1. What's wrong with math education and how do we fix it?
The short answer is that students spend around 80% of their time in math class doing hand calculations and 20% learning mathematical thinking. The fix is to improve the balance to more thinking and less calculating. For a fuller explanation of what this would mean, read the transcript of Conrad Wolfram's TED Talk.
This is false! I have found no curriculum in the last 40 years that focuses on calculation like this. In fact, other than very old business math curriculums that focused on tabulation, for good reason, the ratio I see is 20% or less calculation and 80% context. After 6th or 7th grade, the teaching of calculation disappears entirely. Don't get me wrong, you continue to use what you were taught in those fledgling years, but there isn't anymore to teach.
Later the FAQ says process is important and then says, wait, no its not, but in general it starts with and continues with this very false notion that schools are teaching calculation, calculation, calculation, calculation and math. (just to show what 20% math looks like). This is certainly not true.
To say that we can move past teaching arithmetic is like saying that we can move past teaching spelling and grammar (because of spell check and grammar check). But how would that work? Even with spell checking, where the heck would you start writing if you couldn't spell words mostly correct? And what about all of the morphology involved in spelling and in acquiring a vocabulary? How would you know un-something or something-able or the difference between mouses and mice?
You need fluency in these elements just to write one decent paragraph. Likewise, you need fluency in arithmetic just to have a decent mathematical dialog. Let's not forget that mathematics is about numbers.
We have to question why some think that computers are apt to make any more of a difference in mathematics education than what they already have. They have been here now for a couple of generations. It isn't as if technology takes a lot of time to assimilate into society. We have been through how may versions of television and show delivery in our lifetimes? Can any of you remember using a phone with a cord? Cassettes, CDs, DVDs and Streaming. Technology comes and goes very fast. Society has no problem at all in consuming it. Spending 40 years trying to get teachers to use computers in the classroom is testament to the fact that they are not applicable to the task. If they were, you wouldn't have to spend 40 minutes convincing people, let alone 40 years.
On Sep 28, 2012, at 1:31 PM, "ComputerBasedMath.org" <info@ComputerBasedMath.org> wrote:
> Now in its second year, the Computer-Based Math Education Summit 2012. is fast becoming the hub of a major change in math education. A broad cross-section of leaders with a stake in STEM education from industry, technology, government, and education will attend to answer the question, "What are the steps to delivering computer-based math education worldwide?" > > Computerbasedmath.org is a project to build a completely new math curriculum with computer-based computation at its heart - alongside a campaign to refocus math education away from historical hand-calculating techniques and toward relevant, real-world and conceptually interesting topics. > > The summit will take place on 1 and 2 November 2012 at The Royal Institution, London. http://www.computerbasedmath.org/events/londonsummit2012 > > Themes of this year's summit will include: > > * What's In, What's Out for the Computer Based Math (CBM) Curriculum? > * Computer Science, Math, and ICT--Where Does Programming Fit? > * Is CBM Winning Over the Critics? > * Assessment and CBM > * Prototyping a CBM Lesson > * Games, Competitions, and New Modalities for Learning > * State-of-the-Art Technology for CBM > * Society's Changing Needs for Math > * STEM Skills for University and Industry > * The Politics of Math