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Comment: Ditch the smartboard (Score 3, Informative) 96

by ixtapa (#47955277) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Alternate Software For Use On Smartboards?

Teacher here. Smartboards are like Apple computers. If you want to do exactly what they want you to do, they are great. If you want to tinker (let alone be actually creative with technology), you are using the wrong device.

Last year I switched to a LCD projector coupled to a tablet (Surface Pro 2) displayed on a dry erase whiteboard. Despite the MS hate, OneNote on a tablet is an absolutely killer app. My instruction has been forever changed for the better. I now write on my tablet at my desk rather than writing at the board, allowing students to view the information unobstructed by my body. Each lesson is saved in OneNote, so if I ever want to recall an earlier idea for review, it's just a matter of pulling up that lesson. Just yesterday, I pulled up a Geometer's Sketchpad animation seamlessly during my lesson by simply switching tabs. I frequently pull up a TI emulator so I can live demo keystrokes for the kids. In future lessons, I will be pulling up some Mathematica workbooks I made. Interacting with worksheets as a class is so much easier when I can simply display a Word document, directing my students' attention to key phrases, augment diagrams, etc.

Finally, with software such as Camtasia Studio, you can even record each lesson and post them online for students' later use. See for some Calculus lessons demonstrating the aforementioned functionality.

Ditch the SmartBoard. They are about as useful in a classroom as an iPad - maybe better than nothing, but there are far superior solutions out there.

Comment: Re:Old hat (Score 1) 295

by ixtapa (#34342264) Attached to: Was There Only One Big Bang?
I really like your sheet analogy. But if matter and energy are the wrinkles on the blanket, what does the coffee represent? What does this information consist of if not matter and energy? Maybe in the alternate world matter and energy are the stains from colored liquids on the sheet. But if that were the case, wouldn't the stains slowly fade back to white, in the same way the wrinkles get pulled out flat in this world? Further, even if a stain survived the fading process, since it is neither matter nor energy, how would we perceive it? If we can't perceive it is it really there? It is a nice twist of ideas, but I don't think the coffee part holds up as well as the wrinkles.

TI-Nspire Hack Enables User Programming 88

Posted by Soulskill
from the done-and-done dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Texas Instruments' most recent, ARM-based series of graphing calculators, the TI-Nspire line, has long resisted users' efforts to run their own software. (Unlike other TI calculator models, which can be programmed either in BASIC, C, or assembly language, the Nspire only supports an extremely limited form of BASIC.) A bug in the Nspire's OS was recently discovered, however, which can be exploited to execute arbitrary machine code. Now the first version of a tool called Ndless has been released, enabling users, for the first time, to write and run their own C and assembly programs on the device. This opens up exciting new possibilities for these devices, which are extremely powerful compared to TI's other calculator offerings, but (thanks to the built-in software's limitations) have hitherto been largely ignored by the calculator programming community."

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun