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Comment Notetaking app: cherrytree (Score 1) 286

I found cherrytree on the Ubuntu repository, and have been using it to good effect for quite some time. It is hierarchical and very flexible.

I see it is cross-platform, so you could keep your note document on a cloud platform like Google Drive and access it from any computer you're logged into. It doesn't have a web version or Android/iOS/Chrome App version, so no mobile device use.

On my Android phone, I use ColorNote. Regular notes and checklists work nicely there.

Comment Re: The article suggests that schools learn from t (Score 1) 126

Teaching as a profession has barriers to entry. These are established by professional organizations through the government because it requires people to demonstrate a minimum basic knowledge of the practices and regulations of the profession.

There are abundant opportunities to achieve certification through legitimate pathways, usually through a small number of courses covering the relevant topics. In many states, you can start teaching in a field for which you hold a bachelor's while taking the required coursework for full certification online or at night and over summers for one to the years.

People who complain that a person can't teach in a field where they professionally operate are really saying that a person is not willing to go through one of those straightforward methods to become a professional teacher.

Comment Great technical feat (Score 1) 126

I commend anyone who undertakes the project to make a fusor. It is a great technical feat.

So far what I've seen in these projects is technical. Learning how to build and maintain vacuum systems, building and safely using high voltage supplies, managing instrumentation, running the device and collecting data on its operation to tweak and modify the operational parameters.

I also see that success depends on access to funding or "salvage" equipment. Even trying to build a single demonstration/experimental plasma apparatus for my classroom is running me several thousand dollars. Once I spend some time with students studying plasmas with that device, I'd love to try a fusor just for the fun of it and to develop some scientific questions that student's might investigate with the fusor. It isn't the technical ability of my students that limits our ability, it is the resources of time and money.

Still, the thing that has limited my interest in the fusor project is the lack of existing classroom or student project scientific applications. Not just building the device, but what experimental questions can we tackle with the running hardware? It is not enough, in the long run, to just build the apparatus. That achievement puts you at the starting point of scientific investigation, not the finish line.

Comment Re: It's Linux-on-the-desktop that's dying. (Score 4, Insightful) 259

I switched to Linux as my main desktop and laptop os several years ago. In the past two years I've seen more of my students using some version of Linux (usually mint) on their personal computers. At one of my jobs Linux is used on most computers both personal and server.

It's anecdotal evidence, but it doesn't seem to me that the Linux desktop is suffering.

Comment Non-replicatable stuff (Score 1) 563

I recall that it was canon that certain things like dilithium crystals and antimatter fuel could not be replicated (at least, not on the kind of scale that would be necessary to power a starship).

They also couldn't replicate gold-pressed latinum. They needed a currency for cultures that were more capitalist, and it had to be one that had natural scarcity.

Comment Every tech revolution... (Score 5, Insightful) 352

Every technical revolution in education since Edison's wax cylinder phonograph or prior has been prophesied to replace classroom teachers.

A brief list:
The Gutenberg press.
Edison's phonograph.
Classes by mail.
Voice radio.
Television.
Two way video.
Multi user computer terminals.
Microcomputers.
Multimedia software.
The internet.

This too will become a minor fad, blossom, fade, and find a very minor place in the ongoing art of education.

Comment Locked down Chromebooks (Score 1) 219

I teach physics and the list of software I can't run and for which there is no full equivalent is longer than the list of software equivalents I do use on Chromebooks.

I have had to maintain a classroom lab of Windows computers to run the software I need for data import and analysis, video analysis, computational physics, and simulations. If IT stops supporting them, I could easily run all of that software on Linux on the same machines for the foreseeable future.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Another rapid-update. 1

Oops, I let my major-post date slip by, 26-Jul-2013.

However, tomorrow, 10-Feb-2014, marks ten years since my first journal entry. Maybe I'll post an entry tomorrow to celebrate.

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