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16 Sep 2005 - 18:51 Tom Friedman. No sooner do I coin the term page splatter than I discover that Friedman has, today, published an op-ed calling for the complete and total destruction of Singapore's mathematics curriculum as we know it.
Singaporean math textbooks are very good. My daughter's school already uses them in Maryland. But they are static and not illustrated or animated. "Our lessons [at HeyMath] contain animated visuals that remove the abstraction underlying the concept, provide interactivity for students to understand concepts in a 'hands on' manner and make connections to real-life contexts so that learning becomes relevant," Mrs. Sankaran said. [snip] With a team of Indian, British and Chinese math and education specialists, the HeyMath group basically said to itself: If you were a parent anywhere in the world and you noticed that Singapore kids, or Indian kids or Chinese kids, were doing really well in math, wouldn't you like to see the best textbooks, teaching and assessment tools, or the lesson plans that they were using to teach fractions to fourth graders or quadratic equations to 10th graders? And wouldn't it be nice if one company then put all these best practices together with animation tools, and delivered them through the Internet so any teacher in the world could adopt or adapt them to his or her classroom?
Glencoe page splatter
Doug Sundseth on ransom note typography
Tom Friedman piles on
distance tutors & mathematicallycorrect review Glencoe
page splatter and the frontal lobes
page splatter redux
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Am I reading that right? Are they starting to water down their curriculum in the name of creativity? Hey, maybe we'll stand a fighting chance at beating them now. Alrighty. -- SusanS - 16 Sep 2005
Yeah.....part of me thinks: hey, we've got them beat on creativity & now we'll be On Par for actual knowledge of math. Looks like Singapore's Moment In The Sum is gonna be brief. -- CatherineJohnson - 16 Sep 2005
This article is so confusing that I don't know where to begin. They don't explain what creativity means. "Numerical skills are very important," she told me, but "I am now also encouraging my students to be creative - and empowering my teachers. ... We have been loosening up and allowing people to grow their own ideas." Going beyond the mechanics of math to apply basic skills in creative ways is good (many engineering colleges have project courses, like the solar car challenge, underwater vehicles, and concrete canoes), but then there is this: She added, "We have shifted the emphasis from content alone to making use of the content" on the principle that "knowledge can be created in the classroom and doesn't just have to come from the teacher." Doesn't come from the teacher? Does this means that they see creativity as constructivism? Why is it that reform math sees creativity and conceptual understanding only in terms of a student-centered, real-world, top-down approach to learning? They think that learning or being taught what is inside of the box precludes thinking outside of the box. Actually, it's the other way around. You have to know what is inside of the box to be able to think outside of the box. (I'm not talking about the sort of creativity that creates a product like the Pet Rock.) Then, there is this: "Singaporean math textbooks are very good. My daughter's school already uses them in Maryland. But they are static and not illustrated or animated. "Our lessons contain animated visuals that remove the abstraction underlying the concept, provide interactivity for students to understand concepts in a 'hands on' manner and make connections to real-life contexts so that learning becomes relevant," Mrs. Sankaran said." Are they now talking about creativity in the presentation of the material and learning techniques? That is what HeyMath? sounds like it's doing. You would think that a country that has the common sense to create (!) a curriculum like Singapore Math would be able to see that American creativity (whatever that is) has nothing to do with our average mathematical capabilities. Why would they think that there is a linkage between the two? Do you have to be bad in math to be creative? Perhaps some are confusing creativity with entrepeneurship and the willingness to take risks. -- SteveH - 17 Sep 2005
We have infected Singapore with our own misguided, lousy ideas. That's one way to take down your competition. -- CarolynJohnston - 21 Sep 2005