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education at any level

On teaching with slides

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 1:53pm

Interesting editorial by Danielle Fleischman of the Indiana Daily Student about "The Power of PowerPoint"

When it comes to learning in the 21st century, the use of computer-generated slides is a no-brainer. Students prefer to have the visual aide during lectures, claiming that it helps them to maintain interest and retain material.

Unfortunately, the quality of PowerPoint presentations varies from professor to professor.

She gives suggestions for best practices when using slides in lectures. I started to leave a long-winded comment but then thought it would make a better blog post.

A new chapter

Saturday, September 18, 2010 - 7:59am

So I've been teaching calculus for over 10 years, almost (with the exception of one summer) exclusively out of some flavor of Stewart. And I've been a fan of the web and delivering content over the internet since beginning—I was cobbling together course web pages in the 90s before Blackboard and fancy content management systems were around.

BYU students answer question "When will I use math?"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 - 3:08pm

Via MAA News, a new website put out by math undergrads at BYU shows just what math is good for. Pretty, cool, and pretty cool.

Tyler Jarvis, head of the department, blogs:

Paul Sally vs. Tiger Woods

Thursday, July 23, 2009 - 7:44pm

Paul J. Sally, Jr., Professor Mathematics at the University of Chicago. Photographed at the Legacy of R. L. Moore conference in Austin, Texas, July 2008

My friend and U of C classmate pointed out to me an interview in a recent issue of the Chicago Maroon with Paul Sally, Professor of Mathematics and mentor to generations of mathematicians and mathematics educators. He has a few good words about the practice.

The sky is not falling (anymore? yet?)

Thursday, March 19, 2009 - 12:25am

A few months ago David Bressoud (incoming president of the MAA) wrote an article for Notices of the AMS called "Is the Sky Still Falling?" It refers to a 1995 Notices article (titled "The Sky is Falling") which worried about a rapid decline in the number of students enrolling in mathematics courses.

Bressoud's article contains good news and bad news. The good news is that enrollment in college math courses is up. One bit of bad news is that enrollment in all college courses is up, too, and the percentage of enrollments which are math courses continues to drop.

Hand Gestures Help Math Skills, Study Concludes

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - 9:11am

A story in School Library Journal highlights a new article which gives a different meaning to the term "Active Learning":

It’s long been known that movement helps people remember and retrieve information about an event or physical activity associated with action. But psychologist Susan Goldin-Meadow’s article, “Gesturing Gives Children New Ideas About Math,” is the first to show that gestures also help create new ideas.

“This study highlights the importance of motor learning even in nonmotor tasks, and suggests that we may be able to lay the foundation for new knowledge just by telling learners how to move their hands,” writes Goldin-Meadow in her article, now appearing in the current issue of the journal Psychological Science.

Deep Thought

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 - 1:53pm

A little long for a tweet, but too short for a big post:

Students have trouble differentiating between what you tell them because you want them to know it, and what you tell them because you want them to do it.

What would Jason Lezak do?

Monday, August 11, 2008 - 3:47pm

(From L) US swimmers Garrett Weber-Gale, Jason Lezak, Michael Phelps and Cullen Jones celebrate after winning the men's 4X100m freestyle relay swimming final at the National Aquatics Center in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on August 11, 2008. The United States stunned France in an epic men's 4x100m freestyle relay final Monday to keep Michael Phelps's dream of eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics alive. AFP PHOTO / DDP / MICHAEL KAPPELER (Photo credit should read MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images)

I've been reading Steven Krantz's book How to Teach Mathematics lately, looking for some words of wisdom. One item has resurfaced during these Olympics.

All learning of significant knowledge requires considerable effort on the part of the learner. This fact has not changed since Euclid told Ptolemy (over 2000 years ago) that "There is no royal road to geometry."...

Go to any athletic facility and you will see young people spending hours perfecting their free throw or their skate board technique or their butterfly stroke. They don't hire tutors to achieve these goals...An eighteen-year-old understands clearly when an athletic coach says, "No pain, no gain." However, the same concept makes little sense to him in the context of mathematics or another deep academic subject.

Education and global competitiveness

Monday, August 4, 2008 - 9:42am

David Brooks writes today in the New York Times about the state of education in the US.