Re: DIFAX as a teaching tool


Anthony Rockwood <rockwooa@xxxxxxxx> wrote:

Don's ranting (see below) supports my comments from last week when I suggested that we teachers need to find new ways to teach and students need to find new ways to learn. Teachers should be exploring ways to create exercises that will allow students to explore what generated the vorticity to begin with, what factors change it, what it all has to do with creating weather, and this can be done with apps like GEMPAK/GARP and maybe even more effectively with NMAP that's part of the new release. Or how about a nice vorticity MetApp ?

Write up a use case.
It was always very hard to get these concepts across with DIFAX maps, even 
though students got pretty good at shading areas of PVA and NVA.

It worked fine in the 70's and 80's, but now we're (almost) in a new millenium. 

I still like the idea of having the surface analysis, the U/A maps and a model 
or two hanging on the wall for students when they come into the lab, want a 
quick look at the patterns, and pretend they can predict the weather from a 30 
second look at the maps :-)  And there are still students who aren't as skilled 
at the computer as others.

I agree.

So for a quick look at the current weather, DIFAX (or some kind of hardcopy) is 
fine, but as a teaching tool, it's old technology and our students deserve 

I think hardcopy can be fine as a teaching tool.  What I object to is using the 
DIFAX-centric view of the world.  For example, having printouts of the MRF 
ensemble forecasts is great for a map wall and students (and faculty) can get a 
quick view of the output without having to crank up a session and figure out 
how to create the products themselves.  Sometimes in a classroom setting, it 
might be easier to use a wall of maps when computer resources and time are 
limited.  I just think we need to be more creative in what we print out and how 
we use those pieces of paper.

As far as MetApps, the GriddedData viewer can now display isosurfaces of 
temperature to illustrate phenomena like overrunning.  To me, using an 
animation of the 0 C isosurface would be a much better forecasting tool than a 
wall of 1000, 850, 700 and 500 mb maps for determining rain/snow distribution 
in a questionable situation.  That's a lot better than what you can do with 
DIFAX maps.  Or, using GEMPAK or McIDAS, I could calculate various rain/snow 
parameters and produce maps of those for display.

I guess we need a pedagogy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx list now to discuss this issue. ;-)