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Topic: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
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kirby urner

Posts: 1,724
Registered: 11/29/05
Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Posted: Sep 18, 2011 4:32 PM
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Here and on mathfuture (a Google group), I've been
laying track for a variously named Digital Math track,
starting with Heuristics for Teachers on WikiEducator.

Those with a long memory may recall my fascination
with Software Association of Oregon leader Chris Brooks'
agenda to phase Digital Math (DM) into the curriculum
proper, with credits, in competition with regularly
scheduled programming, i.e. "analog math" (AM),
i.e. pre-calc / calc for the most part.

Digital Math was a reconstituted Discrete Math in a
lot of ways, and tossed out not on a par with AM
originally, but for the non-college bound, and/or
as a more vocational subject for the 2nd tier students.

On the other hand, at our planning meeting on
August 7 of 2009, we envisioned a variety of student,
including future Geeks of America, many exchange
students, partaking of our fare, which includes
SQL, tcp / ip, a general exploration of Internet /
telecomm concepts, from point-to-point, to
broadcast, to today's many blends.

Cyberspace R Us, might be the poster.

A realization came to me along the way (around
September of last year) that a common mistake
among educators, stretching back to forced
incarceration of Native American children in Anglo
re-education camps (boarding schools), is to divide
the students from the parents, by not including the
latter in any of the curriculum based scripts. One
of our local leaders, Polo, gave a lecture on that
at the Pauling House (he's worked with the city).
The Warm Springs Museum (near Kaneetah) is
likewise eloquent on this topic.

Parents are expected to drive on field trips and help
with bake sales, but their participation, even on-line,
is quite strictly limited.

My focus shifted to find a way to improve outreach
not just to adult teachers, but adults in general, and
parents especially, with regard to what the Digital
Math track had to offer. This is about where I started
training with local community activists in a self organizing
sport called "feed hungry people with food otherwise
going into the waste stream, to compost, or to feed
other animals." This activist activity injects the
participant into a first person relationship to a city's
food systems and inspires, if properly nurtured, a
satellite view (a Spaceship Earth view) of global
networks and the challenges facing them.

Just backing up for a minute, some years ago I coined
the term "First Person Physics" as a way of approaching
the subject in a more first person manner, akin to the
first person (versus third) in computer games. My
writings on this topic caught the attention of one
Dr. Bob Fuller, University of Nebraska / Lincoln, who
realized it dovetailed with the new emphasis on health
sciences in the American physics teaching community.
My collaboration with AAPT had begun. This would
feed into my experience of working with SAO down
the road.

We have discussed here to what extent a community
activity, such as rewiring the food circuits, getting
more home economics back in the picture, might be
consistent with the goals of DM (digital mathematics).

Maps of cities crop up in Tufte and are an endless
fascination for those garnering statistics. Simulations such
as SimCity have already reached maturity in the form
of popular computer games. The kinds of feedback
networks we want to model have already been studied
extensively in an urban context, so when it comes to
grist for the mill in computer modeling, we have
already struck gold. The question is what more
abstract topics have we touched. Topology?
Linear programming? The traveling salesman
problem?

A core text for our syllabus has been 'Mathematics
for the Digital Age and Programming in Python', by
Litvin and Litvin, and used at Phillips / Andover.
Getting students to express their story problems
in terms of objects, with behaviors and attributes,
is a first step towards using an industrial strength
computer language as an aid to tackling DM topics.
Operator overloading comes to the foreground
much more quickly. My Oregon Curriculum Network
website goes into the nitty gritty, with my journals
chronicling the field testing that's been going on,
at Oregon Graduate Institute, Portland State,
Reed College and elsewhere.

My most recent move has been to connect the
adult home economics workshop (the bicycle-based
enterprise) with the Linus Pauling House, a local
headquarters and think tank I've written about often.
Getting some heady chemistry into the mix, such that
students become fluent not only in terms of calories
/ joules, but in terms of organic chemistry, protein
synthesis and such, begins to feed STEM in earnest
at this point. It's not all about velocity vectors and
the force diagrams associated with a fully loaded
bike trailer, packed with fresh organic produce from
a supply house (see board game). It's about what
happens to the food after you eat it, and the atomic
theory of valencies, bonding, electron orbitals and
all the rest of it.

