Making Simulations in Fathom: another scaffold, technical challenges

I’ve posted recently about “flipping the classroom,” the idea of putting the exposition—the lecturing—in little digestible vodcasts to be watched at home, (ideally) leaving more time for discussion, one-on-one work, etc., and (ideally) preventing me from nattering on and boring my students.

In that effort I made a series of vids about probability. Now we’re making simulations in Fathom, exploring empirical probability, and beginning on the road to inference. (We’re avoiding the orthodox terminology for now: don’t tell the students, but they’re simulating the conditions of the null hypothesis in order to compare the test statistics to the sampling distributions they create in the simulations. See the post about randomization.)

It’s going OK, but once you use randomness and make measures, you’re no longer in beginning Fathom. It’s conceptually harder as a whole, and the mechanics of the software inevitably ramp up in difficulty as well. So I’ve made a video that’s all about the mechanics of doing this in Fathom with one and two collections. (The three-collection case is coming…)

You wanna see it? Here it is:

Anyway, in that effort, I thought that the easy-peasy way to make the videos—using Keynote—was not sufficient. So I used Camtasia Studio, which was really fun and worked fine.

I’m looking into ScreenFlow for capture as well, and Vimeo for distribution.

Note: I had trouble for a while with getting the resolution right in YouTube. Coulda sworn that one of the Camtasia presets for YouTube was 480 x 640, but it’s 380 x 640. Text came out looking crummy, like this:

YouTube example
Example from YouTube uploaded at 480 x 640. Note the crummy text.

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Tim Erickson

Math-science ed freelancer and sometime math teacher. In 2014–15, at Mills College in Oakland, California.

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