[Edu-sig] Re: Now I went and did it.

Jason Cunliffe jasonic@nomadicsltd.com
Sun, 8 Oct 2000 13:01:49 -0400

> How about it we took the concept further, were truly innovative and
> the concept to 3d.

Yes I'd love to.. my idea for GeoLogo or PyTurtle as Kirby suggested is 3-D
but based on Spherical algebra because I feel that the most global thing one
can do for kids is give them great tools for understanding the geometry of
the plant and system we travel in. The nice thing about  spherical approach
is that immediately all the orbital geometry and symmetries can come in to
direct play. This connects implicitly to Bucky's theories but also extends
to temporal understanding. Life as we know it almost entirely constructed
from intermeshing of cyclic patterns and rhythms at all scales. Being able
to program and construct programs in abstract simulator would offer a very
rich basis for all the sciences.

One can equally take a more generic Cartesian XYZ co-ordinate generic
spatial approach. This could be equally fascinating and certainly plays into
most contemporary 3D systems and most analytic geometry.
I am of the more radical persuasion that spherical geometry is the basis of
all else and comes first. It is the super set, and imho fundamentally more
intuitive and should be one of the essential bases of any new literacy.

Let's say the essential base elements in a new literacy are: string, sticks,
pen, paper, balls, cubes, clocks and computers...

> My precise references is http://www.python.org/sigs/edu-sig/ wherein is
> mentioned:

Alas I cannot get this link to follow through. Please can you provide an
alternate or send me a version directly. I would like to see it very much.

In the search for scriptable 3D engines with direct live interaction, I
think the new version of 'Blender' has a tremendous amount to offer:
Because NaN and friends have already done a lot of the really painful work
interfacing 3D APIs etc. There is intrinsic key framing of everything. It is
based on 100% object-oriented design. You can use Python. It is free and
cross platform [but not openSource]. Blender can import and export all kinds
of models from a large library - this is good because one has the choice of
objectifying or abstracting them. It provides an immediate platform for
making very effective presentation 'movies'. These could be a direct tool
for still illustration, animated films for CD-ROM, Internet or Video. The
new 'game' version adds direct behaviors to scene graphs and their contents.
Thus all kinds of mechanics are possible. And stuff looks really good. A
growing and talented group of people to draw on already who might be very
willing to help develop materials for such a project.

> Actually have redone it as web-enabled Java. Cool stuff in my humble
> estimation for anybody interested in geometry, integrated with exposure to

Please, I would also like to see your Java examples.

> programming - the code is simple and explorable. The analytic geometry
> behind the code sometimes gets a bit hairy - but the link between analytic
> and synthetic geometry is now made direct and concrete through the code.
> Something only accomplishable through an
> opensource approach - which is why the approach leaves the commercial
> efforts in the dust, as a pedagogical tool.

Sorry I don't quite follow your point here...
Can you expand and compare for example to 'Mathematica'

> Don't know how to generate interest, though.
> Certainly never accomplished it here.

..#1: Don't give up - prepare the groundwork build better demos and protable
support materials.

These ideas are not going away,  they are just arriving, even if for some it
may seem like is already a very long time. [Look at solar energy or electric
or hydrogen cell cars - you  *know* it makes sense and the tide will turn]

#2 We are talking about a 21 st century education. Each century has been
very different from the ones before it.

The 18th century saw the transfer from monastic-based tuition to broader
literacy for privileged classes. The basic wide curriculum was started-
classics, etc.
The 19th century saw the beginning of much broader education and expanding
curriculum and for wider class base.
The 20th century implemented much of the really key idea - basic [public or
private] school education and literacy for everyone, male or female, and
created a global higher education infrastructure. Not 100% but revolutionary
difference between in education in 1900 and today. Though granted there are
still many Victorian elements left over..

But the 21st century has a 2 tools the others never had - Internet and
affordable networked personal computers. As we know, this is still far from
global but the trend is clear.

If people in some necks of some woods don't believe a change is gonna come,
in others such as Asia, and in Korea for certain, they are wasting not a
single moment to take advantage. They are embracing Internet technology and
now also openSource methodology [Micro$oft has been especially blind to
other cultures] . But I don not know what new curriculum they consider is
appropriate. I will be visiting Korea early next year and hope to follow up
more on this.

Thus any strong ideas need to be expressed lucidly in a globally accessible
On the internet and easily translatable.. using portable technology [Python
is one v.good tool for this]

- Jason