I am Keith Devlin’s pet guinea pig …

Let me begin with an admission of guilt: I should probably be getting my classroom and first few days’ activities finalized right now. Okay, now for something

book coverOne of my favorite books about math is Keith Devlin’s Math Gene. I first read it a couple years into teaching, and parts of it made me rethink and retool my thought processes on how people learn math.  Devlin stresses that everyone is capable of mathematics as it is very much a human activity and argues language and mathematics are interconnected products of the human brain. I’m not really doing the book justice with such a short blurb, but I would recommend it to any math teacher. Anyways, I heard a while back that Keith Devlin was going to offer a free online course on mathematical thinking. The sort of class many undergraduate math majors take sophomore year and realize (if they haven’t already) that math after calculus is going back to the basics, making them more abstract in many cases, and then proving concepts that maybe you had been taking for granted – i.e. the focus of mathematics shifts almost completely away from calculating (skills) to understanding (concepts).

 

I’ve enrolled in the course; fortunately, it begins several weeks after school starts. It may not be in person, but I didn’t feel like I could pass up the chance to sit in on a course by one of my favorite authors. If all goes well, I’ve got a few other courses that have piqued my interest. Some people ask ‘is this the future of education?’ – no, I don’t think you can completely replace classroom teachers with technology, but the buzz surrounding online learning such as Khan Academy and Coursera is not likely to disappear anytime soon. Flipped learning probably isn’t a fad.

I’m sure I won’t be the only math-ed blogger (especially since I can just barely include myself in that category at this point) to participate in this grand experiment, but I haven’t seen a lot of other posts about this yet. Let me know if you happen to find this post and will also be participating!

 

PS – My next post will likely build upon this theme and be about some of the technology I’ll be using in classes this fall.

 

 

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