Polanco, Animoto and Geogebra

BASEBALL

Placido Polanco has an OPS of around 729 and is worth about three wins above replacement primarily because of his defense.  If the Tigers are really playing for 2011 when a number of contracts (Willis, Robertson, Ordonez) come off the books it might be better not to offer Polanco arbitration.  This would allow Scott Sizemore- the top minor league second baseman in the system- to get a year of experience.  This would likely only cost the Tigers a win, or two in a year when they look to only be around a 0.500 team anyway.

The only reason to offer arbitration would be if the Tigers were fairly sure Polanco would decline so that Detroit could get draft picks next year as compensation for Polanco signing elsewhere.  Given that GM Dombrowski did not offer arbitration to Renteria last year I would guess he will not offer arbitration to Polanco this year.

NOT BASEBALL

Better by Atul Gawande explains ways in which doctors have improved the medical system.  It’s message can apply to other systems as well.  I hope to apply his ideas to education.  One of his suggestions is to write what you have learned.  Hence, I write this.

This semester I have experimented with a number of new (to me) software products to add offline content to my class and to add some flashier examples to class.  My hope is these might have more interest and if a topic is best understood visually that they will increase student comprehension.

Animoto creates musical slide presentations that are very visually appealing.  Upload pictures-like Power Point slides- and choose a song and Animoto will make a musical presentation.  Animoto’s greatest strength is that it is simple.  Pick the song- pick the pictures and let it work.  For many applications this is a huge weakness, however, because a slide does not appear as long as I would like.  Here are two presentations that I thought actually worked:

http://animoto.com/play/usuLl1AT8HzizRAW3jS4Qg (Simple Polar Graphs)

Screenshot from Animoto

Each took around 45 minutes to make for me.  I am proficient in Power Point and the graphing and image editing software I used, while a novice at animoto.

Animoto (animoto.com) offers free accounts to educators. I have a paid account because I have been using Animoto to make personal photo collages, too.

I also learned about Geogebra.  If you have used Geometers Sketchpad you will know what this product does.  You can create a wide variety of interactive geometric images in a Java applet.  I downloaded the program rather than working online.  It was amazingly easy to create web pages however.  Just save as a webpage and upload the files created.  Almost all my work on the two demonstration projects below was spent on creativity- not on learning the software, or how to publish!

http://adm.hfcc.edu/~jmorford/ssa_2solutions2.html (SSA two-solution case)

http://adm.hfcc.edu/~jmorford/ssa_0solutions.html (SSA- no-solution case)

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