Monday, June 08, 2009

Day One, Part Deux

It's been a good day, all in all. First days are always a bit awkward, simply because (a) no one really knows everyone else yet, (b) no one's really got a full sense of what's about to go on, (c) everyone's testing each other out and figuring out what to expect from each other, and (d) there's a lot of tangentially-related bureaucratic crap to cut through before you can get to the fun stuff.

The period from 9:00 to 11:30 this morning was spent almost entirely in filling out forms, getting pictures taken, coding in identification numbers, and so forth. The upshot is that the kids now fully exist, according to most of the file systems on campus. Their existence so verified and redundicated (I know that's not a word, but I felt like using it this point my brain is more or less tapioca, so I hope you'll cut me some slack), we were finally free to start working on some math.

We got through a couple of pages of set theory and notation (in about half an hour) and two pages of graph theory (in another hour) before it was time for lunch, after which we returned to discuss some high-level open problems in fractal geometry (yet another hour) and some more graph theory (the last hour of the day).

So far? They're a bit shy about presenting in front of one another...but who isn't at first? It's definitely too early to tell how well they'll come together as a team, but as friendly as they all are (I've had lovely conversations with them all as individuals) I can't imagine they won't coalesce into a terrific theorem-proving team.

From the "Oh, and" Department: today was also the first day of my Learning Circle for the summer, on the book Grown up digital: how the Net Generation is changing your world (McGraw Hill: New York, 2009), by Don Tapscott. I'm yet to be impressed with the book (so far, though it makes some insightful and worthwhile claims, it's a rather uncritical gathering of anecdotes, only marginally relevant data, and personal observations), I very much enjoyed the conversation I shared with my colleagues in the Circle, and I had several thoughts I might blog about later...especially regarding the construction of collaborative syllabi and other course documents. I'm looking forward to next week's discussion on the text.

So much to learn, so much to live for!

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