[FoRK] What the hell just happened?

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Tue Apr 6 20:06:29 PDT 2010

On 4/6/10 7:15 PM, silky wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 7, 2010 at 12:04 PM, Stephen Williams<sdw at lig.net>  wrote:
> ...
>> Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  Depends on what you and I mean by technologist,
>> gadgets, and "learning more".  There is too much to learn, so there are
>> plenty of levels of knowledge that don't require too many tools to obtain.
>>   Although, at some point in the future or past, it is or will be tough to
>> learn competitively without taking advantage of all the tools, gadgets, and
>> paradigms available, even if the resulting work doesn't need them.  The iPad
>> is, potentially, such a tool.  I'd like a number of things fixed about it
>> (much higher resolution, price, storage for instance), but a thin, durable
>> Internet terminal / book reader with a 10 hour battery that does color and
>> video and can have Internet access anywhere?  Sounds like a fundamental
>> learning tool to me.
> Not to me. I'm learning calculus right now. My learning is not aided
> by this computer, nor would it be aided if I only had the screen part
> of this laptop, and was able to sit on a couch or something. It would
> make absolutely no difference. What matters most, for me, is sitting
> down with the book, and doing exercises. For now, I happen to like
> writing them on paper. Maybe my children will like writing them on
> computers via advanced writing input; perhaps, and that could be cool,
> and when the day comes I will consider it, but at the moment it would
> do nothing but waste my time.

I'm pretty sure that using Mathematica or Maple or similar, perhaps with 
some good guidance in every section, would significantly speed up and 
improve comprehension and ability with calculus, etc.  Are you using the 
Strang book?  His books seem to be the most popular with universities, 
at least the top ones I checked a couple years ago.  I updated my book 
collection with a good set since I needed calculus, discrete math, and 
linear algebra for several things recently.  And it had been > 20 years 
since I had calculus.  It was much easier the second time, although I 
still don't think it is taught properly.


I actually had collected several links to math information a couple days 
ago and hadn't worked up a blog / wiki posting yet.  Most of these are 
from a Slashdot thread.



> And guess what; that method is *personal*. It may not apply to you. If
> so, fine, if it does, then fine too. But, as if it needs to be said,
> there are different learning methods that people can try, and some
> work better than others; and sometimes there are general patterns that
> work well for all. If someone comes up with a device that aids a
> general learning pattern, then maybe I can use it, but for now the
> ultimate device exists: pencil and paper and a friend to talk to.
>> sdw

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