Yearly Archives: 2011

Calculator vs Slide Rule vs Hand calculations

In an excellent post Michael Doyle says the following: Electronic calculators are abstract, abacuses are not. Slide rules fall in-between. Our sense of quantities has become abstract. Here is my comment back: It’s not so much that numbers are abstract to students, but our representations of those numbers (the numerals that make up 122) are abstract. […]

My favourite quote from the Computer Based Math summit

I just remembered this quote from a participant at the Computer Based Math summit, and it is one of my favourite from the day. "Math is not done on paper or by a computer. Math is done by the brain." I wish I knew the name of the gentleman who said it. I believe he […]

Actual engagement

  A Twitter user named "Distance Education" with the user name ‘onlinecourse’ has followed me 25 times. This suggests that they have also unfollowed me at least 24 times. This kind of behaviour I’ve heard called ‘follower-churn.’ I may have accidentally unfollowed someone, and then followed them back. I certainly haven’t been using this to […]

We’ve had email for 40 years – and people still don’t know how to use it

The topic of email has come up recently at my school, and while I appreciate that my staff knows how to use email fairly effectively, it is surprising to me that 40 years after its invention, many people still don’t know how to use email. People still occasionally hit reply all instead of reply.  People […]

How can we evaluate our use of educational technology?

At Edcamp Fraser Valley, I facilitated a conversation on the use of educational technology, focusing on the issue of evaluating its use. The framework I shared (created by Bates and Poole, see below) was the SECTIONS framework, which I have found to be a reasonably comprehensive approach to examining educational technology, depending on how you […]

#Pencilchat – 10,000 Tweets and counting

When my friend John posted some tweets using pencils as an allegory for educational technology, he didn’t expect the #pencilchat hashtag he used to go viral. He’s suggested some reasons why the topic went viral, and he’s probably right. The one addition to his list that occured to me is that the idea of critiquing […]

Experiments in assessment

Here a few experiments in assessment I’m considering for next year. Compare the results between an oral assessment (as in, find out what they can tell me they know verbally) and a traditional test. . Question: How much of a difference does the mode of assessment make?   Compare the results between a 10 minute […]

Mathematics in the real world: World Statistics

This is another post in my series on mathematics in the real world.     Thanks to a colleague of mine, I rediscovered the Google Public Data explorer. Within 10 minutes, I had constructed the above graph, which shows adolescent fertility rate for 15 to 19 year olds, versus life expectancy, measured against (look at […]

What is math?

This image is an attempt to capture the important stages of doing mathematics. As pointed by other people, mathematics is not a linear process, which I am attempting to share via this image. I see analytical reasoning, flashes of insight, and exploratory calculations as the glue that holds these stages of mathematical thinking together.   […]

Why math instruction is unnecessary

This TED talk by John Bennett raises an important question; why do we teach middle school and high school math?   I don’t know if using "puzzles" is a scalable solution for the problems in mathematics instruction in middle schools and high schools. It would probably work for many math teachers, but wouldn’t necessarily work […]