kitchen table math, the sequel: what's wrong with this picture?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

what's wrong with this picture?

Education Is the Key to a Healthy Economy By GEORGE P. SHULTZ AND ERIC A. HANUSHEK


Lsquared said...

Oh--it's a great picture. By getting everyone excited about digital textbooks, we can get a lot of school districts to buy iPads and Kindles, and, and that will give a boost to the part of the economy that produces iPads and Kindles. Problem solved!

MagisterGreen said...

"that will give a boost to the part of the economy that produces iPads and Kindles."

You mean China?

Lsquared said...

Well, yes, there is that little detail (though I am under the impression that the people who make the most profit from the iPads and Kindles are not in China).

Anonymous said...

It promotes the visual over the cognitive. Leaving that unique aspect of humanity undernourished to the point of atrophy.

Student of History

Jim H said...

I read a lot of the Dan Meyer blog, and he swears up and down that books are inadequate media to teach math.

I've tried to see his point of view, but I just can't.

I think of the mental dexterity that my students are developing by being able to take an angle measurement in radians, say 3 pi/4, visualize it in their head (or on paper), realize that it will have a Cosine ratio of -1 / root 2, and then be able to convert that fraction to proper form.

All in their heads! What power that is.

Will technology enhance that ability or hinder it?

I don't know.

MagisterGreen said...

I recommend the Asimov short story "The Feeling of Power" (not a pdf) to my students (and anyone else) when they either start waxing a little too poetic about calculators or when they wonder why I am such a fuddy-duddy about using calculators for simple arithmetical procedures.

Jim H said...

MG...look forward to reading this...thank you!

SteveH said...

It's amazing that Dan Meyer gets so much traction when most all of the kids heading off to STEM careers in college take math classes that use textbooks, large homework problem sets, and mostly direct instruction. My son does a lot of discovery all by himself at home alone with his homework.

In my son's precalc class, they were given any of the common (30,45,60,90) angles of a circle in degrees or radians and they had to determine what any of the trig functions were (in radical form) without a calculator. They were tested on this.

One might reasonably argue that this level isn't necessary, but the goal is to become a skilled expert, not just someone who appreciates math. A well-known math educator told me once that he could referee soccer, but could not play it. He thought that analogy was OK for math education. Unfortunately, he thought this trade-off (door closing) was fine for K-6 math. Many K-8 educators like to unlink mastery with understanding. They do this at an astoundingly low skill level.

Ultimately, it's not the technology that is the problem, but the low expectations. What is happening in education is that technology is being used to hide the lower expectations. Calculators should allow students to tackle more complex problems. In reality, they are used as avoidance devices.

Catherine Johnson said...

books are inadequate media to teach math



That is amazing.

I've taught myself a lot of math from books.

More from books, in fact, than from web sites. Much more.

Catherine Johnson said...

I also find the expression on the teacher's face very strange. Not friendly at all.

There's not a child in that picture a) reading (it appears) or b) being taught by a teacher.

Anonymous said...

But that's 21st century learning!

Student of History

lgm said...

Our district used to have computer time as an option for elementary students who were 'done early'. They had a bit of trouble when a batch of kids taught themselves the next grade level's math via the edugames, so they decided to restrict access.

We need a school system that places children by instructional need, not age.

GoogleMaster said...

@lgm, wait, what??? Kids taught themselves the math, and that was a problem because why?

I guess the educrats must think, "Shame on those darned kids. They should have been playing Halo or something."

Catherine Johnson said...

oh my gosh --- lgm has got me beat

i swear

her stories are beyond the pale

that said, I know I've heard stories of this happening elsewhere....(of schools taking steps to prevent students getting too far ahead of other students)

Barry Garelick said...

I guess they didn't look at it as differentiated instruction. That occurs only when they say it does.

lgm said...

Differentiation in elementary was cappped at grade level when nclb came in. Enrichment was eliminated then. Library access was severely restricted by cutting the library staff. Doesn't affect anyone but the poor; everyone else will use outside resources.

I thought the scenario was amusing...the usual story of an advanced child is to be refused instruction at his instructional level and be directed to 'help' others...that kid did well keeping his friends occupied while the teachers 'helped' the fully included. He'll go far in life.

Does it strike anyone else that it's odd to call instruction 'help'? Even in high school, it's afterschool 'help', when it should be 'the instruction I failed to give in class that you need in order to understand the material'.