Blog

Jun 17
Why do we solve for "x"?

‚ÄčA teacher forwarded this short but very interesting video on the history of why we use "x" as our primary variable of choice in algebra.   Quite an interesting combination of history, linguistics, and math.   Hope you enjoy.

https://www.ted.com/talks/terry_moore_why_is_x_the_unknown?utm_content=awesm-bookmarklet&utm_campaign=&utm_source=facebook.com&awesm=on.ted.com_puil&utm_medium=on.ted.com-facebook-share#t-2517

Jun 08
New Technology for The Inquisitive Mind tutoring

As many of my existing clients know I have recently upgraded my educational technology to further support students.   Technology can support learning if used appropriately, although it can also be both a crutch and at times a real annoyance.   Like most upgrades there are some hiccups such as my current inability to email invoices.

I am now subscribed to the Office 365 service which means that students and I are using Office 2013 (mostly PowerPoint and Word).    Many students had already upgradraded their home computers to Office 2010 or 2013 thus I was out-of-date with what students were using at home and/or school.   With the Office 365 service I will always have the latest version of MS Office for students and their school assignments/projects.

In fact, my Small Business subscription to Office 365 is the reason for the change in this simple website as it is now hosted as part of Office 365.   Lots of change and lots to learn for me too.

Students and I also now have access to a dual-screen setup which means that students can do research/reading on one screen and write on the other screen.   In addition, one of the monitors is a touch-screen (although I do not yet know how all I'll use that educationally for students).   I am now using Windows 8.1 which should work nicely with the touchscreen (although I realize it might not be so nice without a touchscreen monitor).

Part of the upgrade included a new Solid State hard drive which is significantly faster (partially offsets some of the frustration with some of the hiccups in the transition).   It turns out that the old hard drive was starting to fail which is why the computer would not upgrade to Windows 8.

Students still have access to a color printer, a scanner, Inspiration 9, Geometer's Sketchpad and Algebra Vision software.

After adjusting to all the new technology, and making sure it works, I will look at adding a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 or Pro 3 to support students during future tutoring.   Some students already have been bringing their Ipads and/or laptops.   With the Surface Pro 2 or 3, in theory students will be able to write out their equations by hand so they can be converted to regular text for permanent support notes.   One piece of technology upgrade at a time is plenty, so I'll advise next year when I explore the next level of educational technology.

... and for current clients, please excuse the tech "upgrade" hiccups such as the inability to email invoices.