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Computational Modeling Assignment, Draft #3

August 17, 2011

Update: I added the keynote file I used to create the screencast below.

Longtime readers of this blog will have figured out by now that I’m not one for revision or excessive editing. My high school self would tend to believe I type perfect prose and turn it in minutes before the deadline. My older, wiser self no longer believes that, but is usually too busy or too lazy to go back and do serious revision—this is a flaw I intend to work on, and I’ve think I may have stumbled onto the solution. Feedback—crazy awesome feedback that is so compelling you want to go and revise.

Since I first posted the raw footage of me trying to explain the big idea of computational modeling, and then the second draft, I have gotten more than a dozen substantial comments, each from a different, thoughtful perspective, and each filled with good ideas I wanted to incorporate into my work. So even though re-editing a Camtasia screencast is a huge pain, and even though school starts tomorrow today, I couldn’t stop myself from re-editing both of the videos, the handout and the code.

Here’s the new, revised assignment:

View this document on Scribd

Here’s the link to the project file: Unit 1 Program.

Here’s the video that introduces the big idea:

Here’s the video explanation of the VPython program:

If folks are interested, I’d be happy to post the keynote and camtasia files as well. The keynote file contains some neat animation tricks to produce the sequences explaining how computational modeling works.
Update: here’s the keynote file: Mechanics Story.

Now that I’ve posted this, all I can think of is other edits and changes I’d lke to make, like turning the graphic that shows the state of the computational modeling process as a rotating sign, rather than just two circles.

And all this sort of amazes me—I’ve already spent a ton of time on this project, and really would love to spend more time on it. It’s not that I really love paying with screencasting or Camtasia—it’s that everyone who has commented has given me great ideas that I want to take to heart and use to improve this material. And maybe this has helped me to hit on the key to motivating my students to do similar revisions to their own work. If somehow I can get them to receive thoughtful and detailed feedback from people all around the world, I think it might push them to do the extra work they need to do complete the capstone, not for the grade, but for the satisfaction of more fully realizing one’s vision of what work should be.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2011 8:30 am

    I’d love to be able to see the Keynote file. I have a new Mac and an eager to begin making better use of it. Thanks.


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