This is a multi part blog series. Excuse me, a serial.
1- The History (What)
2- Teaching Now (Where)
3- *My Contributions (Who)
4- Writing One (How)
As for the why, read. As to when: The time is now. Jump on board.
|APPARENTLY I'M A HOLOGRAM ONLY SOME |
PEOPLE CAN SEE AND HEAR
The last couple of posts have already talked about the Who in terms of other people. It's time to actually hit the climax, which is me, because it's my blog, so there. Also because I've been writing a web serial for coming up to two years now, all about math. (Read it, damn you!)
Of course, I had no idea that's what I was doing.
|HYPER: "Damn it, ArcTan, it's just a|
bunch of clip art, right?! I mean, really!"
By the way, if you're a teacher only here for the assessment and evaluation stuff I promised, jump down two subheaders.
Because now that I know I've been writing a serial, I think I know why it's frustrating as heck sometimes. First, because as a serial, every entry should be self-contained. You should be able to jump in anywhere, or start at any point, and pick up the threads. Yet... no one seems to be doing that. Is it not as self-contained as I thought?
Second, because I want "Taylor's Polynomials" to be a dynamic serial, and it's very much static. Not that static is bad - my other grand effort, "Time Trippers", which I recently blogged about, would be a more static variant. Let me clarify what I mean...
I see a static serial as one scripted in advance. The parts are published a bit at a time, but the author already knows the major plot points. Minor details (or perchance major ones) might change based on new ideas, or fan input, but the author knows where they're going with it. Picture, well, I suspect anything by Joss Whedon, which probably extends to the Buffy Comic Book Series too. Speaking of comic books, I think Linkara uses this style in his online review series too. (ie- He has a defined story arc, but it fluctuates according to real life issues such as costuming.)
The opposite (inverse) to a static serial would be something like the X-Files or Lost where even the writer(s) have no clue what they have in mind, or they're changing things so often based on response that the result is a huge dysfunctional mess. Leading to the Chris Carter Effect.
The counterpoint (reciprocal - looks very different) to a static serial would be a dynamic serial. It has not been written in advance. The author has some conflicts or events in mind, but that's it. The details are vague. They'll write more as inspiration strikes. Which describes the writing process for most people, but again, here the early parts are posted AS THEY COME.
This has both huge advantages and huge disadvantages, which I'll go into in my last post in this blog series. For now, suffice to say that "Time Trippers" is a static serial (I know how my time machine works and what happened to Carrie's mother, even if you don't) while "Taylor's Polynomials" is a dynamic serial (Logan's gonna fly around in his gazebo for a while).
|Gazebo: Built by Professor X|
MY FUNCTIONS NEED INPUT
Something I am very good at is taking inputs and synthesizing them into something that makes rational sense. (I think that's part of what makes me a good teacher.) I am also very good at coming up with reasonable explanations for things completely out of the blue. (I try to avoid doing that to students.) Yet regarding "Taylor's Polynomials", my so-called dynamic web serial, the majority of the input and explanations have come from within, and I want them to be external.
For those who HAVE read my math serial, or who are curious, here's a few things that were completely unplanned from the beginning, and simply morphed out of what I was doing:
-Lyn attempting to infiltrate the Conic Mansion dressed as a Directrix.
-Command Trig (Sin, Cos, Tan) wearing red and Science Trig (their inverses) wearing blue, to model Star Trek.
-Sine doing a mind meld (replicator style) with Lyn, to create a graph that synchronized with Tangent's asymptotes.
-Using the Sign Function (Signum) to point the way back towards the Math Curriculum, because she knows Direction while Modulus (Maud) knows Distance.
Did anyone think any of that had been planned from the start? Nope.
|YES, PARA CAN ALSO COMBINE|
VERTEX AND FACTORED FORM.
Because here's the other thing: You have no idea how much else I'm holding back. Holding back, and keeping things dynamic, in the hopes that a better plan will occur. You might have what I need! Yet, I posted up asking for New Personifications a week ago. I've had 30 views (slightly above average on hits for me), with absolutely no thoughts.
So, yes. I'm frustrated because I want the math-tans to become more than simply MY vision. I want them to be part of a community. (Of course, maybe I'll become frustrated by the suggestions of others...? Uh, at least it's a different KIND of frustration?) It's also possible that I haven't been making that idea clear, but what more can I do aside from constantly blogging about it and asking for commentary? Unless I want to fall into the publicity trap I blogged about last week.
I CAME HERE FOR ASSESSMENTS
Right, sorry. I'm subconsciously working on serials there too. Admittedly, I'm constrained first by time, and secondly by curriculum expectations, but in my Statistics (Data Management) course, I've been able to pull off a few things. First, here's a rough excerpt from one of my probability tests:
1. When Dorothy first landed in Oz, she learned that the Munchkins liked joining special guilds. Given the following information ... : A) Create a Venn diagram to classify all 300 munchkins. B) Determine the probability that a munchkin is in the Lullabye guild, if you know he is NOT in the Lollypop guild.
2. Before seeing the Wizard, she's advised to bring a gift of fruit. A bag contains 15 apples and 10 oranges. What is the probability she will randomly draw two apples in sequence, assuming: A) She replaced the first apple, thinking it was a bit small. B) She did not replace the first apple, having decided to take two.
3. To defeat the Witch, the plan is to sneak into the Castle. The Scarecrow thinks this has an 85% chance of working. If it works, there's an 80% chance they'll beat the witch, but if it fails, there's only a 5% chance to win. Determine: A) The probability they sneak in, and then are defeated. B) The overall probability of defeating the witch, regardless.
I have another version involving Bingo and Agnes' lucky hat. Now, this is obviously easier to do with some course units as opposed to others. I'm also sure there's some of you out there rolling your eyes saying this is not a rich assessment, it's just artificial scaffolding, and why am I wasting your time. Let me then point you at my prior blog entry, Choose Your Own Exam, which has a rather interesting way of formatting the whole thing. Helpful?
|I SHOULD QUIT BEFORE I'M BEHIND, MAYBE.|
So, these are the things I have to contribute to the world at large, at least in terms of my own serials. At the time of first writing this (Saturday afternoon), based on prior experience, I estimate a 95% chance that there will be no reader reaction, and hence, next to no change in any aspect of what I'm currently doing - both in teaching and "Taylor's Polynomials". At the time I am posting this (Wednesday evening), I'm thinking that quality trumps any random percent, but also had a day which put me in a very cynical mood, so whatever. My projections are likely more realism than cynicism anyway.
But maybe you'll have better luck writing your own serial! So I'll talk about how you might do that in the last part of this set. Back in another two days.