Thank you, Karl Fisch

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This semester I taught the College’s School and Society class to our
preservice teachers. This foundations course acquaints students with the
historical, philosophical, sociological, and political aspects of K-12
education. I took the opportunity in our next-to-last class to talk about
educating elementary and secondary students for their future. In their end-of-course reflections, a
number of my students commented about Karl’s

  • What impacted me the most throughout the entire semester was the
    seven-minute clip we watched last week called Did You Know?
  • I have looked at the Did You Know? PowerPoint presentation several
    times, and I can not help but be amazed. I have showed it to many of my friends
    and everyone gives the same reaction. I keep asking myself as a math teacher,
    “How can I best prepare my students for their futures?”
  • I was so inspired by this video that I e-mailed it to
    several friends and posted it on both my Facebook and MySpace pages.

I also received a number of comments such as the following:

  • After [Scott’s December 5 lecture], I got into my friend’s car and
    couldn’t stop raving about the lecture I had just received. It was one of the
    best lectures I have ever been to in my college career.

Bottom line: the message about ‘School 2.0’ resonates with future teachers.
They use technology, they understand the potential. Let’s try not to let reality
disappoint them too much as they enter the K-12 workforce?

Thanks, Karl, for a wonderful resource for the rest of us. When
I said we should be making resources that make a difference
, this is exactly
the kind of thing I meant.

6 Responses to “Thank you, Karl Fisch”

  1. Did You Know? clearly indicates the reasons for the enormous stress and anxiety that people are encountering today and how much greater it will be in the near future.

    For over 30 years I experienced several life threatening chronic illnesses. Through the Grace of God I was lead to several people and organizations that aided me in understanding, positively dealing with and transforming these illnesses. For the past few years I have devoted my life to sharing what I have learned with others. The two most impactful organizations I was lead to are The Institute of HeartMath ( and Landmark Education (

    The American Institute of Stress and The Centers for Disease Control have both reported that up to 90% of all illnesses are due to stress. I was lead to The Institute of HeartMath in 1997 and discovered that all of my illnesses were due to stress and anxiety I had been experiencing in my life, especially because is begin communicated in Did You Know?. Through learning and practicing HeartMath’s tools and technologies, I am able to prevent, manage and reverse the effects of stress and anxiety, in-the-moment, achieve better health, more energy, improved mental and emotional clarity, and improved performance and relationships. HeartMath’s tools and technologies are scientifically substantiated; they literally saved my life.

    Landmark Education provided me with the knowledge and tools to identify and put in my past, barriers that were stopping me from living a powerful life and a life I love. Through this Education, I have reached an unshakeable Faith.

  2. As a teacher of high school students myself I am outraged that you have had success with this powerpoint. It embodies everything I warn my students is shoddy in academic research. Your source page filled with “somebody”, “don’t know”, “Presumably”, and dead links, and perpetual reliance on Ian Jukes who never sites his source, and finally wikipedia is a classic lesson in unreliable work.

    Having studied with Scott McCloud and having viewed him as a man of integrity rather than a snake oil salesman I am more than disappointed.

    Do I think we need to be concerned about the topics you raise? Absolutely.
    Am I worried that two seemingly ethical men with seemingly earnest concerns about education would create a piece so lacking in any honest recognition of using reliable sources and not using cheap logical fallacies or poorly constructed statistics and then be proud of showing it to endless education groups? Absolutely.

    Shame on you.

  3. Ms. Waterfall,

    Having grown up in the Fairfax County Public Schools, I am well aware of the quality of instructors at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. I am sure that you are an absolutely bang-up teacher. However, I think it is important that you also recognize some of the background behind the Did You Know? presentation.

    Neither Karl nor I ever expected that Did You Know? would take off the way it did. When Karl made this, it was intended for one single high school staff. As Karl has said many, many times, if he knew that the presentation was going to go global, he would have done some things very differently. It’s to Karl’s credit that he’s been as forthright as he has about the presentation’s shortcomings and he has gone out of his way to be as transparent as possible about the presentation sources and other issues. From my viewpoint as a university professor, I share some of the concerns about the accuracy of a few statements but also think that it holds together fairly well for its overall purpose, which is to help people understand the seismic changes that are occurring in our technology-suffused, globally-interconnected society. Despite its shortcomings, the presentation is impacting people in powerful ways and is sparking conversations that had never occurred before.

    We are working on a new version of Did You Know? that will address some of the concerns you raise as well as concerns raised by others. Karl and I have heard from literally thousands of people about this presentation. I must confess that your message below is one of the most insulting and least helpful. If you have specific concerns about specific portions of the presentation, we would love for you to share them with us as many others have done.

    Please remember that it is important to be right but it is also important to be kind, particularly if you’re looking for some kind of change in behavior from the person with whom you’re communicating. Unfortunately, the strident and demeaning tone of your message works against the change you wish would occur.

  4. Hey, let’s try modeling this another way:

    Scott, I give “Did You Know” an A+ for emotional appeal (not easily discounted IMHO), and effort. It’s certainly better than almost any powerpoint I’ve done, but I agree with the “Boring Videos Happen” kid that you need better music (I like a good beat myself– On the substance issues, my suggestion (free advice–worth every penny)would be to watch the Freidmanesque arguments (or at least be prepared to offer caveats in your patter), since he’s not well regarded by economists (and his prose is loathed by liberal political science types). I think the argument should lean more towards the making connections/connective learning because although the Chinese/Indians are coming argument is another great emotional gambit it runs the risk of being identified with earlier scare tactics used about the Soviets. You could turn it though by pointing out that although there are more people learning English as a second language in those countries, native speakers and people learning English here will always have an edge in their knowledge and usage of English (provided they learn to use it competently).

  5. I couldn’t believe today when I was sitting in the first general session of the National School Board Association (NSBA) conference with 10,000 other school board members, and Anne Bryant (NSBA Exec Director) showed the Did You Know video clip (see NSBA conference BLOG at ). Then the next speaker, former South African president FW de Klerk referenced it in his comments. See NSBA BLOG comments at:


  6. Well now, I have just got back from a staff development and training day at which we were shown a variation on the theme of ‘Did you know?’. When I got back to the university instead of just dumping my stuff and heading for home I searched out the videos on YouTube for Did You Know? and Did You Know, UK. Then I thought ‘who is Karl Fisch?’ and I found this website and have been intrigued reading the comments left.
    OK, so the facts aren’t source referenced and the stats may be a bit dodgy, but the fact is this is an excellent presentation because above all, it is genuine stimulus material. Judging from the comments left here it gets people thinking, questioning, talking and debating the issues. So to the critics, I say isn’t that the purpose of a slide presentation, to be visually stimulating? Isn’t it better to be exposed to such stimulus material instead of ‘death by PowerPoint’ – slide, after slide of text if if they do contain intrictately referenced sources?
    By being exposed to stimulating material (even if the facts are a little shakey) isn’t this how we take responsibility for our own learning, by checking it out?
    And hey, an additional effect of watching the video is that I’ve been prompted to leave a message on a blog; first time ever – can’t be all bad.

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