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.

Three Simple Ideas about Computers in the Curriculum

During my teaching days at the University of Oregon I taught in the Mathematics Department, the Computer Science Department, and the College of Education. The last 20 years or so of my career was in the College of Education where I taught courses about computers in education.

Currently I am associated with a group of approximately 35 University of Oregon faculty members who are concerned about what the UO and/or their particular departments are doing in terms of adequately preparing students for the effective use of computer technology.

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Math Word Problems

For many students, math word problems are the bane of their existence. High school math teachers tell me that a number of their students just refuse to even try to solve such problems—perhaps because of years of failure and unwillingness to subject themselves to further failure. Many other students manage to “get by” through memorization of rules of thumb such as “of” means “times” while “and” often means “plus.” They have little understanding of what they are doing, or how it relates to solving “real world” problems.

I have recently revised and updated my 27-page IAE-pedia document on Math Word Problems (Moursund, 2016a). My target audience is K-12 teachers and parents of students in these grade levels. Unfortunately for struggling students, there is no “magical solution” to solving word problems in this document. However, it contains considerable useful information.

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Progress in Science Leads to Still More Questions

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"Once you have learned how to ask relevant and appropriate questions, you have learned how to learn and no one can keep you from learning whatever you want or need to know." Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner. Teaching as a Subversive Activity.

Recently I viewed Stuart Firestein’s TED Talk, The Pursuit of Ignorance (Feinstein, February, 2013). Firestein is a cognitive neuroscience at Columbia University whose speciality is how the brain processes smells.

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MOOC Enrollment Continues to Grow

The first really large enrollment Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) was run by Stanford University in 2011. During the subsequent four years, the success of these courses as measured by completion rate has been very low. However, the courses have continued to be improved and enrollment in these courses has grown remarkably. Quoting from an article written by Dhawal Shah (12/28/2015):

Student enrollments in MOOCs doubled this year. In fact, more people signed up for MOOCs in 2015 than they did in the first three years of the “modern” MOOC movement (which started in late 2011—when the first Stanford MOOCs took off). According to data collected by Class Central, the total number of students who signed up for at least one course has crossed 35 million—up from an estimated 17 million last year.

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Distant Learning: Potentials and Perils

In this IAE Blog entry, I discuss distance learning, learning in face-to-face environments, and learning as one views and interacts with nature and other aspects of the world. The main focus is on the first two, so let me briefly dispense with the third.

Long before we had schools and the three R’s, people learned by themselves through their interactions with the natural world in which they lived. We are built to learn from what we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch in “nature.” A human teacher can help in this mode of learning, but each of us is innately able to learn through interaction with the natural world.

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