Another focus, besides molecular studies (ala
x2 Nobel Prize winning Linus Pauling), is the GPS
device on the handle bars of the trailer-pulling
bicycle. Sensors enter the equations from many
angles at this point, but having like a Google Earth
view of one's bioregion, and one's place within it,
is a number one goal of Geography + Geometry
(another slice within STEM). The GPS device
takes us to satellite constellations and the geo-
graphy of nearby space. We might spend quite
a bit of time on the Apollo Project at this point, not
just out of nostalgia, but in order to perpetuate
some of those management practices. Our funders
expect that of us.

In sum, DM morphed from becoming an offering
in Oregon public schools into a non-accredited
program for mostly young adults, with some older
supervision. The teacher / manager I brought to
the meeting with Chris Brooks and the computer
science teachers, morphed into a bike trailer hauler,
while my learning center (shared) on Stark Street
became a kitchen. The writings, with Python syntax
and type definitions, molecular biology, near earth
astronomy, was packaged for use by our network
affiliates. Much of it is open source and interleaved
in public archives. Much of it feeds directly into the
"girl scout math" projects I've been looking at in
a more overseas context, with some importable
elements. The Stark Street facility recently sent
a delegation to Nicaragua and that's given us more
ideas. I've already posted about dovetailing the
bike program with some programs in Havana. We
already have Python in common.

Jon Bunce, with Linus Pauling House, an accomplished
musician as well as math savvy layman, is an alum
of Phillips / Andover, which featured earlier in this
story. I'm seeing midwest and east coast possibilities
for some of these same programs. The weather
patterns are quite different, as are the distances
involved. Food waste is a problem in many places
though, so here's a way for the story problems to
gain traction, and solving these problems requires
getting off your duff, i.e. you don't get an "A" if actual
food isn't actually cooked and fed to fellow students.

Think of home economics (Julia Child).

Think of STEM (Linus Pauling).

Kirby Urner

gnu math
verboten math
rad math

python.org (member)
isepp.org (board)
afsc.org (corp rep)


Endnotes:

Meeting with Cliff Brooks, SQL teacher L. Walker co-
representing 4D Solutions:
http://worldgame.blogspot.com/2009/08/education-planning.html

Later lobbying activities, chronicled in public journal,
sample postings:
http://mybizmo.blogspot.com/2009/07/more-lobbying.html

GSM writing, connecting to "off your duff math" (math
is an outdoor sport):
http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7530822&tstart=0
http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?forumID=206&threadID=2166644

Heuristics for Teachers (DM curriculum / OCN)
http://wikieducator.org/Digital_Math

Oregon Curriculum Network : Pythonic Math
http://www.4dsolutions.net/ocn/cp4e.html

Business Cards (adult supervised math scenarios, problem solving in an
urban setting):
http://mybizmo.blogspot.com/2011/08/business-cards.html
http://groups.google.com/group/mathfuture/browse_thread/thread/e71d5c6907d80b92?hl=en

===

Geocache excercise 12-A (Richmond neigborhood track):

You found me:
A, B, T vol 1/24
Mite (space-filling) vol 1/8
Tetrahedron vol 1
Cube vol 3
Octahedron vol 4
Rh Triacontahedron vol 5
Rh Dodecahedron vol 6
Rh Triacontahedron vol 7.5
Icosahedron vol ~18.51
Cuboctahedron vol 20

Next stop: Before it was named Lyrik (Chavez / Lincoln), the
shop was named Fine Grind. The owner was first CSN CFO
______ Francis.


Date Subject Author
9/20/11
Read Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
kirby urner
9/22/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Martisa Vignali
9/23/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
kirby urner
9/22/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Robert Hansen
9/23/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Dave L. Renfro
9/26/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
kirby urner
9/26/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Haim
9/27/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
kirby urner
9/26/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Dave L. Renfro
9/26/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Haim
9/26/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
kirby urner
9/26/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Robert Hansen
9/27/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Scott Gray
9/27/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Bishop, Wayne
9/27/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Haim
9/29/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
GS Chandy
9/29/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
GS Chandy
9/29/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
kirby urner
9/29/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
GS Chandy
9/30/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
GS Chandy
9/30/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Robert Hansen
9/30/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Robert Hansen
9/30/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
kirby urner
10/7/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
GS Chandy
10/1/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
GS Chandy
10/1/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Robert Hansen
10/2/11
Read Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
kirby urner

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