Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Blogging On Blogging (BOB)

We've had a good couple of classes. You heard me say, and will again, how mathematics is the science of patterns. I am very happy with how well you seem to be, as a class, looking for the patterns that emerge from the material we've been studying but there's one thing that concerns me.

There is a BIG difference between learning and just being there. Learning is an interactive sport; not a spectator sport. There has to be a conversation between us, back and forth, as we work through the material. Learning doesn't happen when I talk and you listen; learning happens when you have a conversation -- with me and with each other. I'm looking forward to participating in more conversations in our future classes. ;-)

We were talking about exactly what sort of post you're supposed to make to get that mark on your test. The kind of post I'd like you to make should have one or more of these characteristics:

  • A reflection on a particular class (like the first two paragraphs above).

  • A reflective comment on your progress in the course.

  • A comment on something that you've learned that you thought was "cool".

  • A comment about something that you found very hard to understand but now you get it! Describe what sparked that "moment of clarity" and what it felt like.

  • Have you come across something we discussed in class out there in the "real world" or another class? Describe the connection you made.

  • Respond to a Blogging Prompt I posted. (see below)

Your posts do not have to be long. I'm far more interested in the quality of what you write rather than the quantity.

Blogging Prompt
To help us along our blogging journey I've decided that I will also occasionally post a Blogging Prompt. It will be easy to find because I'll always put it under a heading like the one above this paragraph. Feel free to create your own Blogging Prompt for the rest of us if you like. If it's a really good one (i.e. has rich possibilities for blogging) we'll count it as your post. ;-) Here's my first one:

We've learned about two different kinds of mutliplication that can be done with matricies; scalar multiplication and matrix multiplication. There's also ordinary multiplication, such as 2 x 3 = 6. Blog a brief paragraph identifying ways in which these three types of multiplication are similar. Blog a second paragraph outlining the ways in which they are different. Also, give us an example of two 2x2 matricies, A and B, that DO commute. i.e. AB = BA.

This sort of compare and contrast exercise can be made easier to do using Venn Diagrams. Draw two large overlapping circles. List the similarities in the overlapping section and the differences in the appropriate non-overlapping sections. If you like, you can use this web tool to do it online. If you do blog about this prompt and want to post your diagram we'll talk about how to post pictures sometime in class. ;-)

Happy Blogging!

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