27 December 2007

More than “What kinda map ya want?”

Filed under: education,ICT — admin @ 1:49 am

We all know the story about the kid who couldn’t find Iraq on any map, but when asked to find Iraq on the Internet, the kid said “What kinda map ya want?”. Oh cool – our kids are so smart. But is this the end of the story?

  • Is it enough for our kids to be able to say “What kinda map ya want?” ?

I think not.

The right idea: As teachers, parents and citizens we complain our kids can’t find Iraq on the map. Now, we are told that this is the wrong quiz question for this generation and – in fact – the wrong quiz question for any generation. I can find countries on a map; I can drag out my 35 year-old NG atlas and probably give you alot of information from it without even looking. But I will have to be very, very lucky if I can answer a real question with that information.

  • Eureka! What we really need is all kinds of maps at our finger-tips so that we can find the right map that answers the question.

The (not-quite-whole) story: Just yesterday my son needed to use the formula for the chemical process of a car battery. He could not understand the explanation in his textbook. It took us 5 minutes to find it online; we found several references so that he was able to confirm the formula (different from the incorrect/incomplete one in his textbook). Then he looked through the different explanations, printed out the one he could best understand, reread it, annotated it and started successfully solving the problems.

  • Eureka! What we really need is a new education. Our kids will be able to quickly find all kinds of maps.

The (not-quite-right) conclusion:

Our kids can find any map – hence they are learning the right stuff.

Bad deduction – just the bad kind of mathematics I hate. No thinking involved!

The real story: Notice the “it took us 5 minutes to find it online”. There is a whole story here (and many wasted hours and frustration) before we got to this point and it was me – the old lady teacher, with no knowledge at all about chemistry – that was able to get the right stuff and show him how to use it.

Why? Because whatever and however I got it and whether it is library book or internet based -

  • My education taught me the thinking-steps to use to get me with confidence from question to answer.

Neither question: “Where on the map?” and “What kinda map ya want?” is the right kind of education.

  • What we really want is to hear our kids say: “Yes! Here’s the map I need!”

These blogs – my SL2RL journey – is to explore specific, step-by-step, ready-to-use, free stuff using technology that can help get our children get to this “Yes!”.

11 December 2007

SL2RL-Math247 Getting Started

Filed under: SL — admin @ 1:22 pm

This will be my blog on my second life.

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