Last night I dreamed of Newton’s Method.
I can’t explain why, or even what it means to dream of Newton’s Method, but dream of it I did.
On Tuesday in class, Newton’s Method was brought up and I just blanked. I didn’t get what purpose it served nor why we were learning it. There was no context. Jotting down what is written on the board doesn’t mean you really know something, so I left the class not really groking what Newton’s Method was. It wasn’t the fault of the TA, for whatever reason, I didn’t get it after that lecture.
Well, in college 1.0 if you didn’t know something, you could ask the prof, and if you didn’t understand it then, you were SOL. This time, I turned first to Google. It turns out if you search for Newton’s Method, you will find dozens of sites explaining what it is, java apps that crunch numbers for you, java apps of graphs to visually represent what is going on, and even a nifty little flash animation.
It took no time at all to understand it. Its not hard at all. It can in fact, be a very handy thing. The web is a wonderful thing, and that little demonstration in understanding a subject wouldn’t have been possible back in 1990. I’m a firm believer that anyone can understand anything if its presented in small enough chunks and in the right way. The trick of course it figure out that right way. With the web, the odds of finding someone who explains it in the right way goes up significantly.
So I finished my google adventure, went to bed, and dreamed of moving tangent lines.