Category: Curiosity

Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day

I’ve been spending the first 5-10 minutes of every 2-hour math class discussing graphs in the news with my students. I’ll give you a few examples of what came up naturally week by week: Lots of social media graphs: Slope of the adoption rates for new users, the DAU (daily active users) and MAU (monthly active users) over time, and comparison of the adoption of new features in different platforms (Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) Tech industry: Growth of Amazon, Facebook, and Google, rise in employees at these companies, and comparison the money spent on Black Friday in the...

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Elaborations for Creative Thinking in STEM

As I watch the proliferation of digital learning platforms, particularly in STEM education (where there are lots of objective-type problems), I am excited by the increased focus on learning and adaptivity but also a little uneasy. For the most part the motivations to “go digital” are pure – increase access to courses that students need, provide help that is more tailored to each student, give immediate feedback, provide more practice if the student wants it, and let students move at their own pace. My worry is that math and science students aren’t getting anything but highly-structured problems. Every problem that a...

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Learning Math is Not a Spectator Sport

In November, I gave the keynote at the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) Conference in Denver. I have given versions of this talk that are not specific for mathematics, but I don’t have recordings of those. I promise that the math in this talk is not inaccessible and is used more for examples than a framework for the talk. In other words, don’t let the word “math” scare you away. The alternate version of the talk is “Learning is Not a Spectator Sport.” The first half of the video is the awards ceremony, so I’ve directed the...

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AMATYC Keynote Notes: Challenge and Curiosity

In the 2016 AMATYC keynote, I covered three main themes: Interaction & Impasse (last post) Challenge & Curiosity (this post) Durable Learning Here are references and resources for Challenge & Curiosity: First, I have to point you to one of my favorite books on the subject, A Theory of Fun for Game Design, by Raph Koster. Quote from Game Design: “How do I get somebody to learn something that is long and difficult and takes a lot of commitment, but get them to learn it well?” – James Gee How do players learn a game?  They give it a try They...

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