Today has been a whirlwind of ideas and new technologies. I’ve learned a great deal and have a great deal to post (coming soon, I promise). Let me just post a quick note to say that I have been to 7 – 8 professional conferences and at every one up until today, I was an outsider. I would present a talk and quickly the audience and I would realize that we spoke a different language. I’ve attended High Performance Computing conferences, Engineering conferences, Computer Aided Geometric Design, even a Cotton conference. Plus, I’ve only actually attended one mathematics conference and that one was while I was still a graduate student. Even there, I was out of league when it came to grasping the majority of the presented material.
But, today has been completely different. I’m on the same page as most of the presenters here. I know the technologies they are talking about. I’ve used a majority of the software tools they’ve mentioned. I’ve given a lot of thought to the pedagogical issues they face with implementing technology. I am able to ask relevant questions and have deep , meaningful conversations with the presenters after their talks. Every talk I’ve listened to has sparked new ideas and interests. I was expecting to gather a lot of interesting information, but I didn’t know that I would be surrounded by so many like minding people. Of course, I don’t agree with everyone’s conclusions. There are many different ideas about how to take what is available and provide the best education for our students, but we are like minded in that we desire to provide tools that enhance our programs and we want to provide demonstrable improvements in undergraduate mathematics education.
On a side note, here is a nice view from the conference hotel.
I’ll post the view from my hotel window later tonight. You’ll notice quite a difference. Recall that I am staying offsite to save money.