Interesting editorial by Danielle Fleischman of the Indiana Daily Student about "The Power of PowerPoint"
When it comes to learning in the 21st century, the use of computer-generated slides is a no-brainer. Students prefer to have the visual aide during lectures, claiming that it helps them to maintain interest and retain material.
Unfortunately, the quality of PowerPoint presentations varies from professor to professor.
She gives suggestions for best practices when using slides in lectures. I started to leave a long-winded comment but then thought it would make a better blog post.
So I've been teaching calculus for over 10 years, almost (with the exception of one summer) exclusively out of some flavor of Stewart. And I've been a fan of the web and delivering content over the internet since beginning—I was cobbling together course web pages in the 90s before Blackboard and fancy content management systems were around.
A few months ago David Bressoud (incoming president of the MAA) wrote an article for Notices of the AMS called "Is the Sky Still Falling?" It refers to a 1995 Notices article (titled "The Sky is Falling") which worried about a rapid decline in the number of students enrolling in mathematics courses.
Bressoud's article contains good news and bad news. The good news is that enrollment in college math courses is up. One bit of bad news is that enrollment in all college courses is up, too, and the percentage of enrollments which are math courses continues to drop.
It’s long been known that movement helps people remember and retrieve information about an event or physical activity associated with action. But psychologist Susan Goldin-Meadow’s article, “Gesturing Gives Children New Ideas About Math,” is the first to show that gestures also help create new ideas.
“This study highlights the importance of motor learning even in nonmotor tasks, and suggests that we may be able to lay the foundation for new knowledge just by telling learners how to move their hands,” writes Goldin-Meadow in her article, now appearing in the current issue of the journal Psychological Science.
A little long for a tweet, but too short for a big post:
Students have trouble differentiating between what you tell them because you want them to know it, and what you tell them because you want them to do it.
I'm glad to say that I'm back at work, both in cyber- and meatspace.
I had let the website malinger in the land of database connection error for a long time, and it turned out all I had to do was start it up again (the server on which it was running had been rebooted for maintenance).
Physically, I'm back in the office after a holiday vacation and a trip to Washington, DC for the annual Joint Meetings of the AMS and MAA. I gave a fun talk about some of the courses I taught at Harvard using the Moore Method style.