Wednesday Musings

I thank Will for suggesting that we begin our session this morning with a discussion. A smaller group populated by math and science instructors generated a great deal of debate about the current use of technology in our classrooms, its place within the curriculum and the potential future role it could play. Despite some commonality regarding the technology we employ, there did seem to be quite a diverse range in ideas and physical products our peer departments bring to the classroom. Once again, a return to the “value” of the answer versus the “interpretation” of the answer arose. Thanks to Joel for stoking the fire a fair bit. His insights, while from the Humanities perspective, made for excellent discussion and comparison. I don’t think there is a right answer – just a lot of interpretations. 

At this point, I’m a bit upset – mostly at myself. I had written a nice, long, articulate post that failed to post correctly. I copied using Apple + A to select, refreshed the page and pasted the content. The paragraph above only made it successfully through the transfer process. I have to now rethink what I had written. C’est le vie.
I really enjoyed watching the math/science teachers take off with the Mathematica product. Acting as a guide and a bit of a troubleshooter introduced me to some new ideas, re-formed some of my Mathematica chops and engaged me. I appreciate finding myself once again in a setting where others are excited by the powerful things one can accomplish with Mathematica. 
We had considerable discussion regarding LMS or CMS. Dropping blackboard entirely after last year, largely disgruntled with the patience required to navigate, I shunned a LMS entirely this year. Employing dropbox instead as a location to post and share content seemed really to work well. I handled communication via a class email list. I don’t think these two always functioned as a perfect unit with no room for improvement, but the solution proved effective in its simplicity. My dissatisfaction with most LMS is that they do far more than I would ever use them to do – and they don’t perform tasks as well as other programs could independently. In my mind, simpler is better. I think I’m pretty confident that I can find ways to include other things I want. And if I’m unsuccessful, I do know that these other LMS exist, and that knowledge is useful and comforting. For now, I’m not sold. 

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