I'm teaching an "Introduction to Computational Mathematics" course (basically a numerical analysis lite) and the only choice I had for texts was a $150+ numerical analysis text, which we would only use 1/8 of, at best. So I just wrote my own little 100 page text and gave it to the students for free, instead making them buy MATLAB for their personal computers, which will be something they'll use through numerous other mathematics/CS courses. This text, after some lessons learning this semester, will be published freely online.
I think the majority of professor who still care about their students would love to collaborate on free textbooks. I know the NSF has some programs for this, but they are heavily underused. I'm quite sure the textbook publishers would do everything in their power to prevent this though!
Just want to ask you guys out which would you prefer?
I'm planning to buy my first laptop and I have narrowed down my option to these two brands.
Lenovo "G" series and Dell Vostro
Which one would you get?
BTW.. I'll use it for work. Programming to be exact. The applications that I would be using are Visual Studio (any version), MS SQL (Any version), and other development tools. Which do you think should I get?
Thanks in advance.....
*respect the post.."
Believe me, I am a HUGE believer in using the chalkboard, but we're getting a lot more non-traditional students that like the convenience of being able to look at their lectures outside of the classroom (yes, I know, that is not ideal for classroom discussions). I create lectures ahead of time, but don't display them, I simply work through them on the board. The way I plan to use the tablet is the same. I'd simply use it as a "computerized chalkboard" not as a powerpoint displayer that I can write on. Would you object to this? Essentially, the only difference would be that I don't walk back and forth in front of the class with my back turned to them. I do everything by hand, but while facing the class and looking them in the eye.
The other advantage is that if I do use technology (I'd use Matlab A LOT in linear algebra to demonstrate difficult examples), it doesn't feel so awkward. Right now, I stop lecturing, pull the screen down, turn on the projector, wait for it to warm up, login to the computer (or turn it on), then do an example. Then, if I wanna write something on the small remaining portion of the board, I can, but I really must put the screen back up and turn the projector off if I want to go back to lecturing.
So, the way I describe it above, does that seem a bit more interesting to you?
Unless I'm mistaken, one of the i/o devices you're talking about lacks a display. If they do have a display, then we're talking about something like a Sympodium device, which I'd love to have, but is nowhere near my $1000 budget. Without a display, I envision the problem being that I'll have to face the board to write correctly, which would mean I cannot face the class. This is actually a big issue (if you've got an 8am class, good luck getting them to pay attention and not sleep if your back is turned from them the whole time). The other problem I'd see would be that in math, I'm not just scribbling text, I'll have to go back and edit equations, change entries in a matrix, etc. I believe it would be a bit of an issue for me to do this without being able to see exactly where I need to edit. I could be VERY wrong about this, but that's exactly why I wanted to ask! If you've used some of those devices, definitely let me know how they work!
The BIG problem here is money. If this were a state university, I'd get a tablet, get an i/o device, and get a sympodium and find out which was best for me. The dept. would be able to afford it, and someone in the dept would be able to use my "leftovers". Here, there are 4 of us in the Math/CS group, so not a lot of free flowing cash!
This would not be a personal computer, but rather belong to the department. If we went with a tablet, and not a fixed solution (like Sympodium) then it would likely be shared by 3-4 faculty.
For those of you who perhaps only had 1 or 2 math classes, we would use this for many classes from basic statistics to linear algebra and numerical analysis. Some suggestions have nice 5.6" screens and whatnot, but writing solutions to 4x4 matrix problems, or doing a simplex tableau, is not really feasible on something like that. So precision and screen real estate are of utmost importance.
The reason we're looking at a tablet is simply because of the ease in transferring to different classrooms, and the ease at which we can use it for non-classroom instruction. For example, right now I type of fairly detailed solutions to HW and exams in latex. I would instead record myself working out the problems on the tablet. Also, most other Math/CS/Bio/Chem professors do not post up solutions and things like that, so I was hoping I could convince them by showing how easy the tablet was to use.
I am at a SMALL private college in the rural south. We do not have a lot of money, and for those of your in higher education, I'm sure you've the huge drop in operating budgets this year. Under $1000 us really a must, until I can find some grant money, which will take at least a year.
I'm sorry to keep repeating myself, but thanks again for all of the comments. I've found a dozen or so suggestions which I need to go look into further!
Basically, we've got some off-site campuses that are 1-2 hr drives away, and none of the mathematics professors want to drive out there for lectures. You're 100% right that me going, doing work on the board, and doing a tradition lecture is best, but that's really not feasible. I can record lectures that I do here, but the problem is that the courses offered at the off-site campuses are not necessarily what I offer on the main campus, so I'd have to sit and lecture to and empty classroom. I thought doing a lecture on the tablet, while recording voice and video, would be akin to doing a lecture. I can also use it in my non-class time to work through HW solutions and exam solutions to post online for the students.
In general, I go to http://www.videohelp.com/ [videohelp.com]
for any information about ripping, converting, or anything to do with audio/video help (as the name would imply).