Monthly Archives: July 2013

What are effective learning experiences for educators?

A question which is always on the back of my mind every time I attend a conference, give a presentation, or work with my colleagues, is how much are we all learning? Just like there are less and more effective activities for learning for students, the same is true of teachers. Above is a diagram […]

Presentation on Powerful Learning in Math via Programming

These are my slides from my workshop at Twitter Math Camp on Powerful Ideas in Math via Programming.   I recommend opening up the speaker’s notes and trying out the challenges and activities given. You can use Blockly to experiment with different code, but my suspicion is that you will learn more from the experience […]

The medium is the mathematics

Mathematics is not medium neutral. What we call the mathematics that we can do with pencil and paper is different than what we can do with a computer and call mathematics, which is different again than the mathematics we can do with origami. The medium defines the mathematical space, in the same way that Marshall […]

What changed my teaching

Adam Holman asks a really important question: What have you found to be the catalyst that helped either change your mindset/practice or helped change a ‘traditional’ teacher into one that cultivates relationships and student choice? When I first started teaching, I talked too much. I really did. I spent too much time trying to clarify […]

Using Angry Birds as a Context for Quadratic functions

One of the teachers I work with used Angry Birds as a context for learning about quadratic functions. Whenever they wanted to introduce a new topic, they referred back to the context of Angry Birds so as to give students a representation of quadratics with which the students may be familiar. Let’s see what that […]

Six things about math education which do not work

There are six things (at least!) about mathematics education which do not work: pacing for coverage of curriculum rather than focusing on effective student learning, fear that if students take more than five seconds to solve a problem, they will give up, teachers spending more time talking than students get to spend thinking, teachers working […]

[Three Acts] Stopping Distance Makeover

Act One Show this video. Ask students what questions they have.    Act Two Give the students these photos. From these they should be able to figure out the distances travelled by the car, but you may wan to point out those handy reference points in the background (hint: the parking spots).   Act 3 […]


I have for some time now been subscribed to too many sources of information. As part of my transition to a new job, I have been culling various items in my feed. This is based largely on the fact that my role as an educational technologist is greatly diminished and I have less need to […]

The Faulty Logic of Disrupting Class

I am reading Disrupting class, by Clay Christensen, Michael Horn, and Curtis Johnson. In the introduction of Disrupting Class, Clay Christensen, et al., give six possible reasons for why the United States education system does not appear to be doing well when compared with other OECD countries: Schools are underfunded, There aren’t enough computers in the […]

Introducing vocabulary in a digital book

(Source: Complex Variables with Applications, Second Edition, A. David Wunsch)   I started transporting my professional books to my new office this week, five books at a time. One of the books I brought today was my old textbook from when I took Complex Analysis in university, about 20 years ago. I decided to skim […]