Comments on: Conrad Wolfram’s TED Talk: “Stop Teaching Calculating, Start Teaching Math” http://blog.wolfram.com/2010/11/23/conrad-wolframs-ted-talk-stop-teaching-calculating-start-teaching-math/ News, views, and ideas from the front lines at Wolfram Research. Fri, 20 Jul 2018 11:21:56 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 By: Deepa http://blog.wolfram.com/2010/11/23/conrad-wolframs-ted-talk-stop-teaching-calculating-start-teaching-math/comment-page-1/#comment-125414 Deepa Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:27:42 +0000 http://blog.internal.wolfram.com/?p=4176#comment-125414 My high schooler bought this for himself recently. It's a pretty extraordinary product. Messing with Mathematica - what a fun way to spend his free time! Thank you for the huge student discount. My high schooler bought this for himself recently. It’s a pretty extraordinary product. Messing with Mathematica – what a fun way to spend his free time! Thank you for the huge student discount.

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By: Prudence http://blog.wolfram.com/2010/11/23/conrad-wolframs-ted-talk-stop-teaching-calculating-start-teaching-math/comment-page-1/#comment-88831 Prudence Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:41:20 +0000 http://blog.internal.wolfram.com/?p=4176#comment-88831 Absolutely fantastic idea. I just don't believe it can be executed any time soon. Although computers are "ubiquitous" as Wolfram stated, the technology in schools is at least a decade behind. Funding for education would have to be increased to a much higher degree than I think politicians (and perhaps the public) would agree to. Moreover, who will teach this subject? If the math teacher had all this programming and computer math knowledge, they would likely not be a low paid teacher! Again, teacher salaries (at least for math teachers) would have to be increased to get skilled professionals who would take on such a job that is sadly no longer respected these days. Find a way to solve these issues and I think this idea could get some traction in a few decades. Absolutely fantastic idea. I just don’t believe it can be executed any time soon. Although computers are “ubiquitous” as Wolfram stated, the technology in schools is at least a decade behind. Funding for education would have to be increased to a much higher degree than I think politicians (and perhaps the public) would agree to. Moreover, who will teach this subject? If the math teacher had all this programming and computer math knowledge, they would likely not be a low paid teacher! Again, teacher salaries (at least for math teachers) would have to be increased to get skilled professionals who would take on such a job that is sadly no longer respected these days. Find a way to solve these issues and I think this idea could get some traction in a few decades.

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By: Tom http://blog.wolfram.com/2010/11/23/conrad-wolframs-ted-talk-stop-teaching-calculating-start-teaching-math/comment-page-1/#comment-66567 Tom Wed, 03 Dec 2014 07:18:21 +0000 http://blog.internal.wolfram.com/?p=4176#comment-66567 Your comments about computer diagnostics reminded me of something I read a few years ago, regarding the observation by many college physics professors that the problem solving abilities of their incoming students had declined from what they used to be. One thing that many of them felt contributed to this situation was that they now had a generation of students who had not worked on their own cars when they were in high school. I would not suggest that we reject the modern technology of automobiles, but I do think that the need to get your hands dirty (literally or figuratively) is often part of gaining a deep and creative understanding of a subject. Your comments about computer diagnostics reminded me of something I read a few years ago, regarding the observation by many college physics professors that the problem solving abilities of their incoming students had declined from what they used to be. One thing that many of them felt contributed to this situation was that they now had a generation of students who had not worked on their own cars when they were in high school. I would not suggest that we reject the modern technology of automobiles, but I do think that the need to get your hands dirty (literally or figuratively) is often part of gaining a deep and creative understanding of a subject.

