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Comment: Re:Don't do it! (Score 1) 176

by Lord Crosis (#29532723) Attached to: Best Tablet PC For Classroom Instruction?

The way you describe using a tablet is the best you can do with a tablet, but it is far worse than using a chalkboard.

First, in providing the lecture notes you discourage students from taking their own notes, since they know that most of what they might have written will be provided. When a student is actively taking their own notes, they often add detail that help them understand their own notes later. Don't worry about whether or not student's "like the convenience of being able to look at their lectures outside of the classroom". Learning math isn't convenient. It's hard work. They need to be in class, taking good notes, following the lecture, and applying it to the homework problems. If they have to miss a lecture, they need be responsible for the material, and if they can't figure it out from the textbook they need to see you during your office hours, or a tutor. It's a system that's worked for a very long time, and the tablet changes it without providing any real gain, and in fact some loss. In the best of cases it promotes student laziness, and in the worst of cases it lends to students being even more lost than they might have been in a traditional class.

Second, because you are writing on something that is more like pen-and-paper, you will write faster. This makes it so that it is difficult for those of us who weren't discouraged from taking notes (in the first point) to keep up in recording our notes and at the same time follow what you are actually doing. It's always difficult, when you fully understand a mathematical concept, to force yourself to explain it slowly enough that someone who doesn't understand it yet can follow. The chalkboard imposes a bit of a speed restriction since it forces you to write everything in a larger space which takes longer.

Third, a typical classroom chalkboard provides more real estate, so if the student is taking notes and falls a bit behind (because they recorded more detail on a point, or decided to do a side calculation to ensure that they are following what you've done), it provides more of a buffer for them to use to catch up.

Finally, and maybe this one is just me, but there is a huge difference between using a cursor to point to something you've already written, and actually pointing at it on the chalkboard.

One other comment, not related to the tablet: The best math instructor I have ever had did the least lecture preparation: He looked at the book to see what subjects were covered in the sections he planned to go over before class, and then did not look at the book again. He then spent the class period explaining and proving the material as much to himself as to the rest of the class. The notes I took from his lectures were always more thorough and better explained than any text book I have ever read.

Comment: Don't do it! (Score 2, Insightful) 176

by Lord Crosis (#29530595) Attached to: Best Tablet PC For Classroom Instruction?
I am currently a college student, and am at least minoring in math (Considering a double major). When I started I was 10 years out of high school and had forgotten so much that I had to start way back at Math 055 (Basic Algebra). Since then I have taken, in succession, Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Trig, Calc I, Calc II, Calc III, Linear Algebra, Proofs, ODE, and am now in Discrete Math. What I have discovered for myself, and from discussions from other students is that we learn the most and the best from instructors that use a good old fashioned chalkboard. It slows you down enough that we can take good notes and still follow what you are doing, it gives you something big enough to clearly point at when you are talking about a piece of what you are doing, and it largely prevents you from just displaying preprepared notes that you post online afterward and hope we manage to follow. If you feel we should have material supplemental to our notes and the textbook, make a handout or post such material online. Math has been successfully taught for ages using a chalkboard. Perhaps there are improvements that can be made to how we teach math, but believe me, switching to a tablet PC is not one of them.
OS X

+ - Daylight Saving Time and Mac OS X

Submitted by MHouser
MHouser (666) writes "MacFixIt has a pretty comprehensive summary of how the Daylight Saving Time changes coming this Sunday (March 11th) will affect Mac OS X and some Mac applications. There are fixes for older versions of Mac OS X (which Apple didn't patch) and older versions of Office (which Microsoft didn't patch). There's also a way to check if your Mac is currently compliant with the new DST change."
Games

+ - FFXI scanning running processes

Submitted by
zefrer
zefrer writes "Several users have noticed suspicious activity from the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI Online after their recent update(March 7th).

Apparently, unlike Blizzard and WoW, Square Enix, the makers of the game did not notify the users of this change, nor did they change their privacy policy to reflect this change. Upon investigation, a privacy conscious user was told that POL, the program used to login to the game which is what does the "checking" of your processes, does these checks in line with Paragraph A1 from their Privacy Policy which states that:

"During registration, we ask you to provide us with certain information that personally identifies you (referred to herein as "Personal Information"). Personal Information may include your name, date of birth, telephone number, mailing address, E-mail address, and credit card account information, as well as any other information that may be used to identify you."

Obviously there's nothing stated in that paragraph about the client being allowed to scan running processes on your computer and send back information without your knowledge or consent."
Music

+ - NetTunes set to redefine music 'sharing'

Submitted by
kaizendojo
kaizendojo writes "Robert X. Cringely writes in this week's Pulpit about a music sharing site that is based in part on an idea he had years ago, and then revisted in a later article. "The new service is called NetTunes (it's in this week's links) and was built, according to lead developer Robert Stromberg, by combining my ideas with his. The major difference between NetTunes and Snapster is that while Snapster was based on joint ownership of the music, NetTunes is based on a music-lending model. There is nothing in U.S. copyright law that says you can't lend your DVD or CD to a friend or neighbor to watch or listen to. They aren't supposed to copy it, of course, but the concept doesn't preclude multiple physical copies (backups are allowed, remember, as is redeployment on other media like tapes or iPods) so much as multiple simultaneous USES of the content. So if you lend your copy of Led Zeppelin IV to some buddy with a hot date, you'd better not play it that evening at your home, that is unless you bought a second physical copy of the record or CD. NetTunes virtualizes the whole music-lending function. You join the service, then either upload your music just like to any other music locker service, or you just register the albums and songs you own and link to them through NetTunes in much the same way that you did in the pirate heyday of Napster, the original P2P music-sharing sensation." Sounds interesting, but how long will this be stay under the RIAA's radar? My guess would be they are already preparing legal briefs as we speak..."

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