On Fri, Jan 1, 2010 at 9:41 PM, Michael Paul Goldenberg <email@example.com> wrote: > Hmm. Underestimating the ability of American students to learn binary and > base 16 math as part of getting a sound grasp of base 10 math is just like > you, I'm afraid. Your belief that YOU know what is and must and should be > "standard fare" for all is simply hubris of the worst kind.
<< SNIP >>
Hey Michael, here's a blog post you might enjoy, as it's about an obviously enthusiastic and effective math teacher using Saxon, but finding students are bored with all the repetition:
He supplements by sharing math puzzles and challenges over the web, and finds this galvanizes his students to new levels, counters their boredom.
Anna Roys was just expressing frustration with repetitiveness as well - -- not with reference to Saxon in particular, but with reference to math pedagogy in general.
Let's remember the one-room-schoolhouse origins of some of our pedagogy: an agrarian context with a need to work in the fields in the summer, so no time for school work for months at a time!
That long summer break was a chance to forget a lot of what one learned in the previous year, and grade school math textbooks have had to accommodate this rhythm, which still exists (year-round calendars, with the same total number of school days, are a rarity -- LEP High, one of our newer public school charters, uses such a calendar).
There was no Internet back then and, left to their own devices, students had fewer ways to keep their skills polished. Library books and summer reading programs helped the more studious keep in shape, but when peer pressure slacks off, only the most self-directed will dive into isolated studies.
Plus there's that tractor to drive, those chickens to feed (not knocking the lifestyle).
Fast forward to 2010 and we have a rather different set of circumstances.
Take hexadecimals for example: You'll find a large selection of direct instruction videos on Youtube, many of them quite clear, some of them student produced.
Here's a slow-paced example accessible to a younger audience:
Plus you have plenty of adults in teaching mode doing a fine job of imparting the information (just go to Youtube and search on "hexadecimal" -- or any math topic that interests you, see what you get).
Given the nature of archived video clips, students can watch as many times (or as few) as they need, go back and replay unclear parts, even communicate with the author (asynchronously) if so desiring.
Putting this all together: you have creative teachers seeking to add life to mathematics, bring it into a contemporary context.
A lot of them turn to the Web. This is where Maria's Math 2.0 and Naturalmath blogs would fit, providing guidance for teachers wishing to explore in this direction.
I'd say this is the biggest "growth area" in math teaching today, and has little to do with mass-published textbooks.
Haim is always challenging us with his proposition that there are no new pedagogical issues to consider, as the Socratic Method is all we need and all we ever will need.
The fact remains that some curricula encourage students to explore Youtube for direct instruction and encourage them to upload new content for grading, for credit (the school has the facilities even if the home does not).
In some classrooms, students project their own work for criticism and feedback.
Other curricula make no assumptions about the Internet, assume it might as well not exist.
Given this cultural shift, I'm thinking any "Saxon versus EM" battle royal is going to come off as "Dino versus Dino", will be of somewhat ho hum appeal. On the other hand, likely both companies are likely moving to on-line versions of their curricula behind the scenes. Perhaps some on this list are technical reviewers for those offerings? I'd be interested in the Saxon vs. EM Youtubes.