Well, it's been a hairy academic year, but pretty good in its way. I just finished teaching a very condensed version of Several Variable Calculus and one of the big things I did by way of preparation was to get some students to spend part of their Christmas vacations surfing for appropriate software tools. A couple were really good, e.g. one gave the students some perspective on a basic topic, the gradient, some folks find thorny.
For the time being the info. resides on a wiki, but I have the start for a new MathTools Course, which we'll get up as soon as we find programmers with time and/or money to do so. To me software seems pretty crucial for helping students visualize functions in space so the world could use this.
The Swarthmore Math Dept just moved into new digs and our hallway contains one of these glass display cases for mathematical tchotchkas (or is that chachkes?). This got me thinking about putting a flat screen computer in the case and have it run lovely mathematics pictures. One thing led to another and I found wide support from stars like Bob Devany, Tom Banchoff, and Jeff Weeks.
This lead to more dreams about having a Math Image web site that you could use to show pretty images, like a screen saver, and if stopped would show you a page devoted to what you were looking at and information about the math, with an Ask Dr. Math Image component. All we need is money which I'm trying to find time to apply for. I do have some students mining the Internet for lovely math images. I'll let you know when we have something you can show in your school hallway as well!
Looking forward to our virtual encounters next week,