Teaching Kids Math With Computers

In grade 12 I achieved the top marks for Mathematics HG. This was the culmination of two years of preparation, and mostly completing old exam papers from the previous three years. After seeing this TED Talk by Conrad Wolfram posted on the Facebook page of Claire Marketos, I suggested she contact Roger Layton. He told me a few days ago he submitted his Ph.D. thesis on a similar. You may read his reply below after the video…

Roger Layton: I do not actually agree with what Conrad has to say in this video. He is (not so subtly) punting his Mathematica products and others such as Wolfram Alpha. However, it is difficult to criticise him and Wolfram Research in general since they are A-list in the mathematics world – but that does not make them correct. My kids learned LOGO at school and that did not make them better mathematicians. The usage of the calculator has definitely reduced learners ability to perform mental calculations, and with calculators doing more and more this is becoming worse over time. He has a point that technology allows us to doing things better, but human understanding is compromised if we use technology too much.

My own research explored the question of what computers should be used for in the mathematics classroom and my focus is on diagnostic assessment – discovering of conceptual barriers to understanding rather than as a tool to aid conceptual development. This is different from Conrad Wolfram’s perspective here and his talk is not aligned with modern thinking of what mathematics is and what mathematical proficiency is, and this is multi-dimensional and not limited to calculations alone. I think he is out of touch.
Claire Marketos: I like Conrad”s idea of using computers to spend more time problem solving. For bright maths students the primary years are tedious as they are expected to do basic computing over and over again. For them being able to use computers to solve problems would be more satisfying. What is your hands on experience with learners Roger?

 

CIS Toastmasters club celebrates 1,000th meeting

Today I received this invitation from CIS Toastmasters club in Houghton, Johannesburg. This was the first Toastmasters club I joined in 2006 and where I completed my Competent Communicator level. I was also the responsible for setting up the club website, which become #1 ranked website for the keyword “Toastmasters” on Google South Africa.

Anyway I’m thrilled to be invited to join the 1,000th meeting next week. Here’s the invitation:


 

Compliments of the season to you all and best wishes for 2015. I hope you all had a wonderful rest and are eager to start to the new year of with a bang!

Justin Cohen motivational speaker from South AfricaOur next meeting is a major milestone for our club as it is the 1000th meeting since the club started in 1973. As a result we have limited our speakers list to 3 prepared speeches and are very fortunate to be receiving an inspiring address by Justin Cohen, a well known,  Professional Motivational Speaker.

We will also receive a general evaluation from a previous CIS Toastmasters member, Ramon Thomas. Ramon was a member of our club back in 2006 and is now living in China.

Attached please find the provisional programme for this meeting 13th January 2015. Please note the changes to this programme from our usual Programme setup and feel to contact me if you have any questions in this regard.

Please Note,there will also be a cover charge for Visitors/Guests of R30 per person.

Kind regards,
Michael Silberman
VP Education, CIS Toastmasters
Cell.  072 299 3107