Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nerdy News...

couple more education tidbits today….

1) a "triumph of the Nerds" piece on Nate Silver (possibly you've heard the name somewhere lately) and the possible influence that his ascendency could have for improving math education:

…a quick couple of lines therefrom:
"Math is taught as computation rather than a means of exploration and discovery. Instead of engaging in meaningful problems and learning in depth rather than breadth, kids are assigned frivolous, repetitive problems. And finally, the way math is generally taught has no relevance to real life."

"Sol Garfunkel and David Mumford in a New York Times Op-Ed summed it up nicely: 'Imagine replacing the sequence of algebra, geometry and calculus with a sequence of finance, data and basic engineering'."
2) I won't spend too much time focusing on the newly-opened Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) in NY city (since it is of somewhat local/regional interest, and there are a jillion articles available on it -- see HERE), but this NY Times article (which includes criticisms) is too good not to pass along:

…and again, a quickie excerpt:
"For those of us who have been intoxicated by the powers and possibilities of mathematics, the mystery isn’t why that fascination developed but why it isn’t universal. How can students not be entranced? So profound are the effects of math for those who have felt them, that you never really become a former mathematician (or ex-mathematics student) but one who has 'lapsed,' as if it were an apostasy….
"The goal, each principal emphasized in conversations this week, was to show that math was fun, engaging, exciting. MoMath is a proselytizing museum. And despite its flaws, it is exhilarating to see math so exuberantly celebrated. And while fourth through eighth are said to be the intended grade levels, it is hard to imagine a younger child or mature adult not drawn in by some exhibits here. In many ways the sensations of the displays are more compelling than the explanations of their content. "
(p.s... one other thing I learned from the article, that I was unaware of, is that there is a Museum of Sex (or MoSex) nearby to MoMath!! -- insert your own joke here ______________).

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