It IS about the technology: mathematics has computational objects

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It IS about the technology: mathematics has computational objects

Daniel Ajoy-2
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Re: It IS about the technology: mathematics has computational objects

michel paul-2
Thanks very much for sending this. Besides this one, his other posts are also worth reading.  This one is especially useful for pinpointing a fundamental reason for the disconnect between (relevant) technology and secondary mathematics:

Maybe in language or English teaching the technology is “only a tool”. I want to argue a point of view that, for certain parts of mathematics the technology, the practice and the pedagogy cannot sensibly be separated.

Yeah, that is precisely the point.  It is extremely difficult to have dialog with the attitude that the technology is 'simply a tool' that we use to help us solve math problems, that the math and the technology are two different things, and that different people like different tools.  I might like programming, but someone else might like to use a graphing calculator, for example.  And though that point of view is quite understandable, it presents an obstacle when advocating a serious look at computational thinking.  'Computational thinking' gets equated with simply some other way of  'using a tool', and we've already got these nifty hand-held tools that do what we need within our curriculum, so why complicate matters?  When the APs and SATs endorse 'using hand-helds so long as they don't have a QWERTY keyboard' as some kind of status quo, talking about Python/Sage seems like an unnecessary addition.  It seems like an overly complicated 'tool' that can't be used on high stakes tests, so why waste one's time?

Seriously, that really is the best argument I've ever been provided.  How to answer it?

My tendency in response has been to emphasize the importance of language.  (I tend to be an idealist.)  I've been saying, "It's not about the 'tool' or the 'gadget'.  It's about language!  Technology is actually language!  That's significant for education!  Literacy is all about language!"

But that doesn't go very far.  Education, it seems, is really not about literacy.  So this guy's point is perfect.  You want technology?  OK!  Why not make it RELEVANT???

And in his other posts he discusses how in the real world you're not going to get a job where they hand you a sheet of problems to do!  More than likely you'll be working on projects with groups of people, and though you won't get 'tested', you will have to prepare a report on your project.  So he's advocating courses based on projects rather than tests.  I like that - math courses as project-based.

- Michel


On Tue, Feb 2, 2010 at 6:54 PM, Daniel Ajoy <[hidden email]> wrote:
http://republicofmath.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/it-is-about-the-technology-mathematics-has-computational-objects/




Daniel

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"Computer science is the new mathematics."

-- Dr. Christos Papadimitriou

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