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Topic: Andragogy continued...
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kirby urner

Posts: 3,690
Registered: 11/29/05
Andragogy continued...
Posted: Oct 25, 2011 3:32 PM
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By consensus and history we're a K-12 focused group.
That's the mandate NCTM gave itself, imitating Gattegno's
focus in the UK.

Their first logo (NCTM's) was the octet-truss, in the spirit
of the times (optimistic). Backpedaling away from that
logo was at the insistence of Haim's Education Mafia,
which felt threatened by this nod to Alexander Graham
Bell and all that implied. Radical genius is disruptive
whereas everyday schoolish math was to be paved over
and rendered sanitized and safe, a kind of strip mall,
tacky wallpaper for the brain, chintzy screen savers.

Besides, Bell Labs (Alexander's progeny) was already
way too powerful for its own good. It took a university
of the caliber of UC Berkeley to take back the IP and
make BSD free, to where AT&T no longer has much of
a logo to cash in, or was it SCO's logo by then? **.

However, I've been arguing that the rather deep level
makeover that's happening, far from superficial /
cosmetic, requires adult buy-in and, more than that,
we need to reach the adults with the same curriculum,
so they can test the waters themselves, administer
whatever sniff tests. Some may run screaming but
that's what democracy looks like. We don't lock the
doors and "bolters" (those who bolt) are welcome
(that's the great thing about this country: not one
size fits all, uniformity / conformity not required).

Yesterday, we continued the municipal level conversation
about bike lanes and bike routes, relationships to
motor vehicles. Dallas was discussed, as another
example of a city anxious to pull out of a car-heavy
tail spin, the same one that's weighing down North
Americans in general, an albatross. The devastating
effects of this lifestyle on Europe are what turned the
tide, and now Portland boasts Euro-level statistics in
terms of bike ridership.

As you know if you've been studying my curriculum, to
get an "A" in our courses requires getting off your duff
and out doing stuff. Brain theory kicks in here and
another at our meeting was a neuroscientist by the
name of Larry Sherman. He corroborated my point,
which Hansen denied, that musical training with
instruments correlates positively with brain function,
which is why math, music and wisdom all got lumped
together by the Greeks, under the brand name of
Athena.

Our cyclist delegate was Mia Birk, one of the chief
urban planning consultants on this topic, including
bike share programs (the biggest one in the country
about to open in NYC).

When it was my turn to the microphone I asked
about trip planning software, given TriMet's open
source multi-modal offering, so exciting to our math
teachers. It sits atop PostGIS, which is the adaptation
of the Postgres technology for GIS/GPS work. We
use it at Metro, the regional government that helps
us plan all this stuff.

So if a math teacher / student gets a call from a dispatcher
that ingredients A,B and C are available from warehouse
J on N. Russell, she or he just has to dial in to the
trip planner, not to find a bus route (buses don't take
trailers) but to minimize elevation on the way back
(pulling a heavy load). That's something the Portland
system offers. Eat your heart out Berlin (or join us in
using the same solution, help us continue to engineer).

The guts of the routing database itself is where the
digital math track hooks in. Hansen thinks I'm talking
about computer science when I talk about searches
on polygons that pull up all data points of interest
within a sector. But that's not how our curriculum
breaks down.

At the very top level, we have only two subjects:
Geometry and Geography (see MathFuture for more
details). Everything else is regarded us under that
umbrella, usually as a blend of both. Geography
introduces "the scale factor" where it matters how
"big" or how "small". In the Platonic realm, there's
no energy and therefore no time or size to speak
of, which is why math nerds boast how their subject
"has nothing to do with the real world". That's the
realm of Geometry for us, and why Plato's Academy
warned away any students with zero geometric
background.

We also study the force vectors involved with dragging
stuff around town, in terms of the calories burned.
This is that First Person Physics I always talk about.
We care a lot about joules, and talk about individual
humans as akin to X-watt bulbs in terms of what
they burn. Just take like 8 billion, find the average
burn rate, and voila, the total energy burn for the
human species, just counting the warm bodies.
Compare that to the daily intake of sun energy,
transformed through photosynthesis into biomass
(edible and wearable) and you start to have a
complete picture of the human ecosystem / economy.

Everyone is working in this picture, expending energy.
"Unemployement" is something else and has more
to do with banking's overspending on software a lot,
not getting it about open source, still thinking like
one of the 1% (i.e. the least imaginative).

How do we recruit adults for this training and do
they learn any spherical trigonometry as a result?

Where does the octet truss fit into all this?

These are good questions. We have booths here
and there, where we recruit volunteers.

Lindsey is staffing the booth downtown at the OPDX
campus (near PSU) and we get lots of questions.
I've been in touch with this guy in Chicago on
mathfuture who's into similar andragogical experiments
and expect he'll keep me posted on those hexayurts.

A big focus is "camping" (as in Barcamp, Foocamp,
Wherecamp... all these geek festivals, mostly in the
unconference format but not always).

Given the Philippines is like the 3rd largest country that
taps the Anglo philosophies (embedded in English),
it wouldn't surprise me if we got some new bases
adding there.

The last meeting about the routing database was
at a Wherecamp in fact. Just remember how the
same topological concepts (directionality, hubs,
valency) relate to transportation networks of all
kinds, including shipping and air.

People might be surprised how much industrial
carpeting is actually flown to Japan from Georgia
(as in Atlanta), versus put on ships. People get
the wrong idea about a lot of things. That's because
the "how things work" component of K-12 has all
but been eliminated by the Education Mafia (they
don't want their own role, as organized criminals,
to come under scrutiny).

In restoring a more worldly awareness in the parents,
we have more chance of rolling back their campaign
to dumb us down.

For those still not sure what the octet truss is, here
are some pictures from a recent workshop with math
teacher Dan. I've pointed many times to the
corresponding web page at NCTM's web site
(Illuminations), in case teachers want to open these
doors.

http://mybizmo.blogspot.com/2011/10/homespun.html
(note also that I'm holding one -- the guy with the hat)

http://illuminations.nctm.org/LessonDetail.aspx?id=L639
(Bell kite, tetrahedral mensuration ala Martian Math)

The response has been underwhelming however, as
Analog Math still dominates in most zip codes. Not
every city is so fortunate as Portland, with OPDX,
PDX and Ikea all working so well together. Thanks
to Trimet, Metro, UrbanInfluence and others
(McMenamins...) for making it all happen.

Kirby


** sorry for the financial arcana: SCO bought old
AT&T Unix trademark thinking they could use it to
go after GNU on intellectual property grounds.
That campaign (which used fear and intimidation)
backfired big time resulting in SCO's going the
way of ENRON, its delisting from NASDAQ and
ridicule from the bandwagon, where IBM et al
were riding Linux into their brave new world,
pumping it full of the know-how of the ages
(because geeks know how, and owe no one
but themselves).


Message was edited by: kirby urner



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