Category: Future of Math

Implications for Math Instructors

They say a picture is worth 1000 words.  Then here are about 15,000. I’ve taken screenshots of several examples of the algebra through calculus that WolframAlpha will do. You can see the album of screenshots here. I’ll let you see the implications for yourself. Possibly Related Posts: Reimagining Calculus Keynote Group Exploration in Math Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM The Importance of Findability for...

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What if there was a Google for Math?

What if you could go to a free and readily available website and enter an equation, an expression, a question about math, a request to analyze data, or anything else, and the site would answer your question, elaborate on it, give you all the steps for the mathematical work, etc.? Did that make you uneasy or excited? Well, ready or not, it’s going online at 7pm CST today, and I think we ought to pay some attention to this. Wolfram Alpha You can watch a screencast about Wolfram Alpha here. It does have the potential to seriously wreak havoc on the way we teach math today if students can simply copy all their work from an A.I. website.  Whether you think that it’s time that somebody forced a change, or whether you think it’s just hype and not really a threat, I think we should all be aware that after today, it exists. Possibly Related Posts: Reimagining Calculus Keynote Group Exploration in Math Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM Learning Math is Not a Spectator Sport Recorded Webinar: Teaching Math in...

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Math and the End of the Written Word

Consider this a thought experiment. Suppose, just suppose, that by the year 2050, the written word ceases to exist because of new technologies that allow us to communicate directly between computers and the human brain. I know, it sounds crazy, and maybe it is crazy … but this is a thought experiment. If someone had told you, fifteen years ago, that in 2008 the entire world would be connected to a vast amount of information via a network of computers, that we could access that information-rich world with a device that fits in the palm of your hand, and that we would be able to do almost anything in a virtual world that we can do in the real world, would you have believed them? The year 2050 is 42 years away – what is the likelihood we can even imagine what changes are in store for us? Last summer, I attended a session at the World Future Conference called “The end of the written word?” which consisted of a panel of speakers and then some Q & A. Will Crossman (from CompSpeak 2050) was the first speaker and he started off with his “punchline” so to speak. He is completely convinced that sensory, interactive, multi-modal, voice-driven, visual-driven, computers are going to make text obsolete. His claim is that over the next decades we are going to rapidly replace...

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Nobody Should Learn Algebra

Roger Schank (author of many books about education) has written an interesting piece called “Just the Facts, Ma’am” that actually cites no sources for his “facts” and attempts to lay out an argument for why nobody should learn algebra (“it matters not at all in real life” and “any college professor who is honest will tell you that algebra almost never comes up in any college course”). Thought you might be interested in reading this little gem (found here), and my response: I found it interesting that AFTER you criticize Dr. Faulkner for being a chemist and not a Cognitive Scientist, you claim a whole bunch of observations where you appear to have no expertise (I read your Bio). “The fourth fact is that kids don’t like math much and it is clear why.” Actually there are lots of kids who do like math … and believe it or not, adults too. I’m curious what “facts” you’re basing this “opinion” on – was there some kind of survey that I missed reading? “The fifth fact is that there is no evidence whosoever that says that a nation that is trailing in math test scores will somehow trail in GDP or whatever it is you really care about.” There is a big difference between “no evidence” and evidence to the contrary. There is also no evidence that removing reading from...

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