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.

Two Historically Important Math Educators

Since you are reading this short article, I assume that you are involved with and/or interested in math education. Can you name some of the people who have made important contributions to this area?

This Information Age Education Blog entry names two of my favorites, George Polya and Seymour Papert.

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Keith Devlin’s Thoughts About a Modern Mathematics Education

Keith Devlin has long been a world class math educator. This IAE Blog entry discusses his recent article, All the Mathematical Methods I Learned in My University Math Degree Became Obsolete in My Lifetime (Devlin, 01/01/2017). Quoting Devlin:

When I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from one of the most prestigious university mathematics programs in the world (Kings College London) in 1968, I had acquired a set of skills that guaranteed full employment, wherever I chose to go, for the then-foreseeable future—a state of affairs that had been in existence ever since modern mathematics began some three thousand years earlier. By the turn of the new Millennium, however, just over thirty years later, those skills were essentially worthless, having been very effectively outsourced to machines that did it faster and more reliably, and were made widely available with the onset of first desktop- and then cloud-computing. In a single lifetime, I experienced first-hand a dramatic change in the nature of mathematics and how it played a role in society. [Bold added for emphasis.]

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A Personal Philosophy of Education

I have recently thoroughly revised and updated my IAE-pedia document, Free Math Software (Moursund, 7/15/2016). This site includes my current philosophy of education that emphasizes current and future roles of computers.

My Philosophy of Education

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New Games Book by Bob Albrecht— Play Together, Learn Together : Roll, Pick, and Add Dice Games

Watch a first grade student playing a game that involves rolling dice. Probably you can look at the outcome of rolling a pair of dice and immediately say the total. The first grader may need to carefully count one die and then keep going with the second. The transition to the level of expertise you have comes from practice. People who advocate use of games in math education want the practice to be fun and to include additional learning activities.

For example, suppose only one die is rolled, and it comes out 4. Is it likely that, when a second die is rolled and added to the first, the total will be 11 or higher? (This is a tricky question—you want to challenge the child.) That is certainly a challenging question to most first graders. Answering it takes some understanding of the number line and some practice at doing mental arithmetic.

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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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