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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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kirby urner

Posts: 1,705
Registered: 11/29/05
Re: Continuing Education for Math Teachers (gnu math)
Posted: Sep 30, 2011 2:25 PM
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On Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 8:11 AM, Robert Hansen <bob@rsccore.com> wrote:
> Kirby wrote...
>

>> "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."

>
> And many a hopeful programmer did not become a programmer, or anything else, because of that idea.


I would hazard that far more become unhappy in their work
because they were counting on some API to carry them
forward to retirement, and then all of a sudden their
language dies or is no longer in demand and they can
no longer stomach feeling like a rank beginner again.

The sense of seniority that comes with being some insider
with respect to a technology, can lead to a dead end.
Best to learn from the beginning that it's best to keep
that "beginner mind" in good shape. Always be tackling
something new you're not good at and others are better
at, for the sense of humility this will instill (you'll be
needing it later, if not now).

> Kirby wrote...
>
> "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 is actually still the norm.


Yes, a lot of those 1950s born are still among us, many at
the peak of their professions. Many were boy scouts along
the way, and took to engineering as a result of doing a lot
of outdoorsy stuff per natural inclinations, which "stuff" may
include having a military-industrial job (which jobs are also
indoorsy in many scenarios -- lots of hallways and cube
farms).

Nevertheless, as some kind of futurist, I'm alerted by trends.

That TED talk about "the end of men" gives some of the
spin (a "heads up" you might say, or "advance notice").

My own science fiction is more Joss Whedon and Gardner
flavored in some ways, in that my protagonists are often
if not always female (Lara Logan types). By "science
fiction" I mean my storyboarding about the future. I might
call it "investment banking" in other contexts (before
Disney created Disneyland, it was science fiction -- with
the relative mix of science and fiction changing over time,
to less fiction and more science).

On the philosophy of language list(s) I frequent, you will
find me yammering about "witches" some of the time,
as the computer jocks have already seized upon "wizard".
"Wizard" is too sexist a term (too Harry Potter), used by
its lonesome.

Putting a positive spin on "witch" is really easy in Portland
(that work has been done already) whereas I'd surmise
it's more of an uphill battle in some other necks of the
woods. Hacker meets Hexster in our local geekdom.
The character Willow helped in the background (Joss
Whedon again), a geek and quite bookish.

> Kirby wrote...
>
> "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."
>
> My only response there is "No it wasn't."
>


Well, I'm leaving out a lot, such as athletics (graceful
goal-directed action, often with special artifacts).

Getting into an older mindset, before western
thought was carved up the way we ("we") carve
it up is not the easiest thing, takes some real
anthropology.

My 'History of Mentalities' teachers (a course at
Princeton) had their doubts it could be done.
We studied Malcolm X quite a bit in that class.

I could make my appeals to neuroscience at
this juncture. Even if it wasn't a conscious design,
the use of musical training to fine tune brain
function, making it more capable of mathematical
thought and computation, is an ancient practice.
Think of how the NFL is like a play about
competing military strategists, with boots on
the ground.

But I'd argue the connections were more conscious
than not, even in Greek times, through the Pythagoreans
especially (a focus in that Disney cartoon I mentioned).

The connection between pitch and vibration, the
ratios involved, is all about dimension, integral
measure, and proportion. Music, in being so
exponential (logarithmic), has inspired a lot of
math and vice versa. One could easily imagine
a planet wherein the humans there considered it
one discipline. Our sense of "purity" might be
violated, but why should Planet Earth always
call the shots? Not in my book it doesn't.

Music is nothing more than mathematical patterns,
rendered outwardly by means of instrumentation
(including the voice as an instrument).

Learning to read a notation and to follow its meaning,
including through looping structures, is also useful
for developing programming skills.

The computers themselves, as hardware devices, hail
from the machine music lineage, not just from those
programmable looms that get all the focus. If you
want a good idea of a computer program running, watch
a player piano in action. 'Welcome to the Wild West'
might be the tune playing.

>
> Kirby wrote...
>
> "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."
>
> If you wanted to know what I mean with my analogy between
> music and math you could have just asked.


Yeah, but in saying "for a reason" I was leaving the door open
to a more general pattern. You might express various biases
and stereotypes "for a reason" without our having to agree on
your intent and/or conscious goals in so doing.

> They are not simultaneous things as you imply. The analogy
> is that they both involve a sense of a universal truth that is
> not man made but god made. The truth simply exists and
> therefore it is. That once you are struck with that sense,
> there is a component of theory where you categorize and
> classify that sense and there is a component of performance.
> And this isn't just about music and math, it is about any
> higher skill that we individually resonate with and choose
> or are called to. But music and math share a purity that
> makes the analogy easier.


