Category: Find and Use Data

David McCandless: Data Detective

I just finished watching the TED Talk by David McCandless called “The Beauty of Data Visualization” and it is stunningly awesome! In the talk, he discusses the importance of understanding the relativeness of data when it is reported in the news.  “Visualizing information is a form of knowledge compression” where we squeeze enormous amount of information and understanding into a small space.  McCandless was not trained in graphic design, but “”being exposed to all this media over the years had instilled a kind of dormant design literacy in me.”  He says he is something of a “data detective” (see...

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NYT Opinionator Series about Math

For a few months now, the NYT Opinionator Blog has been hosting a series of pieces that do a phenomenally good job of explaining mathematics in layman’s terms. The latest article is about Calculus (with a promise of more to come): Change We Can Believe In is written by Steven Strogatz, an Applied Mathematician at Cornell University. There are several other articles in this series, and if you haven’t been reading them, you really should go check them out.  Assign them.  Discuss them in your classes. From Fish to Infinity (Jan. 31, 2010) Rock Groups (Feb. 7, 2010) The Enemy of My Enemy (Feb. 14, 2010) Division and Its Discontents (Feb. 21, 2010) The Joy of X (Feb. 28, 2010) Finding Your Roots (March 7, 2010) Square Dancing (March 14, 2010) Think Globally (March 21, 2010) Power Tools (March 28, 2010) Take It to the Limit (April 4, 2010) Given the discussions we’ve been having about teaching Series and Series approximations lately on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, I wonder if he’d consider writing an article explaining “Why Series?” to students. Possibly Related Posts: Contemporary Algebra Collection (new resources 2/4/2019) Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens Add Graphs In The World to Courses Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Taking the Algebra Out of College...

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Wolfram Alpha Discovery

Okay, technically it was a workshop at ICTCM, but with 30 math faculty in one room, all armed with computers, I couldn’t help but make it a discovery and brainstorming session too.  I’m a firm believer in harnessing the power of a room of people instead of talking to them (provided that we have some technology to facilitate that). This post is Part I … the discovery portion of the workshop. One of the things that made this workshop a bit out-of-the-ordinary for math workshops was that I set up a “backchannel” for participants to use to share their thoughts, discoveries, and ideas.   To do this, I used a Chatzy Virtual Room – anyone can “join the room” as long as they know the URL – just state your name, and you’re in the chat room.  This made the discovery process collaborative, as well as fast and furious as everyone in the room got a chance to contribute to the conversation in real time. The first question I was asked (which I am asked in almost every workshop I do), is how on earth I was magnifying just a small portion of the screen (like where the input box was).  I use a free tool called the Virtual Magnifier. The group “play” with Wolfram Alpha lasted for about an hour, during which we (they, mostly) discovered quite a few...

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Best of the Ed Tech Freebies!

In a “pilot” program, we used Camtasia to record several sessions at the 2009 AMATYC Conference in Las Vegas.  Several of these recordings are now available on the AMATYC 2009 Conference Proceedings Website. In particular, you might want to check out my live presentation “Best of the Educational Technology Freebies” … at least, you can check out the first 24 minutes of it (before my spectacular graphics-overload-induced red-screen-of-death computer crash).  The live presentation starts approximately 1 minute into the video. There is a Part II (audio with a few PowerPoint slides – all my computer was capable after burning up the graphics capability temporarily), but I guess they haven’t put it up yet.  Update: Part II is now also available here.  Incidentally, this incident sealed the deal on my getting a new tablet PC (I was running with the memory capacity and hard drive maxed on the old one). Word to the wise: You should not attempt to simultaneously record new audio narrative for a Camtasia video project running in the background, while running that video in a player on the notebook and projecting to a screen.  Sure, it works for 5 minutes, but will it work for 60? [no, unless you have a really powerful computer and graphics card] The easy way to find all the recorded videos from the 2009 AMATYC Conference is to search the Conference...

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