School is again in session. We have a week under our belts by now and things are feeling somewhat normalized. This year is different though for several reasons.
This is the first year is in at least 7 years that our enrollment has gone up instead of down or stayed the same. I have a digital projector in my room. We have a new administrator. I have a new job title. The Bible classes are being taught by four different men. And I am sure there will be more things to add to the list.
Having a digital projector in my room means I need to learn some new technology. Micr$ofts PowerPoint doesn’t really cut it in a math and science classroom without having a few expensive add ons. (Expensive is relative when compared to open source alternatives) I am trying to learn two new to me open source options for my classroom. The Latex and l Latex Beamer class (Latex is pronounced Laa Tech). Also getting ready to learn how to use Sage an open source alternative the Mathematica or Maple. The prices of these no-open source programs start at $140 and run up to $2400!
Latex can create lots of different page layouts with minimal effort –
once you learn the code. Which really it is. Latex is a type of markup
code that lets you rely on content and let something else take care of
how it looks. It is used extensively in the math and science world (I
knew about it in college but never learned it, I wish there had been a
workshop to get me started).
Beamer is a document class that creates full pages pages that when used with a PDF reader in fullscreen mode looks better than ppt slides. Latex is a wonderful typesetting languge that is able to ‘type’ math that looks good -try doing that in Word.
The third thing I’m trying to learn, Sage, is a project that a friend Joel is working on has some viable options for visulizing some math. I am hoping that ‘pretty pictures’ may make math a little more exciting for my high school students.
The students are great, I just want to make my classes more for them.