You are clearly a product of your cultural matrix and should
be forgiven your biases. Invoking a deity and notions of
purity has a somewhat neo-Victorian flavor, more what
I'd expect from a puritanical state (lots of snow birds
influence the politics there right? I used to live in Bradenton).

You say it's an analogy, but that's cultural too. We have
this idea that a mathematician should be able to think
about slicing something into exact thirds, but having
the physical coordination to do so, quickly and accurately,
with a sharp knife, is considered *not* a mathematical
skill -- because of culture (ethnicity).

The curriculum I'm developing doesn't really atomize
the same way. We get down to STEM, maybe add
Anthropology for STEAM and then we stop trying to
further specialize too much. That "pure math" you go
on about is not of singular interest, nor are we hoping
to turn out even one "pure mathematician" (that would
be counted as a mistake, a bad outcome). If you
wanna be "pure", choose another curriculum. Ours
is not mandatory and many get turned away, for
whatever reasons ("guaranteed education" doesn't
mean every curriculum is equally accessible -- one
needs prerequisites and criteria).

There's a lot of backlash against over-specialization
over here. We tend to see those 1950s generation
professors as Eloi, well versed in a narrow area, but
incompetent in too many devastating ways to serve
as serious role models. We appeal to the more
outdoorsy DIY types (the girl scouts), those who
would likely sign up for military service but maybe
don't want to serve on a mercenary force for cynical
reasons (about the only openings available these
days, in some zip code areas).

> Kirby wrote...
>
> "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."
>
> This isn't true. I mean, musical people know how to hook
> their stuff up but they are mostly (very mostly) ignorant of the
> internal workings, and for a very good reason, they get to
> concentrate on their skills of performing and/or creating music.
> They are not technophobes but they also have little need to
> understand the deep workings. And that is a very good thing.
> That is what technology is for. And the same thing goes for
> mathematicians (the pure form), they are seldom accomplished
> programmers, even though they use computers a lot.
>


A lot depends on who your role models are, whom you take
on as faculty. In several of my posts, I've recounted about our
faculty musician. She practices hours a day, yet hails from
a computer background in Florida and Georgia. She came
to Portland as a refugee, as many women do (my late wife
included), from other North American cultures that likewise
consider themselves a part of some Federation (like Texas
is a good example, still hanging in there as some kind of
State).

This particular faculty member would enjoy writing drivers
for musical devices in the C language, has said so many
times. She'd have to study, but it's of the kind she relishes.
She used to do a lot with SVG graphics, stuff with SQL,
before they kicked her upstairs to supervise others, and
start outsourcing a few.

When the company email came around that so-and-so
was liking his new torture taxi (a Gulf Stream V I think
it was), she knew she just had to get out and start over.
Some years later is when she came to the attention of the
Linus Pauling House on nearby Hawthorne Boulevard
(named for the doctor who founded Oregon's first
mental hospital -- it used to be called Asylum Avenue,
which also has political connotations) and got her
current job as a Rad Math teacher / musician.

Is this the story behind most musicians? Of course not.
Neither is my school a cookie cutter carbon copy of other
schools down the street. Look at our geocache puzzles
for example (bottom of top post). No other school is
doing those, not in that way. Must be verboten or
something. I feel lucky I'm not on one of those slave
ships.

Anyway, musicians today at least learn about social
engineering tools such as Facebook and Twitter. They
use MySpace less these days I'm told. Archive.org
is a welcoming space and where I suggested she put
her stash of open source music. Then there's Youtube.
But that's just scratching the surface. All stuff you
need to know as a musician (and use, not just
yak about).

>
> Kirby wrote...
>
> "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."
>
> People need exercise. That doesn't relate it to math. People also need food, so is food math as well?
>


I was just talking to a guy last night who knew a
"stretch coach" at Intel. A few times a day, you had
to stand up and go through the motions, or be reported.

They do the same thing in China, an easier target for
SNL mockery no doubt (South Park is smarter).

Yoga has more of a mathematics to it.

And yes, food is math as well, if you've been paying
any attention at all. Don't worry if you're not. I realize
you have no intention of getting a job with us.

> What you seem to be doing in this post (and in most of your other posts) is making anagrams.
>
> Bob Hansen
>
>


I think "amalgam" is just as appropriate.

http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-definition/amalgam
(3rd meaning: mixture or combination)

I provide an impressive number of links and have
any amount of further writing on line spelling out
everything I'm up to in illustrative detail, so no need
to bother with all that in every post. That gives my
writing an elliptic flavor (as if stuff is missing), but
only because I've already done my homework
and well know what I'm writing about.

The truth is out there (cue musical theme).

Kirby


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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