Friday, September 29, 2006

Gnuvy Krew Calculus

a Pythonic desktop
(click for larger view)

I'm not really expecting the term "gnuvy krew" to spread very far. For me personally, it's a reminder of United Voices (UV), sometimes referred to as "UV Krew" and a former program of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) out of the Portland office on East Burnside, headed by Mary Ann Prado.

Here're a some cross references: [visit to Cambridge][push into TV][math makeover campaign].

I think of "the gnuvy krew" as my fellow gnu math teachers. We often use source code to communicate key mathematical concepts.

For example, in the screen shot above, I'm plotting a 4th degree polynomial and its first and second derivatives, using the Python code open in the left window, and an interactive shell, top right (click the picture for a bigger version).

It's all pretty home grown, and hence a bit idiosyncratic. Expressing your own individuality is not verboten in gnu math teaching.

Given the tools I'm using (Calculus, Python, VPython, a Pentium running WinXP, and now Blogger) represent many centuries of combined labor and R&D, one could argue that this quirky personal overlay is nought but a thin veneer over a vast invisible army's collective effort.

Be that as it may, I encourage gnuvy krewers to personalize their teaching materials as another way of adding value, even as they edit/recombine material from others per the open source ethic (which often includes giving and/or getting credit for stuff).

Anyway, use your persona to add positive value, to take advantage of the Principle of Synergetic Advantage. Add your own spin, why not?

Related thread on edu-sig: Calculus with Stickworks