March 15, 2010, 12:27 pm
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 …
March 12, 2010, 10:21 pm
Image via Wikipedia
Busy day here at the ICTCM. I need both an extended time for brain-dumping and a full night’s sleep, and I think the latter is going to win. So here’s a brief listing, in no particular order, of some of the standout items I’ve learned today.
- I learned first thing this morning that rigorous, scientific scholarship of teaching and learning does actually exist, and it’s being done by Dave Pritchard of MIT. Prof. Pritchard was our keynote speaker this morning. In his words, he has basically forsaken a successful career in atomic physics (in which role he mentored or taught three Nobel laureates) to devote his energies to physics education. His keynote this morning gave me enough reading material for a semester and a whole new outlook on what educational research could look like.
- I learned (through…
March 10, 2008, 3:00 pm
This was from the blogger meetup/dinner from the ICTCM. If you look closely, Scott Franklin is in there giving, as he called it, his “into it face”. And Maria Andersen is taking some photos there on my left.
I didn’t get home till 11:00 PM last night and didn’t fall asleep until 3:00 AM, so this is pretty much all the blogging I am capable of today.
March 9, 2008, 10:48 am
The ICTCM is all wrapped up, and I’ll be heading downstairs to check out of the hotel and head back home. It’s been a very good conference — one of the best I’ve attended and much better than most of the mathematics-only conferences I’ve been to. I feel in many ways like Scott Franklin does — whereas at math conferences I’ve always struggled to fit in, find a niche, and enjoy what I am doing, here at the ICTCM I feel like I’ve found some of “my own people”.
And I am coming away with almost too many ideas and provoked thoughts. You can tell from the output of this blog over the last few days that I am actually struggling to brain-dump fast enough to process the next idea coming in, like a basement sump pump in the middle of monsoon season. And I consider that a good thing. Certainly at most conferences I attend, I tend to come away at the end wondering if it was worth the expense of at…
March 8, 2008, 8:26 pm
One of the real treats of the ICTCM was the Saturday 8:00 AM session titled “Three Decades of Handheld Devices: How Mathematics Teaching Changed Along with Them” given by John Kenelly. Prof. Kenelly has a long history of involvement in the development of calculator technology, and he gave a fascinating talk full of good thoughts on the direction of handheld technologies today, war stories from the past, and good jokes. (Example of the latter: “Getting a spreadsheet to work on a calculator is like getting a dog to walk on its hind legs — it can be done, but it ain’t pretty!”)
I will try to say more about Prof. Kenelly’s ideas about the future of handheld technologies in a later post, but for now I wanted to share one of the really cool parts of his talk — the calculators themselves, some of which are now antiques. He had a bag full of these old-school devices (some of which are less…
March 8, 2008, 11:48 am
One of the biggest conversation pieces here at the ICTCM is the Texas Instruments NSpire, their most recent entry in a long line of calculators. Here’s a firsthand look at it; click to enlarge, and then just take your time to look at the thing and think about it:
On the right there is a normal-sized TI-30-something scientific calculator. That should give you an idea of the scale. Here’s another shot with me holding it, which should also give an idea of the size of this thing; and another shot which gives a better view of the screen.
But let’s go back to that first photo. First of all, yes, the NSpire does actually have not one but two keyboards. They snap in and out; the one that’s un-snapped is just a duplicate of the TI-84′s keyboard. The one that’s snapped in is, well, let’s just say “busy”. The first thing you notice is that there are buttons between the buttons. The little…
March 8, 2008, 8:38 am
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 …
March 7, 2008, 7:41 pm
I only have about 15 minutes before I head for dinner with Scott Franklin and Maria Andersen — both of whom are also conference-blogging — so all I can whip up for now is a quick bullet list. I’ll elaborate later.
- My talk went fine. I think I clocked in at 12 minutes, a little over but not disastrously so. All the technology worked fine, although the room was quite cramped and the projector was in the center of the room — meaning that my Macbook had to be in the center of the room and there was not much room left over to move around. But that’s minor stuff.
- Attended a session on a freshman-level course at Ithaca College called Mathematical Experimentation. Very intriguing. I’d like to do something like this at our place.
- Instead of bumming around the exhibit hall, I ended up simply taking a half-hour walk along the Riverwalk, since I’d been cooped up in the hotel all day and it…
March 7, 2008, 1:38 pm
I just returned from the Camtasia workshop. The originally-scheduled speaker, it turns out, got stranded in Dallas after that city got six inches of snow last night. (This is Texas, right?) So the conference organizers were scrambling to find somebody with Camtasia experience. I suggested that they go pull somebody from the TechSmith booth in the exhibitor area, and a few minutes later they returned with Dave McCollom and Mike [sorry, can't remember the last name]. Those two proceeded to put on a fun, engaging, and hugely informative workshop on the fly with zero preparation time. They even ended right on time. I think that says a lot about the company and the product it makes.
Very, very impressed with Camtasia. It has a simple user interface (very similar to iMovie) and lots of options. My partner and I in the workshop put together a 3-minute Flash video on xFunctions, complete with…