  Imagine how different our classrooms would be!  Imagine the independent learning that would occur as students pushed the boundaries of what they can do!  Wow!  IMAGINE!