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By: AnnMaria http://blog.wolfram.com/2010/11/23/conrad-wolframs-ted-talk-stop-teaching-calculating-start-teaching-math/comment-page-1/#comment-29036 AnnMaria Sat, 22 Jun 2013 18:41:26 +0000 http://blog.internal.wolfram.com/?p=4176#comment-29036 I teach graduate-level statistics and I also run a company that makes math games. Our games DO teach computation - what is 7 x5, what is 56 divided by 8 - but most of this is done within the dreaded "word problems". Where I completely agree with Wolfram is the idea that we overemphasize computation and underemphasize everything else. What I need my employees to do is not tell me the answer to 25 times 5 but "If we have five employees working at $25 per hour, what is the total hourly cost to staff the support desk? What is the difference in cost for 24-7 coverage versus a 40-hour week?" I teach graduate-level statistics and I also run a company that makes math games. Our games DO teach computation – what is 7 x5, what is 56 divided by 8 – but most of this is done within the dreaded “word problems”. Where I completely agree with Wolfram is the idea that we overemphasize computation and underemphasize everything else. What I need my employees to do is not tell me the answer to 25 times 5 but “If we have five employees working at $25 per hour, what is the total hourly cost to staff the support desk? What is the difference in cost for 24-7 coverage versus a 40-hour week?”

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By: counsel dew http://blog.wolfram.com/2010/11/23/conrad-wolframs-ted-talk-stop-teaching-calculating-start-teaching-math/comment-page-1/#comment-15447 counsel dew Fri, 22 Jun 2012 22:27:55 +0000 http://blog.internal.wolfram.com/?p=4176#comment-15447 Ok...I'll say it... Not teaching step 3 and letting computers do step 3 really benefits ... oh... a company that makes a program that ... calculates. Making more people capable isn't easy, but I think we aren't asking the right question (#1) to solve the problem. YMMV. Ok…I’ll say it… Not teaching step 3 and letting computers do step 3 really benefits … oh… a company that makes a program that … calculates. Making more people capable isn’t easy, but I think we aren’t asking the right question (#1) to solve the problem. YMMV.

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By: counsel dew http://blog.wolfram.com/2010/11/23/conrad-wolframs-ted-talk-stop-teaching-calculating-start-teaching-math/comment-page-1/#comment-15444 counsel dew Fri, 22 Jun 2012 22:10:50 +0000 http://blog.internal.wolfram.com/?p=4176#comment-15444 Actually, he does say to let computets do step 3. To "we should be assuming computers to do the calculating. "only doing hand calculations when it really makes sense to teach people that." Sorry, but driving a car != engineering a car. I am, however, bothered... Those who don't know would be more dependent on those who do... Who would program the computers to compute? Right, only those who learned how to calculate... Again, teach logic to get #1 first. Then, use reason to move through the steps until you get to #4. Have computers made English use better or worse? Easy != better. Just my 2 cents. Computers might work for you better than calculating. The same is not true for everyone. Perhaps only the few geniuses will ever "feel mathematics." Actually, he does say to let computets do step 3. To “we should be assuming computers to do the calculating. “only doing hand calculations when it really makes sense to teach people that.” Sorry, but driving a car != engineering a car. I am, however, bothered… Those who don’t know would be more dependent on those who do… Who would program the computers to compute? Right, only those who learned how to calculate…

Again, teach logic to get #1 first. Then, use reason to move through the steps until you get to #4. Have computers made English use better or worse? Easy != better. Just my 2 cents. Computers might work for you better than calculating. The same is not true for everyone. Perhaps only the few geniuses will ever “feel mathematics.”

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By: counsel dew http://blog.wolfram.com/2010/11/23/conrad-wolframs-ted-talk-stop-teaching-calculating-start-teaching-math/comment-page-1/#comment-15436 counsel dew Fri, 22 Jun 2012 21:47:27 +0000 http://blog.internal.wolfram.com/?p=4176#comment-15436 In a disaster, where we may have little computer-power, what then? Did Einstein have trouble doing 1, 2, or 4? No. What we need is to figure a better method to teach everyone how to think-how to use logic to define 1 and then to go from 1 to 2, from 2 to 3, and from 3 to 4. Unless you can send computers to all that need them, I can calculate. If kids don't learn #3 and can't calculate without a computer, the next question we will have a TED presentation asking will be, "Who can?" In a disaster, where we may have little computer-power, what then? Did Einstein have trouble doing 1, 2, or 4? No. What we need is to figure a better method to teach everyone how to think-how to use logic to define 1 and then to go from 1 to 2, from 2 to 3, and from 3 to 4. Unless you can send computers to all that need them, I can calculate. If kids don’t learn #3 and can’t calculate without a computer, the next question we will have a TED presentation asking will be, “Who can?”

