Sunday, May 25, 2008

Powers of 10, a mathematics video

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Study Suggests Math Teachers Scrap Balls and Slices

A controlled experiment among college students found that those who learned their mathematical principles through abstract equations learned them better than those who learned through concrete example and those who learned by abstract equations followed by concrete example.

I've seen so many classrooms where the students are trying to figuring out how to determine how many fingers and toes there are in a room. My complaint has always been that the question is just plain weird. Who would ask that? Why would they want to know in the first place? Who would it hurt if the students tried to answer questions that had a little real world relevance?


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Boys and girls process language differently

"Although researchers have long agreed that girls have superior language abilities than boys, until now no one has clearly provided a biological basis that may account for their differences.

For the first time -- and in unambiguous findings -- researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Haifa show both that areas of the brain associated with language work harder in girls than in boys during language tasks, and that boys and girls rely on different parts of the brain when performing these tasks.

The researchers have found that language areas in girls' brains worked harder when they were being tested by reading or auditory means.

In boys' brains, however it was the hearing or visual centers that worked harder, and not the language centers.

Researchers speculate that there may have been an evolutionary advantage to men being able to focus their hearing and sight in avoiding dangers.

But I've been saying that all along.

Tests were run on boys and girls age 9 to 13. They will need to duplicate the experiment on adults in order to make sure that this is not something that children grow out of.

ScienceDaily (Mar. 5, 2008)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Why schools should exclusively use free software

This article offers numerous reasons why schools should use free open source software. The one I think is most important is related to the money one, but in a way which has not been touched on.

The problem is that, as the article says, purchasing proprietary software (or receiving it for free) generally leaves the school system responsible for purchasing upgrades. Consider that most systems I've worked for have computers that are well past their expected hardware life. One system just upgraded its ancient computers from Windows 2000 to XP. Some of these machines did not take the upgrade gracefully. How much of that money could have gone to purchase of modest but new equipment?


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Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Jesus story: comparisons between religions

I don't know what the maker of this movie said to get it taken down so many times. It's been up now since June, so I guess that's been taken care of.

It would be better without the intro entirely.

This is something that every child should hear in school. It concerns literature, history, science, and religion. Unfortunately most schoolchildren have no idea what different religions believe in, and many have only half a clue about what they consider to be their own religion.

Before anybody gets upset, I'll explain with two examples, from opposite ends of what I'd call the Fervency spectrum, both illustrating how ignorance, while not being particularly blissful, can certainly be self-perpetuating.

Example 1: A class is learning about the ancient Egyptians, and the students get very upset to hear the details of what the ancient Egyptians believed in and how it guided their lives, because the Egyptians were wrong. There is only one God, and we should not even read about such things.

Example 2: Two Muslim students are accosted by a class of nominally Christian students who demand that they explain and justify their religion. On questioning, it turns out that none of the "Christian" students have a clear understanding the beliefs and practices of the religions they claim to be their own. The most outspoken of the group, in fact, has never received any religious instruction nor even set foot in a church.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Forgot all about this blog, but I'm BAACK!

Texas math books wrought with errors

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Reviewers have found 109,263 errors in sample copies of math textbooks to be used next fall in Texas.

One second-grade math book, for example, has 4 plus 7 equaling 10, the San Antonio Express-News reported Friday.

Texas is clearly leading the way. Government-mandated mediocrity. Seriously, the article says that the errors will be ironed out before the books are in the hands of the students. Do the errors also get fixed for states where there is no Central Committee to run a massive study and demand that they are fixed?


Did you know that the sooner you start your kids drinking cola, the better they fit in? Laboratory tests show... Classic poster

Thursday, August 31, 2006

My thoughts on education, or yet another new blog

Just a little introduction about this blog and me. To begin, I actually started this blog account sometime last year when somebody posted something in a Blogger blog, and I felt strongly enough about it to respond. Don't you know it, they made me start a blog account! At that time I had two blogs going already, more fits than starts, and I had no need of another blog. So naturally I never posted.

Fast forward to today. Since then I have abandoned one of my blogs for lack of motivation on the part of myself and no discernable interest on the part of the readers. I've started several more on a variety of topics unrelated to any previous, and now I feel that I need to spin off a topic or two - one blog tending to go several ways simultaneously - so I decided to start by putting one of the new blogs here.

In fact, I've been saving up a few topics I've run into that didn't seem to fit at all in any blog I'm presently keeping, so I've got a few posts planned out in advance.

This blog is going to be my observations, perspectives, and analysis on education. That could mean a lot of things to different readers and writers, and yes, it can be all those things. I have been an eccentric, opinionated person all my life, and I have not let the fact that I earned a teaching certificate a few years ago prevent me from forming my own opinions. In the past I've been interested in homeschooling, which can take you way out to the edge of the envelope. I see things happening in schools around me, I read what is written about what is supposed to be happening, and I shake my head in disbelief.

The education system we have is based on a great many unsupportable premises, as are the positions of most opponents, so there will be plenty of issues for me to argue over. Please bring up points that I have missed - sometimes they will give me more material to use for future entries. But remember that this is my blog. I will attempt to discuss your position with you civilly...but if I see your arguments as baseless and self-serving, I will tell you that right out, and when I am done with it the discussion will end.

Perhaps my goal should be to offend everybody equally so as not to discriminate unduly. That is a noble goal, and a challenging one. We'll see how I do.