Here is a video I created this morning introducing my Reform Symposium presentation on Interactivity and Multimedia in Math.
I’ll be presenting at the free online conference on July 29th, at 9:30am PST. See the complete schedule here.
There is a new meme out there, suggested by @r_w_wright. "If we taught _____ like we teach math, kids would _____."
Here are some examples people have posted so far.
If we taught construction like we teach math, kids would bang nails into boards but never actually build anything. ~ @davidwees
I’ve frequently said similar about statistics: "We show kids the screwdriver, but never show them a screw." ~ @heyprofbow
If we taught driver’s ed like we teach math, students would feel no shame in announcing "I can’t drive" ~ @datadiva
…and as we integrate technology, let’s be sure kids aren’t just banging virtual nails into virtual boards ~ @ChrisHunter36
If we taught English the way we teach Math, students would be able to punctuate a sentence but have no appreciation of literature. ~ @ChrisHunter36
What if we taught math like Umbridge teaches defense against the dark arts? Oh wait, we do. ~ @rjallain
If we taught mathematics the way we taught music, everyone over 11 would have 1:1 tuition outside school… oh wait… ~ @ColinTGraham
If we taught teaching the way we teach math, then most teachers would only teach the way they were taught…oh wait… ~ @mathhombre
If we taught science the way we teach math, then people would think it’s only for the smart kids…oh wait… ~ @mathhombre
If we taught music the way we teach math, then most people would not be able to play an instrument…oh wait… ~ @mathhombre..
If we taught videogames… wait, we don’t teach videogames? Why do so many people play? ~ @mathhombre
Want to add your own examples? Add them either here as comments, blog about them, or post them to Twitter with the #ifwetaught hashtag.
What you teach should either have relevance in your students lives, either now or in their future, or it should be engaging. If neither of those is true, don’t teach it.
Personally, I think an exit exam for school (an exam a student needs to graduate from secondary school) is not necessarily the best way to determine if a student has been prepared by their school. That aside, some of sort of assessment of what a student has learned from their school, whatever form that would take, should satisfy an important criterion; that the student is somewhat prepared for the challenges that life will throw at them.
A typical high school exit exam is testing a student’s preparation for one component of life, specifically college academics. It seems obvious to me that this narrow definition of "preparation" doesn’t actually prepare students for the challenges of life. A student could quite easily pass the NY Regent’s exam in mathematics, any of the IB mathematics exams, their SAT, and any number of other standardized exams, and not know a lick about how to apply the mathematics they are learning in school to solving problems they will encounter in life.
While this shouldn’t be the only goal for mathematics education from K to 12, it seems to me to be a minimal goal, and one which at which we are failing quite dramaticly. Some evidence of this failure is seen by our mostly innumerate public who; lack basic literacy of graphs & statistics, are largely mathphobic, do not understand probability (casinos are good evidence for this), and generally only use relatively simplistic mathematics in their day to day life for problem solving.
There is nothing inherently wrong with teaching how to do a calculation for it’s own sake, or for sharing some of the beauty and power of mathematics, but it should be framed by the notion that our education of mathematics is intended for a greater purpose. If we only focus on the 4 years people spend in college, we do a disservice to the decades of life they have after college.