Archive for May 8th, 2010

A little experiment IV

May 8, 2010

I have another experiment that may not add all that much to the previous one, but I’m posting it anyway because I don’t want to waste the (admittedly not huge) effort it has just taken me to follow Jason Dyer’s suggestion and create a presentation using Prezi. If you follow this link, you will be taken to it. If you hover near the bottom of the box, a left arrow and a right arrow will appear, which will allow you to move right or left in an expression that, again, needs to be simplified. I’ve made it a bit easier than the last one, and you also get to see slightly more than one character at a time. There is also a button that allows you to shrink the entire expression so that it fits into the box: obviously if you use that then it counts as giving up on the experiment, but it may be interesting to do the simplification in your head according to the strict rules first and then see what happens to the information in your head when you then click the pan-out button.

Incidentally, I’m not sure that Prezi supports mathematical symbols, so I’ll save you some potential irritation by pointing out in advance that every x is an x rather than a “times”. (There’s one that looks a bit like a “times” because of the unusual spacing.)

I haven’t bothered with a poll this time. If anyone has anything interesting to report, then by all means let me know. Otherwise, think of it as a weird form of entertainment.

If you haven’t done the previous experiment (or even if you have but just want to see the same idea in a different format), you might like to look at the following two pdf files, kindly sent to me by Olivier Gerard, both of which present one chunk per page. In the first file the definition of “chunk” is the same as it was for me, so e^x would have e on one page, ^ on the next and x on the next. In the second, exponents are attached to the previous symbol, so x^2 would be on a single page, and (x+1)^2 would be on five pages of which the fifth would be )^2.

Fully separated version

Version with exponents not separated


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