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By: Terry V http://blog.wolfram.com/2010/11/23/conrad-wolframs-ted-talk-stop-teaching-calculating-start-teaching-math/comment-page-1/#comment-6881 Terry V Tue, 06 Dec 2011 21:56:38 +0000 http://blog.internal.wolfram.com/?p=4176#comment-6881 I agree with integrating math and technology. If 21st century skills include compute technology, then computers should become part of the math teaching arena. As instructors begin to incorporate technology and experiment with new strategies and activities in the delivery the course, such as using technology to make calculation, the dynamics in the classroom will change as students becoming more involved in the learning environment. Math instructors should move this agenda forward. I agree with integrating math and technology. If 21st century skills include compute technology, then computers should become part of the math teaching arena. As instructors begin to incorporate technology and experiment with new strategies and activities in the delivery the course, such as using technology to make calculation, the dynamics in the classroom will change as students becoming more involved in the learning environment. Math instructors should move this agenda forward.

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By: Hosenfepper http://blog.wolfram.com/2010/11/23/conrad-wolframs-ted-talk-stop-teaching-calculating-start-teaching-math/comment-page-1/#comment-6076 Hosenfepper Wed, 10 Aug 2011 16:53:53 +0000 http://blog.internal.wolfram.com/?p=4176#comment-6076 Loved this video presentation. Why? It simply makes sense. As someone who learned Auto-Mechanics back in the late 70's in high school, very little of what I learned then is practical now with all of the computer based equipment & engines under the hood. Times change so does technology, thus WHY continue to teach rote calculations when a machine can do the hard work for you? I can use a Sun computer to diagnose what's wrong with a car FASTER than I can the trial & error method taught in auto-mechanics. And at $75/hr for service, would you want me doing a trial & error method to find out why your car's idiot light is on OR should I use the Sun Diagnostics computer? Calculations can be done by computers & hand calculators so let them. Society is changing. Cursive writing is being phased out just like Latin was in public schools. If America does not keep up with the times, the times will pass America by. Loved this video presentation. Why? It simply makes sense. As someone who learned Auto-Mechanics back in the late 70′s in high school, very little of what I learned then is practical now with all of the computer based equipment & engines under the hood. Times change so does technology, thus WHY continue to teach rote calculations when a machine can do the hard work for you? I can use a Sun computer to diagnose what’s wrong with a car FASTER than I can the trial & error method taught in auto-mechanics. And at $75/hr for service, would you want me doing a trial & error method to find out why your car’s idiot light is on OR should I use the Sun Diagnostics computer?

Calculations can be done by computers & hand calculators so let them. Society is changing. Cursive writing is being phased out just like Latin was in public schools. If America does not keep up with the times, the times will pass America by.

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By: silver http://blog.wolfram.com/2010/11/23/conrad-wolframs-ted-talk-stop-teaching-calculating-start-teaching-math/comment-page-1/#comment-5111 silver Thu, 31 Mar 2011 21:09:58 +0000 http://blog.internal.wolfram.com/?p=4176#comment-5111 Bob, you are missing the fine point. He never says don't teach people how to calculate. He says, quite equating calculation with math. You need to figure out when can we move beyond over doing it on computation. Plus, you characterize entering computer values into a program as a thoughtless exercise That's a strawman argument. Any teacher with skills can encourage computational and mathematical reasoning with a computer that goes beyond ' enter number here.' No one would do what you are describing, and if they did, they've be worthy of critique. Bob, you are missing the fine point. He never says don’t teach people how to calculate. He says, quite equating calculation with math. You need to figure out when can we move beyond over doing it on computation. Plus, you characterize entering computer values into a program as a thoughtless exercise That’s a strawman argument. Any teacher with skills can encourage computational and mathematical reasoning with a computer that goes beyond ‘ enter number here.’ No one would do what you are describing, and if they did, they’ve be worthy of critique.

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