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Discussion: Traffic Jam Applet tool
Topic: Readings Ch1 &2
Related Item: http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/10/


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Subject:   RE: Readings Ch1 &2
Author: Mathman
Date: Oct 26 2005
On Oct 25 2005, sshs wrote:
> I agree with the idea that students must multiple representations of
> a concept in order to make the connections and understanding as a
> whole. I aslo think the statements that mathematics is still
> generally taught in the process method and needs to be changed makes
> sense.

To each their own, of course, and one can not be dogmatic, either about older
methods, or newer ones that will become older ones.  Having taught computer
science, and spent over a quarter century working with computers in about every
aspect I can think of at one time or another, I do not abandon the computer
lightly.  It is a powerful instrument, and I can point to its appropriate use.
I use it constantly myself. However, it is still not yet proven to be the magic
pill, and at times frankly can get in the way.  As one example [I won't bore you
with a lot, but there really is a lot] I taught a trig course the
old-fashioned way.  A year later students thanked me.  They were teaching the
other students the trig they should have learned.  Teaching involves knowledge,
background, experience, wideness of scope, ...not just one tool or another.  Any
tool is useful in the right hands.  The tool at the time was the blackboard and
chalk, and an old geometry set.  There was lots of discussion, and many ways of
looking at it of course, and that's the real key to understanding I think
...just a walk through the woods, stopping to turn over a few rocks, and to
really look at what is under them.

You can use a computer program or a chalkboard to draw a right triangle, but the
real learning starts to take place when you ask how to measure the distance to a
wall, and then to ask why is it measured that way.

David.

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