Summer plans


I’m still in recovery mode from this past semester, which seemed somehow to be brutal for pretty much everyone I know in this business. But something that always helps me in this phase is thinking about what I get to do with the much lighter schedule that summertime affords. Here’s a rundown.

Mostly this summer I will be spending time with my family. On Mondays and Fridays, I’ll be home with my two daughters. On Wednesdays I’ll have them plus my 16-month old son, plus my wife will have that day off. On Tuesdays it’ll be just the boy and me. So I plan lots of trips to the zoo, the various parks around here, and so on.

I still have plenty of time to work, and I have a few projects for the summer.

First, I need to get ready for my Geometry class this fall. I am making the move from Geometer’s Sketchpad to Geogebra this fall, and although I took a minicourse at the ICTCM on Geogebra, I still need to work on my skills before I teach with it. Also, I need to figure out exactly what I am going to teach. I’m going to be using Euclid’s Elements as the textbook for the course, eschewing commercial textbooks for both monetary and educational reasons. But I’m not totally sure what I’m going to have students do, exactly. So I’ll be reading through the Elements and possibly thinking out loud here on the blog about how to incorporate a 2000-year old mathematical work with modern open-source dynamic geometry software in an engaged classroom. I’m calling it “ancient-future geometry”, whatever it turns out being.

Second, I’ll be working on our dual-degree Engineering program to try and make it a little easier to schedule and complete. This is hard-core administrative stuff, interesting to nobody but a select few geeks like me.

Third, I’ll be working to further my programming skills with MATLAB and Python. I picked up a lot of MATLAB programming to get ready for the course this past semester, but that seemed only to highlight how much more I needed to learn. And I watched enough of this MIT computing course over Christmas break that I want to do the whole thing now that I have some time.

Fourth, I’ll be attending the American Society for Engineering Education conference in Louisville next month. Part of that experience is a day-long minicourse titled “Getting Started in Engineering Education Research”. I’ll be taking my participation in that minicourse as the kickoff to a concerted effort to get into the scholarship of teaching and learning. Along with the minicourse I’ll be reading through some seminal SoTL articles this summer, and probably blogging what I’m thinking.

Fifth, and finally, I’ll be mapping out some incursions of the inverted classroom model in my Calculus course this fall. More on that later as well.

For now, my family and I are heading out to Tennessee on vacation to visit family and hang out. I’ll be off the grid for a week or so. Enjoy yourselves and stay tuned!

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4 Comments

Filed under Education, Geogebra, Geometers Sketchpad, Geometry, Higher ed, ictcm, Inverted classroom, Math, Teaching, Technology, Textbook-free

4 responses to “Summer plans

  1. Cathy

    Robert,

    Have you read Kiselev’s Geometry? (available in a modern translation by Alexander Givental on Amazon, I believe). I did a reading project on it one summer when I was at university. I really enjoyed it – it has heaps of construction problems. Some of them are reasonably straight forward, but some of them took me days to figure out. The book also brings out all the connections between geometry and number theory.

  2. Have a great summer. I’m in the same mode these days, gearing up for a lot of writing, and revamping at least one course.

  3. Graham

    I haven’t read the book fully, but I found the following book interesting :

    Euclid : The Creation of mathematics.

    published by Springer, so no good as a text, but may be useful in designing your course.

  4. It looks like Karl Smith is heading up that minicourse on engineering education, so you’ll be in good hands! (And thanks for the link to the SoTL guide I put together a couple of years ago. It may be time to update that page…) I think I mentioned to you that two of the students in our Teaching-as-Research Fellows program are presenting their work at ASEE: Elizabeth Vargis and Nicholas Roberts. I hope you’ll be able to see their talks.