IAE Blog

Information Age Education (IAE) is an Oregon not-for-profit corporation founded by David Moursund in August 2007. The IAE Blog was started in August 2010.

Teaching Kids Real Math with Computers (17-minute TED Video)

For most of my professional career I have been advocating major changes in the school math curriculum to better reflect the changes being brought about by computers. In brief summary, much of our school math curriculum content focuses on helping students learn to do by hand the computations and symbol manipulations that computers can do much more rapidly and accurately.

This TED video provides a really neat summary of my thoughts:

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Computer Technology: Solutions Looking for a Problem and Problems Looking for a Solution

Many years ago I heard the statement that a computer is a solution looking for a problem. This statement has stuck in my head, and it still seems relevant.

The history of computing devices is usually traced back many thousands of years ago to the abacus and still earlier aids to counting and keeping track of quantities. An abacus is an excellent and easy-to-learn aid to adding and subtracting integers.

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Garbage in, Garbage Out—For Computer and Human Brains

The idea of GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) is suggested by the following statement by Charles Babbage:

On two occasions I have been asked—"Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. (Charles Babbage; English mathematician, philosopher, inventor, and mechanical engineer who originated the concept of a programmable computer; 1791–1871).

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Staff Development for Teachers of Students Who Have Learned Some Computer Science

The previous IAE Blog entry discussed a ninth grade Computer Science course that is being required for all students in a Pennsylvania school district (9/29/2010). The course includes an emphasis on problem solving. However, we all know that problem solving is an important component of every academic course and that computers are an important aid to problem solving in every discipline.

As students gain this computer science knowledge and skills one would expect that they would want to use their new knowledge and skills, both while in the ninth grade and in subsequent grades. This means that all of their teachers will be faced by students wanting to use their newly acquired computer-oriented knowledge and skills.

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A Pennsylvania School District Requires Computer Science for All Ninth Graders

In browsing the Web today, I came across a newspaper article reporting on a school district requiring all ninth graders to take a computer course. (http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20100927_Springfield_High_looks_at_computers_in-depth.html.) The Springfield Township district is the first in Pennsylvania to mandate that students take a computer science course as a graduation requirement.

I read the article to see what it might have to say about students learning computer science.

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