Saturday, November 20, 2010

Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers

Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers | Video on

I think I just found my new stealth campaign: I love Wolfram's suggestion to just sidestep the current curriculum - build a new subject - don't even call it mathematics. Sure would save the energy fighting people who insist on doing it the "Ancient Greek" way.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chatting in the back of the room

As a teacher, or a presenter at a conference - just how annoying is it when people are chatting in the back of the room? Now imagine if they communicated completely silently - but still were doing this throughout the whole lesson, or the whole presentation. They're not bothering anyone - does it matter?  I'm beginning to think it matters alot - and not because of politeness. I matters because the audience isn't actually listening.

For the first time ever (feeling very old!), I watched a live ustream presentation, with a chat window open at the same time. Encouraged by the presenter to also check out and interact through the live twitter feed - I opened another window to twitter. What I found though was that by doing this, I lost some of the content- and more importantly, I lost the focus and concentration I previously had for the presenter and his material.

I'm beginning to think the critics of Web 2.0 have a point : By multi-tasking communication we are discouraging focused concentration.   While the interactivity is wonderful, we risk talking so much, and being bombarded by so many inputs, that we lose out on quality listening. Sometimes that interactive feed, that mobile phone, needs to be turned off.

And thinking of too much noise, I'm noticing how some people on various online forums are posting constantly - all day long. I've caught myself doing that some days. They (we) dominate the forums - and when you seriously look at what they write - perhaps they could have really just made one succinct, information rich and quality post.  Just like twitter restricts people to 140 words per post ... perhaps we should restrict ourself to ... one (?) quality online post per day, with just a few comments on other people. There's something to be said for the brevity of clicking "Like" and leaving it at that.

We think about conserving material resources .. has the time come to conserve thinking and attention resources?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Current Obsessions - November 2010

Technology for education, one-to-one laptops, edmodo, moodle
Mathematics: GeoGebra, CAS, Ability grouping, Primary/Secondary transition
Science: Space, Genetics, Climate change
Real Maths :  See Conrad Wolfram and Dan Meyer
Open Textbook, Creative Commons
The Research-Practice divide
Public education
Restorative Practice, The Circle of Courage

Hello World!

Some people wake up first thing in the morning just wanting to wake everyone else up and tell them how amazing the day is. This blog is dedicated to the other sort of person, who would like to shoot that person and go back to sleep for at least another hour. I confess I'm the first type - which means I send way too many emails to people about what's getting me excited at the current moment.  With a blog, I can keep my exuberance to myself and people can get me in smaller, more appropriate doses.

What you'll find in here: thoughts on teaching and learning; links to what gets me excited in science, maths, technology - among other things; and perhaps a bit of a diary about my experiences starting out as a high school teacher of mathematics.