Livin’ the star trek life
Yesterday, scientists in Australia developed a tractor beam. I’m constantly marveling at my iphone. I mean I LOVE wolfram alpha for the iphone. It’s like the most awesome, beautiful calculator in the world.
and wondering, just like XKCD, why my kids keep being forced to buy the same $150 Ti-Calculator (with a few more CAS bells and whistles) that I had to buy when I was in high school.
So imagine how I felt today when I discovered Vernier Video Analysis for iOS. I’ve used video analysis before on logger pro, and it’s ok, but its buried under some menus, take a bit of set up, and just always felt kludgey. Tracker Video Analysis, is awesome, and Doug Brown is like the greatest at supporting the app, but it’s a bit too much for many of my freshmen, though the webstart video experiments are awesome (really fun homework).
Imagine the day, right in the middle of modeling discussion.
student 1: I think the basketball is falling at constant acceleration.
student 2: I think it the acceleration might be increasing.
student 1: how can we test this?
student 2: let’s use our iphone!
—2 minutes later—
student 1: wow, after filming and analyzing the motion on the iphone, it’s pretty clear that velocity is increasing at a constant rate, so it must be constant acceleration.
Ok, so I’m dreaming a bit about the conversation between the students, but the time it takes to film and analyze motion in this program is no lie. It is FAST. Like lightning fast. And easy to use. Like I think I could teach my soon to be infant daughter to do this, as soon as she exits the womb, can hold her head up, and focus on something more than 6 inches away from her face.
So imagine what my classroom would be like if I could get rid of all those TI-nspires that take 5 minutes to boot up (seriously, I don’t need a calculator that has to boot up), and have a class set of ipod touches for most everything we do—taking and analyzing photos and videos, solving real world problems with real data from Wolfram Alpha and the web, measuring accelerations with accelmeter, measuring short distances with sonar ruler, and then measuring out long distances with distance free, answering clicker questions with Response Ware, while we have my desktop cluster of ubuntu machines (always ready to go with no boot time) for any deeper analysis that requires a lot of typing. It would be awesome. Now if webassign would get their act together and write a iphone app.