Monday, March 28, 2011

100,000 Points

I passed 100,000 points today while working through GCF. I still haven't watched a single video yet. Actually, I watched a few on calculus when I first discovered Khan, but since I began this venture I haven't had to move to a video yet. Division 4 might change that. I know how to divide, but I remember people talking about long division and short division, and I never learned the short method. I thought it was some sort of shortcut to doing long division, and long division is long, so any shortcuts are welcome.

Here is my 100,000 point badge.

They really did work out a great system for hooking into your competitive side, and that other side that people exhibit when playing WOW and collecting tons of imaginary items. I know these points aren't worth a dam thing, but to me they are symbolic of time well spent. I want to complete the Khan Academy so that when I mention it to people I can tag on that I've completed all the lessons.

I also badly want to know more about developing a site like this. I think the market is ripe in Korea for something to do with learning English.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Multiplying Decimals

Is there some trick I never learned to multiplying decimals? I have slowed significantly on this exercise, but not for any other reason than that there are many steps to one problem.

This guy Khan is really going to change the world. I have been trying to consider how you would apply this video/exercise system to the English classroom. For test prep you could start with certain kinds of questions and run through words, definitions, and then examples and practice questions. But I don't think it will be as easy to generate these randomly as it is for the math problems. Than again, perhaps the math problems are not random. Well, that detail doesn't matter right now.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Night time Khan Workout

It's 9:30 on a Thursday and I just finished a grueling day-long battle with "Multiplication 4." I feel rewarded because that particular node is at a point in the tree where, form here, things begin to spread. There are 3 other nodes at the end of this self-dubbed "beginner's realm." I am sure a 4th grader could have sped through to here in about 1 hour.

I was going along at about the same pace, with a bit of a stumble adding decimals (I claim because the numbers a aligned funny), but "Multiplication 4" threw me for a loop. I kept missing questions and had to restart my 10 problem streak. I made a number of mistakes, and I discovered a number of tricks, but a few of them were noteworthy.

First, when I was using the mouse to draw numbers I was much slower at thinking and drawing. I am not accustomed to using a mouse, and when I write I use my left hand, so I think these two factors played a role in slowing me down.

Second, when I finally got home from school and figured I should get serious and get past this exercise, I pulled out a small pad and started doing each problem, twice, on paper in front of the lap top. To my dismay I answered the first question wrong. The second question seem to take me about 10 minutes.

I think there is something to be said about warming up. Earlier in the day I was slow, but I never missed 2 questions in a row. I think using the paper was a benefit, but I think taking the evening off and then returning to the problems slowed me down and I didn't have the benefit of some easy warm ups (by which I mean the earliest "Addition" and "Subtraction" nodes I completed prior to reaching "Multiplication 4").

I came up with 2 ideas for this experiment. One is to return daily to "Addition 1" and complete 10-20 problems. I will have to do them carefully, because I want to get a streak in the thousands. I feel like this will gather some sort of attention somewhere in the Khan offices, but maybe not.

Second, I want to return to "Multiplication 4" sometime in the future for a similar sort of workout. This time, though, I want to warm up with some easy addition problems and see how I do. Obviously when returning I will have the benefit of having my daily practice to warm me up, but still, I would like to consider how the warm up affects my performance.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blogs are dumb

Have you heard of the Khan Academy? I'm not here to tell you about it, you can read about it yourself:

or watch a video:

I liked this idead so much that I decided I am going to work through the entire Khan Academy. They have a nice map of the layout of the math program.

I ran into some early trouble when it came to adding decimals, but this was just a sign of rustiness. I overcame it quickly and continued to move down the chart.

My real trouble came when I hit Multiplication 4. I'm not bad at multiplication, but I'm used to doing it with a paper and a pencil. The program does provide you with a very nice scratch pad which seamlessly lets you scribble over the problem on the page. The issue for me was using the mouse to try and draw numbers on the screen. It slowed me down and let to many pointless mistakes. While trying to curl around a 2 or etch out a 7 my thoughts skipped and I missed an easy step in the multiplcation, resulting in losing the streak and having to start my mandatory 10 problems over.

My plan is to try and finish the entire map. I am projecting 3 weeks.