May 28, 2010, 11:39 am

By Robert Talbert

I’m still in recovery mode from this past semester, which seemed somehow to be brutal for pretty much everyone I know in this business. But something that always helps me in this phase is thinking about what I get to do with the much lighter schedule that summertime affords. Here’s a rundown.

Mostly this summer I will be spending time with my family. On Mondays and Fridays, I’ll be home with my two daughters. On Wednesdays I’ll have them plus my 16-month old son, plus my wife will have that day off. On Tuesdays it’ll be just the boy and me. So I plan lots of trips to the *zoo*, the various parks around here, and so on.

I still have plenty of time to work, and I have a few projects for the summer.

First, I need to get ready for my Geometry class this fall. I am making the move from Geometer’s Sketchpad to Geogebra this fall, and although I took a minicourse at the ICTCM on Geogebra, I…

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March 15, 2010, 12:27 pm

By Robert Talbert

Image via Wikipedia

*[Ed. note: This post was originally written on March 13 while at the ICTCM, but I ran out of time on my $12.95 per day internet access before being able to post it and only now have had the chance to get back online. So it's about 36 hours out of sync.]*

Slower day at the ICTCM than yesterday. For one thing, I took some time out in the morning to get the MATLAB course prepped for Monday; and I needed time to finish some grading in the afternoon. But I manage to have a pretty productive day nonetheless.

The main event — one of the primary reasons I came here — was a Geogebra 3.2 minicourse this morning. I’ve been a diehard Geometers Sketchpad user for a long time, but after becoming aware of Geogebra lately, I began to wonder if it might be time for a switch. I have no problem with the usability …

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January 20, 2010, 10:31 am

By Robert Talbert

Some of the most valuable courses I took while I was in school were so because, in addition to learning a specific body of content (and having it taught well), I picked up something extra along the way that turned out to be just as cool or valuable as the course material itself. Examples:

- I was a psychology major at the beginning of my undergraduate years and made it into the senior-level experiment design course as a sophomore. In that course I learned how to use SPSS (on an Apple IIe!). That was an “extra” that I really enjoyed, perhaps moreso than the experiment I designed. (I wish I still knew how to use it.)
- In my graduate school differential geometry class (I think that was in 1995), we used Mathematica to plot torus knots and study their curvature and torsion. Learning Mathematica and how to use it for mathematical investigations were the “something extra” that I took from the …

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July 25, 2008, 2:36 pm

By Robert Talbert

Jackie at Continuities is wondering whether the usual path through high school mathematics — Algebra I, then Geometry, then Algebra II, etc. — is out of order, and whether geometry ought to come first:

As far as I can tell the only difference between Alg II and Pre-Calc is that trig is taught during Pre-Calc and Pre-Calc introduces the concept of the limit. Functions are developed a bit more rigorously too.

The first semester of Algebra II is mostly a repeat of Algebra I as they’ve forgotten it with the year “off” during Geometry.

Why not then teach Geometry first? I’m talking about plane and solid geometry with an emphasis on reasoning, and right angle trig. Obviously there would need to be some supplementing needed (work with radicals, solving equations). Most students have “seen” the solving of equations in 8th grade (Have they mastered it? No, of course not).

I…

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March 8, 2008, 8:38 am

By Robert Talbert

It was a full day yesterday here at the ICTCM, and the day was capped off with a very enjoyable dinner with Maria Andersen and Scott Franklin, along with two of Maria’s friends who (if I understood Maria right) are soon-to-be math bloggers. I have photos and a video forthcoming.

Today will be no less busy:

- 8:00-8:45: Session on handheld calculating devices over the last 30 years and how they have changed teaching. Very interested in this talk; I’ll have more to say about some of the handheld technology I’m seeing here.
- 9:00-9:45: Session on using Maple 11 in the advanced calculus and modern algebra classroom.
- 9:45–10:30: Exhibit hall surfing.
- 11:30-12:05: Session on labs in mathematics classes.
- 12:30-1:15: Session on using Geometers Sketchpad alongside computer algebra systems.
- 1:30-2:15: Session on Winplot.
- 2:30-3:15: Take a break!
- 3:30-4:15: Session on blogging with concept …

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May 4, 2006, 2:47 pm

By Robert Talbert

Scott Steketee is a developer of Geometers Sketchpad, a dynamic geometry software package which I’ve blogged about before. He and his son are doing a cross-country bike ride to promote Sketchpad and its statistics-oriented cousin Fathom, and they’re going to blog the trip. From the web site, here’s a nice explanation of the connection between cycling and Sketchpad:

I’ve been bicycling since I learned to balance a bike. Not only great for recreation and competition, cycling is the world’s most efficient form of transportation. Bicycling is based on a simple and elegant technology that’s the most effective and environmentally sound method of travel for short trips.

My enthusiasm for bicycling is rivaled by my enthusiasm for The Geometer’s Sketchpad, another easily mastered and elegant technology.

Apparently he’s going to be posting Sketchpad projects along the way as part of the blog….

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