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Topic: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Replies: 26   Last Post: Oct 7, 2011 12:19 PM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 7,252
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Posted: Sep 30, 2011 3:33 AM
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Kirby Urner posted Sep 29, 2011 11:57 PM:
> On Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 2:10 AM, GS Chandy
> <gs_chandy@yahoo.com> wrote:
>

> > Thanks, Kirby, for that reference to Scott Gray's
> work and the origins of Make Math.
> >
> > I have not studied Scott Gray's work in detail and

> I do not yet know
> > enough about "Make Math" to comment authoritatively
> in any way,
> > but I do believe anyone who cares to read that blog
> would learn
> > enough to put Wayne Bishop's dismissive comment
> >

> (http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=757755
> 9&tstart=0)

> > where it belongs - in the rubbish bin.
> >
> > GSC
> > Let's get some shovels ready (for those things that

> really deserve shovels to bury them)!
> >
> >

>
> Dr. Bishop is somewhat politically obligated to not
> do a 180 and start
> endorsing what he's consistently decried. Lots of
> people in that
> position: needing to stay in character.

True enough. We do have a fair bit of such political attitudes and stances here, don't we?
>
> And besides, we're still
> talking about a future, albeit a field tested one
> (not unlike mine,
> also covered in dirt and grime, from work in the
> trenches).
>

I have some intentions (which I do hope I shall be able to make firm plans that could come through in a couple of months), of learning enough Python in future to be able to interact fruitfully with software programmers who will be working on my OPMS - as an artifact that could help us move towards that future. Any suggestions from you would be most welcome. (I shall of course, look at the material you have previously linked up).
>
> What I will say is one-on-one teaching moments are
> still important in
> some distance education models and Scott's is one of
> them. You're
> working with a real person, not a grading machine.
>
> On the DM side of the fence, I get a lot of computer
> programs by
> students. I check them and offer tips and advice,
> even when they're
> meeting requirements (I'm often as verbose on passing
> as on
> not-passing assignments).
>
> What's cool about computer programming is the "show
> your work" part is
> built in: you won't have the numbers without showing
> your work, which
> in turn is self checking as if the logic is broken,
> you won't get the
> numbers. From a math teaching standpoint, you've got
> one of those
> to-die-for self-reinforcing feedback loops.
>
> Why more math teachers don't couch it in programming
> is one of those
> TV pundit questions for the sports bar (you can find
> me at Claudia's
> some Thursdays).
>
> For example, one of our DM track projects is: read
> in the Declaration
> of Independence (ASCII text provided) and count how
> many words of each
> word length you find, discounting (not counting)
> punctuation symbols.
> The final result looks like this:
>
> Length Count
> 1 16
> 2 267
> 3 267
> 4 169
> 5 140
> 6 112
> 7 99
> 8 68
> 9 61
> 10 56
> 11 35
> 12 13
> 13 9
> 14 7
> 15 2
>
> That's like the answer in the back of the book, but
> there's no
> "cheating", as if your program doesn't work, it won't
> give us this
> answer.
>
> Of course students might copy others' work and hand
> it in as their
> own, but what's the incentive? The skills I'm
> teaching are in high
> demand and the likelihood of getting work is pretty
> good if you master
> the content. If you somehow fake your way through
> and even get
> through the interview, then what?
>

Well, I believe I can demonstrate that a student who is actually using OPMS is most unlikely to do this...
>
> It's your first day on the job and you're scrolling
> through reams of
> code, expected to contribute, and now you have to
> confess you have no
> idea what you're doing? Why be the star of that
> show? Why did you
> waste all that time piggy backing, when you could
> have been evolving
> your own personal style, winning the respect of your
> peers (what we
> encourage at Blue House on campus).
>

Indeed. It is precisely the thought that comes through to almost anyone who uses OPMS.
>
> No, our students are eager to get through on their
> own, knowing the
> projects are "open book" in the sense that the
> documentation is
> always available. Programming is not about
> memorizing ungodly amounts
> of pure trivia. That's what Google is for. Learn
> the concepts, the
> heuristics, and then be prepared to slog your way
> through unfamiliar
> APIs for the rest of your life. No rose gardens were
> promised.
>

