Midweek recap, 9.7.2011

September 7, 2011, 7:30 am

From around the interwebs this past week:

  • John Cook shares Python code used to slice open a Menger sponge.
  • OxDE talks about antiparallelograms and asks some questions about tiling the plane with them.
  • 360 asks the important questions, such as Why can’t people on Glee do math right? There’s more than one right answer to that question, I think.
  • Alasdair McAndrew takes a detailed look at alternatives to MATLAB, including Octave, Scilab, and Freemat. Sadly, his preferred alternative isn’t 100% OS X friendly, but that’s not his fault.
  • My GVSU colleague John Golden looks at different ways to annotate PDF’s using a Bamboo tablet.
  • On Slashdot, a report that Google is shuttering 10 of its projects. Most of these are marginal at best, with the notable exception of Google Notebooks, which does seem to get used by a nontrivial number of people.
  • Finally, at Mark Guzdial’s Computing Education Blog, a note on a Harvard Education Letter report (PDF) on the effectiveness of face-to-face versus online versus blended classroom settings. The study found that students in online settings modestly outperformed students in traditional settings, but students in blended online/f2f settings outperformed both. Mark points out that although the report notes that this could lead to changes in the way online schools operate — by adding more face-to-face elements to instruction — it should also change the way brick-and-mortar institutions work too by the inclusion of more online elements. And personally, I wonder what this might mean for the inverted classroom, which is inherently a form of blended learning environment.
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