Math doesn’t equal Calculating

25 Sep

Today I had a moment to check out one of the videos mentioned in the #edchat daily. I enjoy the TED TALKS immensely and this video was no different. With my new position facilitating and supporting the math curriculum in our school division, this video really caught my attention.

Conrad Wolfram discusses how to teach students real math with computers. He does a great job of giving context of math in education and math in society. Why should students study Math, he asks and answers by stating that math is necessary for:

–          Technical jobs

–          Everyday living

–          Logical mind training.

Conrad also looks at what math really is and according to him, first teachers need to pose the right questions, second these need to be real world examples, then comes the computation phase and finally students take their formulation and verify them with the real world example to see if the ‘answer’ makes sense. The first, second and fourth phases the students can handle the work, whereas the third should involve the use of computers.

Even though Conrad speaks about using computers in math work, he does, thank goodness, still mention that mental math continues to be an important skill to build upon in education. I also like how he dispels some of the questions about “what about math basics?” and “don’t computers dumb down math?”

I also appreciate that Conrad wants to see math and a more practical and conceptual subject matter. Math should be playful, interactive and emotional. Computers, when utilized effectively, can assist in this manner.

Take 17 minutes to watch this TED TALK, read a few comments and maybe add a couple of your own. What do you think of your province’s/states current state of the Math curriculum. Is it playful, interactive and emotional? How do we support teachers in making Math interesting, relevant and rigorous?

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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in Uncategorized


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