[Edu-sig] Another update from Urner...

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sun Jan 27 01:45:13 CET 2008

Greetings edu-siggers --

I'm supposed to be enroute to the gym already, but am
having trouble assembling all parts of my costume, so
side-tripping into "cyberia" again.

Just blogged re the tetrakaidecahedron -- how many others
did that today?  Given how many millions of blogs, probably
a few (hey, Zeitgeist, ya know?).

Just registered for Pycon I wanted to say.  Looking forward.

So, on the math teaching front, I've been facilitating
connections twixt Alaska and Oregon, charter school
stuff, will maybe blog about it more down the road (too
much in play at the moment, not worth trying to capture
in prose at this point (LEP High has a lot of spanking
new Edubuntu terminals, that much I'll mention)).

So yeah, on the one hand:  energy (what the physics
and chemistry teachers feel on board with, as a unifying
concept, with power = E/t and so on -- talking units,
Newtonian Era stuff).   On the other hand:  algorithms,
such as execute on a computer, be that an XO, or
(in older jargon) a human being.

Of course as computer geeks, we believe in automating
tedious grunt work (a lot of my job).  We empathize with
those monks and/or clerical staff told to work out inter-
polation tables.  "If only we had a machine" they would
pray (so worried about typos, inaccuracies that could
sink ships).  Voila, Python (etc.).  Prayers answered.

On the energy front, I'm still thinking First Person Physics
and looking forward to civilian action figures like Roz Savage,
not fiction, not Rambo, featuring in our lesson plans,
spending their hard earned calories like mad (she rowed
across the Atlantic, mushed dawgs more recently) **.
That's the true meaning of "action figure" in my book
(like Lara Croft, but not tomb raiding -- so more like
Lara Logan, or Angelina for real).

On the algorithms front, we've got the emergin Algebra
City curriculum i.e. that whole history of Zero coming
by camel train through Baghdad (lots of value added),
then by boat (merchant marine), to Italy, where that
Pisa guy, Fibonacci, picks up our tale, gives us little
two-liners, the kind of stuff we can use in Project
Renaissance [tm] curriculum materials.

I've gone through all that a million times on this list, so
I'll spare you the redundancy, just exult a little more
about Pippy on the XO, even if the Fibonaccis or Pascals
aren't written as generators (an iterable type) in the current
edition (always room to grow and change, now that G1G1
has pumped so much capital into it -- so many XOs
around North America these days, especially in LA).

OK, that's about it from my corner, unless anyone has

More later, see some of you at Pycon no doubt,

4D Solutions
Portland, Oregon

** http://www.rozsavage.com/

I'm just in the process of developing an educational
section for my website, in collaboration with a team
at the University of Minnesota ( which is where I
was dogsledding, not Alaska!).
[ from today's inbox, good news ]

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