Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Projects Bonanza!

I really have my hands full this summer! Firstly, during July, I'm teaching a Summer class at NCC, M122 Harvard Calculus I, using technology in the form of my "Portable SmartBoard" (please see my last post). I'm not really using my "Portable Youtube Recording Studio," however, as I already made screen-casts for this course last summer. So, I'm posting those to What I have to do this year is save all my SmartNotes as *.pdfs since I seem to have lost last year's files! Next post, I'll have to update you on all the *.pdfs and *.mp4s for this past week! Also, in another blog post, I have to share a ton of photos I took in my classroom at NCC showing how my "Portable SmartBoard" is setup. BTW, the "Recording Studio" just adds a mic and to the mix.

However, that's not all! I think that may have bitten off more than I can chew! You see, I am also writing the solutions to all my tests and quizzes from this year's new 4R-11 (PreCalculus 4 Juniors) curriculum. These materials will soon become a new offering for my fellow teachers and home schoolers on EBay! So, I'll be adding over 300 pages of TBQs and TBSs (Techbook Questions and Solutions) along with all these SmartNotes as *.pdfs and ScreenCasts as *mp4s for some new TBLs (Techbook Lessons)!

In addition to that, we finally have the enrollment to run my new course originally named "Scientific Computing Lab" but renamed by the powers that be as "Calculus Research Lab" aka CRL! So, I have to spend all of August figuring out what I'm really going to teach there. Take a look at the description for CRL on the right-side panel to this blog. My AP Calculus BC students did well last year. I'm hoping that CRL will help them to do even better! Two years ago we had poor results and on the AP so I brainstormed some methods we could use to improve our results. So, two years ago we added Free Response Fridays and last year we added Multiple Choice Mondays (not to mention Youtube Wednesdays). I don't give Take Home Tuesdays anymore as I found them ineffective. Finally, next year, we get to add CRL to the mix!

Last year, my AP Computer Science class did a final project based on AppInventor for the Droid OS. I'm thinking I'd actually like to show my students how to really publish apps for the Droid Market. So, I'm reading "Android Application Development for Dummies" using Java and Eclipse in Linux. BTW, the Dummies series has some really good tech titles that are not really for Dummies! Also, my AP Computer Science A students did not do very well on the AP Exam this year. So, I also have to brainstorm some new methods here. The new cohort had a solid foundation in Computer Math using the Litvins' new Discrete Math course using Python and So, I think that next year we can breeze through the first few chapters in our Java text and spend more time on the difficult topics and the Case Study. Last's year's class had very little time for these units...

My Computing Independent Study class last year finally got openMPI to work over our cluster of 25 AMD 64bit Athon X2s, ie: 25 dualcore PCs or 50 cores. We ran a stress test on this cluster and achieved about 22 GFLOPS. Now I am told that the tech dept decided to order 25 AMD 64bit Phenom X4s! So, were going from 50 cores to 100 cores. Also, each of the 25 new quadcores will be upgraded from 750 MB to 4 GB RAM and from 80 GB to 250 GB HDD! Is that like one Linux box running at 200 GHz with 100 GB RAM and 5.25 TB HDD??? Anyway, I think we should be able to break 50 GFLOPS this year. So, we should be able to do some fractals, ray tracings, blender scenes and maybe even an animation a la PIXAR?

Last, but not least, I am also studying the Baroque Mandolin!

I hope that these Summer Projects inspire you to come up with some of your own! What do ya think? 
Teaching with Technology, 

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