Written versions of the Calculus series
Plus other interactive accompaniments to past lessons
Recently, thanks to the contributions of Kurt Bruns, we now have blog versions of all the videos from the Calculus series. I’m curious to hear your thoughts, especially from those of you who are teachers, on whether these sorts of written versions of lessons are useful.
Will these written conversions have a similar reach to the YouTube versions? Probably not, but there are a few reasons I think they’re worth having:
I often prefer to read about mathematical topics than to watch videos. This is especially true if I’m looking back at something I’ve once learned before, where I may want to easily skim ahead and search for things. For anyone else who feels similarly, it can’t hurt to have these as a supplemental resource.
It’s nice to intersperse lessons with little comprehension quizzes in a way that you can’t do on a YouTube video. Plus, for any future settings where it makes sense to pair videos with comprehension questions, say if YouTube introduces this into their course feature, it can’t hurt to have the questions already made.
I’ve had nebulous thoughts about one day expanding the calculus and linear algebra series and printing them as books. Such a future is made slightly easier by having the existing content already in written form, with cleaned-up static imagery.
Lots of other videos have written versions too, like the Neural Network series, and the full Linear Algebra series should be done soon too.
Occasionally these bloggified versions have interactivity built into the site. Some videos have interactive accompaniment without yet having the bloggified version, like the ones on Newton’s Fractal and the Mandelbrot Set.
In truth, though, I think interactivity in websites sometimes is more rewarding for the developer than it is for the reader. My guess is that the more valuable addition in the written versions, though less flashy, is the insertion of comprehension questions.
Back when the bulk of these were made by a set of interns in 2021, the interactives I found most compelling were those used in conjunction with a comprehension question. The drawing-to-surface app in about a third of the way down this article gives a good example.
On the topic of quizzes, a start-up named Retainit reached out asking about creating associated quizzes for 3b1b videos in their app. Here’s the sample they provided for a relatively short video, on comprehending what running a computation 2^256 times would entail.
What are your opinions on this kind of supplement? Would you use it?