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Maughn Gregory

How to Fix Our Math Education - NYTimes.com - 63 views

  • the assumption that there is a single established body of mathematical skills that everyone needs to know to be prepared for 21st-century careers. This assumption is wrong. The truth is that different sets of math skills are useful for different careers, and our math education should be changed to reflect this fact.
  • Today, American high schools offer a sequence of algebra, geometry, more algebra, pre-calculus and calculus (or a “reform” version in which these topics are interwoven). This has been codified by the Common Core State Standards, recently adopted by more than 40 states. This highly abstract curriculum is simply not the best way to prepare a vast majority of high school students for life.
  • A math curriculum that focused on real-life problems would still expose students to the abstract tools of mathematics, especially the manipulation of unknown quantities. But there is a world of difference between teaching “pure” math, with no context, and teaching relevant problems that will lead students to appreciate how a mathematical formula models and clarifies real-world situations.
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  • For instance, how often do most adults encounter a situation in which they need to solve a quadratic equation? Do they need to know what constitutes a “group of transformations” or a “complex number”? Of course professional mathematicians, physicists and engineers need to know all this, but most citizens would be better served by studying how mortgages are priced, how computers are programmed and how the statistical results of a medical trial are to be understood.
  • Imagine replacing the sequence of algebra, geometry and calculus with a sequence of finance, data and basic engineering.
  • Traditionalists will object that the standard curriculum teaches valuable abstract reasoning, even if the specific skills acquired are not immediately useful in later life. A generation ago, traditionalists were also arguing that studying Latin, though it had no practical application, helped students develop unique linguistic skills. We believe that studying applied math, like learning living languages, provides both useable knowledge and abstract skills.
  • In math, what we need is “quantitative literacy,” the ability to make quantitative connections whenever life requires (as when we are confronted with conflicting medical test results but need to decide whether to undergo a further procedure) and “mathematical modeling,” the ability to move practically between everyday problems and mathematical formulations (as when we decide whether it is better to buy or lease a new car).
Hope May

Pepsi Refresh Project: Great educational tool - 49 views

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    Hello group. I made it a requirement for my "Moral Problems" class (Philosophy 118 at Central Michigan University) to submit a proposal to Pepsi Refresh. Learned that it was very hard to get in, but with diligence, two projects out of 90 got in. One of my students is ranked 7th. We are asking for your vote and in doing so, you will be learning about how to use this as an educational resource. See http://ethics.cmich.edu to access more info.
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    Hope, that is awesome! What a great idea and success!
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