Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Conrad Wolfram: Teaching Kids Real Math with Computers

Our math department went to the state math convention this past week, and Mr. Hermes share this TED talk with us.  I watched it and LOVED the concepts here!

Conrad Wolfram is the director of Wolfram Research, which is a company that is trying to understand and find new uses for Mathematics technology!  He believes that we are too focused on "hand calculating" and we need to start teaching MATH!  He says there are three reasons to teach math:

1. Technical Jobs
2. Everyday Living
3. Logical Thinking

Wolfram further questions, "What is Math?"  He again, comes up with four steps -

1. Pose the right question - what are we trying to figure out?
2. Real world - math formulas
3. Computation - answers
4. Math formulation - real world and then verification

He explained that why are we teaching and doing 80% of computation by HAND - Step 3 - when we have computers and technologies that can do it for us?!  Students should be focusing on Steps 1, 2 and 4 and let what we HAVE do step 3 for us!  It's not like it used to be - we used to NOT have devices and the technologies for this so we HAD to do it by hand - but now we don't.  We are teaching kids to do concepts and "step by step" work that when they are out working in the real world - a computer or calculator will do FOR them!!  He feels computers don't dumb down math - the problems we use are dumbed down problems.  Wolfram believes that we need more practical and more conceptual work with math - we need critical reform in the way we teach math - because exams are NOT the way to get kids to understand math - "there needs to be critical reform - that is computer based math."

He also has an amazing website to check out and APPS to consider also -

It's pretty amazing to think about.  In a world where MCA testing, Common Core and other state exams and tests are mandated - it makes one wonder why we DO NOT teach more "real world" skills to our kids - not just in math - but ALL areas!  There's definitely a TON of reform that needs to take place in Minnesota and the United States as a whole - we have SO many things wrong with the education system.

One more link to MAYBE check out that Mr. Hermes mentioned is Computer Based Math - it too talks about the benefits of  having kids do REAL WORLD, computer based mathematics.  Look into it - 

Some amazing think abouts - and his TED Talk is WORTH LISTENING TO:)!
Happy Wednesday all,
Mrs. I:)

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