This was just mentioned briefly in my class on educational technology, and we didn’t delve into it. I think it’s partially because the social networking thing just became huge relatively recently.

Perhaps I’m uncreative, but I’m struggling to see how something like Twitter or Facebook could really enhance education beyond small administrative things, like informing students that school is canceled via Twitter. Any ideas?

I’ve been sick, my flash drive died and now I have to make up working on calc problem writing that I lost on the dead flash drive, and one of my cats (the one in my icon on WordPress) has liver problems. Without being too dramatic, right now, I’m not sure if he’s going to live. The information I’ve been looking for instead of working (I’m very worried about him) isn’t helpful, and all I know is that treatments are expensive.

Good vibes or any other help is always welcome.

  1. You really don’t know that much. I don’t want to get tripped up when it comes to defense time, and I’m also curious. I spend a lot of time trying to understand minute details. I’ve been very much humbled by how little I know.
  2. Historical papers are difficult to read. One of the big papers for my research is Einstein’s diffusion paper. We’ve had trouble following some of the math, like some assumptions he has made, and it appears no one else can explain the assumptions. They’re just bam! there and they make the derivation work out.
  3. You can’t allocate enough time. I work on my thesis at least 8-10 hours a day (hence no blogging), and I’m still behind on the schedule I made. I’m figuring stuff out most of the time. I barely want to take time to eat lunch or go buy it; I’m lucky my assistants help keep me sane and fed.
  4. Technology=Evil. With all the stress of everything, technology likes to break down. Mathematica was irritable today and required so many restarts. Latex, the program used to write the thesis, has its days too.
  5. You have to make sacrifices. My dancing honestly has been put to the way side. I have skipped social functions just to work on my thesis.  I do fit in yoga, because I need some kind of physical activity. My wrist aches from computer usage. I don’t want to be damaged when I’m finished. I really wish there were more hours in the day to do dance, be social, etc.
  6. The thesis engulfs your life. I didn’t anticipate my thesis being on my mind so much, even when I’m not working on it. That was the other reason I am not dancing as much. I can’t shut off the thesis writing part yet. This has overtaken my life.

Since I’ve never done any specifically science review, I thought this Sunday that I’d give some shoutouts to two of my favorite time-savers: Mathematica and my TI-89

Mathematica is software that does all sorts of powerful things: graphing (I’ve done pretty 3D graphs for classes in my undergraduate days), matrix operations, summations, and so on. My favorite part of Mathematica is that it will integrate and take derivatives. I’m totally capable of doing them by hand, either through a table or the good ol’ fashioned way, I also know that some of the ugly, nasty ones just ask for silly mistakes or a bit more time-consuming than I care to take.  The only difficult thing is like most software, you have to learn its language and its quirks. That can be very frustrating (see me and Matlab this quarter), but for my basic tasks, I found Mathematica quite easy to learn.

If you have no access to Mathematica (I think it’s quite pricey; I use it at school), you can still integrate via the Integrator. Wolfram, Mathematica’s manufacturer, generously allows people to integrate online through it.

I added my calculator for the same reason. I use the factorial/sinh/cosh functions (though I hear the TI-83s also have it), but it’s nice to have an at home integrator and derivative taker. Being so small, it isn’t nearly as powerful as Mathematica, but it normally does the job, even with some of the larger integrals.

I don’t have a cheaper solution to the TI-89 like I do with Mathematica, but I know that you can get fairly inexpensive electronics via sites like Craig’s List when school ends in June; college kids love selling their stuff for ridiculously low prices.