Perfect!
>
> You're more like Spock on Star Trek: the control
> panel is always
> newfangled (Cardassian? Klingon?).
>
> Back to my DM track experiments in Portland, which
> are pure science
> fiction compared to most of the country, we're
> looking at physical
> coordination as an important criterion and see
> "precision" in more
> than just neat handwriting or clear algebra.
>
> Can you chop with sharp knives (fine motor skills)?
> How about
> negotiating traffic in the rain, on a bike, hauling
> perishables (gross
> motor skills)?
>
> If you grew up in the 1950s you might be thinking of
> 'Boys Life' and
> some kind of ranger danger camp, lots of
> testosterone. That was the
> football and fast Chevy era (Ralph McGehee's
> contemporaries, an
> idiocracy gone by). Nowadays we're more talking
> about girls (like
> Lindsay or Valerie). Of course I should probably say
> "women" and
> "men" given these are younger adults, more K-16 and
> older, than K-12.
> I'm an outlier at this point in history, though some
> of our founders
> (e.g. Keith McHenry) are older than I.
>
> You don't see many of us out-of-the-closet grays
> running Outdoor Math
> programs around here in rainy September-October --
> might be different
> around Denver?
>
> You might think I'm being way too counter-culture in
> connecting gross
> and fine motor skills with math skills, but that was
> the role of music
> (add dance) in Greek civilization. They didn't have
> iTunes back then
> so you couldn't just couch potato your way through
> the music
> curriculum. You had to strum, blow, shake it, or
> otherwise control
> your movements, in synch with a group. Disney is
> good on this, in
> that Donald Duck in Math Land movie.
>

I agree entirely.
>
> Hansen goes on about piano training and math training
> for a reason.
> These two go together. That sense of rhythm, of
> timing, of getting
> the right beat, was not seen as distinct from
> computational ability.
> A similar intelligence, associated with Athena and
> Apollo, was seen to
> connect these disciplines.
>

Hansen does come through with some excellent insights on occasion - but then he does have this strange fixation on 'by-rote'. I don't quite get it. And then he has another fixation: that OPMS is about list-making (and nothing else!!) [though there has been rather less of that lately than there was once upon a time].
>
> Fast forward to our own time and music is a highly
> computational
> activity, having switched to digital even for most
> analog sounds.
> Post production fine tuning is a job for high end
> digital gear. Any
> music studio is likely to house Apples running Pro
> Tools or whatever.
> Fourier Transforms become a way of life, and those
> really
> understanding the math have an edge, not just along
> the production
> pipeline, but when it comes to the artwork, like that
> of Kraftwerk.
> M.C. Escher helped pave the way.
>
> Yes, it's easy to poke fun at curricula wherein
> people suddenly stand
> and start doing yoga or tai chi, like some kind of
> smart mob. In a
> cube farm, that looks crazy, or like 1984 gone
> bananas (Big Sister
> watching on web cams). However, geeks working at
> home or in a co-op
> environment, know for a fact that lethargy leads to
> sloth, which
> degrades code quality. Learning to spell yourself,
> take breaks, and
> not just for donuts, is a survival skill, as most the
> alternatives are
> recipes for burnout and early retirement into the
> ranks of the
> pseudo-employed.
>
> There's a reason those corporate giants squander
> money on gyms.
> They're not just "being nice". Having a DM track
> that includes heavy
> exercise on occasion (geocaching an excuse?) is a
> godsend to many a
> geek parent and grandparent.
>
> I mention geeks a lot because that's who tends to
> frequent our DM
> track these days. Think of me as a recruiter of IEEE
> engineers, a
> gray in the Silicon Forest, soliciting not just the
> big bucks, but
> personnel, willing to take some paid and/or unpaid
> leave to ride a
> bike for a change, work in a community kitchen,
> dispatch center, or
> supply house.
>
> From this first person perspective, they ponder not
> just the physical
> challenges but the systems aspects. Given how we're
> phasing out
> Economics in favor of GST in some STEM curricula
> (e.g. urban
> planning), this makes perfect sense. Enroll your
> kids today, give
> them a head start learning the ropes. But also
> enroll yourself.
>
> Kirby
>

Very nice indeed!

GSC


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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