Math + iPods

For my final project in ECMP 355 I’m putting together a wiki dealing with implementing iPods into Math education.  I have been bookmarking sites through Delicious that may be useful for the project for the past while, you can view them here.

(from Flickr)

(from Flickr)

The wiki will include:

  • Math-related application reviews (as well as some non math related, but useful apps) including screen shots, a brief summary, and some possible uses
  • Requirements (what would need to happen before implementing iPods)
  • Podcasting (what it is, how it can be used)
  • Protection (how you can prevent the iPods from getting wrecked)
  • Examples (where iPods have been used)
  • Tips & Tricks / Tutorials (I will probably just link to great resources I’ve found)
  • Resources (other resources)

I’ve started putting everything together with Google Sites (you can see what’s been started here, all that’s really been done is a review on a Battery Status app), however I’ve just realized it doesn’t function very nicely as a wiki.  I may switch it over to Wikispaces since the University of Regina has set up a wikispaces area for students and staff.

Do you have any suggestions for the wiki?  Or do you have anything you think you could contribute?

Podcasts!

This week in ECMP 355, we were to subscribe to and review two different podcasts; one for personal interest and one relating to education. I have downloaded quite a few podcasts but I’ve decided to tell you about two of them: fitmusic.com and Learning in Hand: iPods.

fitmusic.com Podcast Screenshot

fitmusic.com Podcast Screenshot

I downloaded fitmusic.com because I have been getting pretty bored with my iPod music lately when I’m at the gym. I downloaded all 137 episodes, which took a little time, but wasn’t too bad. Basically, the podcast just has various mixes, all technoish. They range from 20 minutes long up to just over an hour. I used a few different episodes (I can’t remember exactly which ones) while I ran some laps at the gym. They were a nice change to my typical music and seemed to build up as I went, pumping me up to go even longer. I was expecting many of them to be pretty much the same thing, but much to my surprise, every episode I quickly sampled was different from the others. For each episode, there is a list of the song’s title, artist and BPM. The only thing I wish they had done differently was categorized different episodes for different types of workouts (ie. Sprinting, Casual Jogging, etc.). You can check out the podcast in iTunes here

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Learning in Hand : iPods

Learning in Hand : iPods

I came across Learning in Hand: iPod podcast when I was looking for resources for my final project. Tony Vincent is the host of this podcast. Some of the episodes were in video and some were in audio form. Currently, there are 19 episodes for this podcast. I watched episodes 18 and 19. Episode 18 talked about the basics of using iPod touches. Tony bla bla 18. In episode 19, Tony takes us on a tour of Washington, DC by taking photos along the way and use them in a comic strip, all on the iPod touch. He used the Maps app, the screenshot feature, Google Earth, and a comic creation app. He shows us how to use all of these features and ultimately showed us his final product. These two episodes were really cool and showed some great ways to use iPods in a classroom. I will definitely be looking the other episodes as soon as I get an opportunity!

Math + iPod

The other day I was trying to do some vector calculus homework. Not exactly the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. It wasn’t particularly hard stuff as we’re only two weeks into classes, but I was struggling with trying to visualize the graphs of the functions I was doing questions on. I’m not too sure how many people can easily visualize what the graphs of f(x,y)=x^2y or f(x,y)=cos(x^2-y) look like.

The graph of f(x,y)=x^2y courtesy of Quick Graph

The graph of f(x,y)=x^2y courtesy of Quick Graph (click to enlarge)

Trying to find any excuse to put off my homework, I started playing around on my iPod touch. I found myself in the App Store looking for some free game to amuse me. So I played for a little while, then realized I had to buckle down and get to work again. I was still really struggling with these graphs, they were taking forever to figure out. Then I thought to myself, maybe there is an App in the App Store that is capable of doing these kind of graphs. So I searched “graph calculator” into the search box and found “Quick Graph” (and it was FREE!). After I got into the application I got playing around and got the hang of it really quickly.

I typed in my functions (f(x,y)=x^2y and f(x,y)=cos(x^2-y)) and was able to see what they actually looked like! I found i could also zoom in or out and rotate it however I wanted. This was so incredibly useful for the duration of my homework.  With a few touches, I could see what exactly I was working with in my questions.  I flew through the rest of my homework with the help of this app!

I will likely have to memorize how these functions actually work since I’m quite sure I won’t be allowed to use my iPod in exams. Despite not being able to use it on exam, I will be able to get through many many more problems compared to before. Plus the more different graphs I see, the more I’ll get a better understanding of they work in general.

The graph of f(x,y)=cos(x^2-y) courtesy of Quick Graph (click to enlarge)

The graph of f(x,y)=cos(x^2-y) courtesy of Quick Graph (click to enlarge)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but almost every kid has an iPod or something very similar. As a kid with an iPod, I know I want to use it for everything I can. I know it’s capable of more than just playing my music. Now I’ve discovered it could be a great educational tool. Students would probably enjoy their homework more if they got to “play” on their iPods as they did it. If, as teachers, we allow our students to use and explore these excellent resources, they could get through much more work at a faster rate while enjoying it.

But will tools like this just make students lazy? They definitely could if they aren’t utilized properly. I think that as long as a we continue to push them to understand what they’re doing this shouldn’t’ happen. A tool like Quick Graph could certainly enhance a students learning experience.

While in the App Store, I noticed there is an entire category devoted to Education with 282 pages of apps with 20 apps per page.  That’s just over 5600 apps!  I haven’t had the opportunity to look closer at them, but there has to be some great apps dealing with every subject there is.

Why don’t we start letting kids “play” with their education a little and enjoy it more?   The more fun it is for them, the more fun it will be for us too!