untitled note

Nicholas Chen tuesday, november 30, 2021
Some scrawlings on a project I have an ideas for, but haven't put any code down for.
In teaching a subject, you can go "bottom up" or "top down." For example, in Mathematics, we learn simple arithmetic operations like addition and subtraction before we learn the formal algebraic definitions of these operations - this is "top down" learning, where you learn the high level overview of something before delving into the details of how it works. Economics, physics, chemistry, and biology are often taught in this manner as well.

There is a debate over whether Computer Science should be taught "bottom up" or "top down." More specifically, it's debated whether or not students should learn the low-level "fundamentals" and start with a low level language like C, or begin with a higher level language like Python first.

In my opinion the most important factor is student interest. If hardware and performance appeal to somebody, they should begin with C, otherwise they should consider Python.
meta-acropolis code
In MAT115A (UC Davis' number theory course), the primary resources given to students were lectures and pdfs of the lectures notes, which are just the notes that the professor writes out in real time during lecture. These were well produced, and pretty informative, but suffered from a number of drawbacks:

1. As digitally scanned handwritten documents, it is not possible to search them.
2. Mathematics is often about connections between concepts. More features designed to allow spotting these connections would be helpful.
3. However well produced a set of notes might be, some concepts will just not click for certain students. In these cases, it is good to have alternate resources available.

To address all of these problems, it could be instructive to have a "learning map" of concepts. Each node represents a particular concept, connections between nodes represent connections between concepts. On each node, there would be a list of resources addressing the concept, including the professor's notes and other 3rd party online resources. All nodes would be searchable. Together, these would address the three concerns listed.

This could be an excellent subject to demonstrate
meta-acropolis' capabilities! MAT115A is a pretty easy course, and I feel like I have an OK understanding of the concepts involved. Producing a learning map for this course would not be difficult, and would be a good proof of concept of what I want to build with meta acropolis.
Some more thoughts on how tools for thought could help learn teach a subject like number theory. The same way tags in exegesis allow a preview when you hover over them, hovering over certain words should give a refresher of their definition. For example, hovering over the word 'coprime' should give a refresher of what that term means.
meta-acropolis I wonder if such a system could be constructed in exegesis, or rhizome. The one big challenge would be getting LaTEX typesetting to work somehow.

It could be a better idea to build it standalone first. Especially since it's only a proof of concept, it could be better to build it standalone, and worry about integrating it into
rhizome later.
A possible alternative name for meta-acropolis: Grok - after the sci fi term that means to understand something intuitively (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grok)
I am no great thinker, but I hope to build a tool that will someday empower one. As philosophers consider themselves the "handmaidens of science", makers of tools for thought should consider themselves the servants of future great minds.

personal-reflection philosophy