[ExI] math education

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu Dec 8 15:35:03 UTC 2016




I need to scamper, but I want to leave you with a thought for when we can discuss it in the near future.


Picture in your mind what you asked below.  Picture how you were taught math, successfully or otherwise.  Were there any computers in the picture?  Were there any choices in how to do the curriculum?  Were there an array of books from which to choose?  Or was there one young lady up front drawing on a chalkboard with about 25 to 30 kids out there, all from very different backgrounds and ability levels?


I suspect one teacher, many students, no choices of curriculum.  Work thru the book, ja?


OK now, my highly esteemed psychologist friend who understands things: what if a class of 30 children had 30 choices of how to learn math, and what if the students were to experiment and find what works best for them?  What if the curriculum was completely adaptive, and completely open-ended.  Oooohhh wouldn’t that be cool?  Wouldn’t that be a dream?


We are standing on the threshold of a dream.  Some students have crossed it already.  My son finished Khan Academy’s differential calculus course yesterday.  He and I were racing on the exercises.  He was winning about a third of the matches and his accuracy was comparable to mine.  He is not yet halfway through fifth grade.


Meanwhile, the standard curriculum is available to the students on their classroom computers (they each have one.)  My son hacked into the 12th grade standard curriculum for math, took several of the tests, got perfect scores on all of them and found them to be child’s play.  Ignoring for the moment that this would be perhaps appropriate considering that he is in the literal sense of the word a “child” the entire exercise tells us something important.


I don’t know what to do.  Open and welcome any and all suggestions or counsel.


More later, gotta scoot.







From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of William Flynn Wallace
Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2016 7:22 AM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: [ExI] math education


About which I know nothing.  But - I read awhile back that the New Math was a disaster.  That was long ago, but are they still teaching that?


Then I read that kids should not start with arithmetic, way too hard, but with algebra - or something along that line.


Now you may know math but little about math education, but I am asking anyway - just how should math be taught, and when?


When I went to college, psychology could not be taken by a freshman.  As a psychologist I can tell you that there are some parts of it that can be taught to kids in kindergarten - and should be.  Maybe math shares some of that thinking.


bill w

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