Friday math movie: Conrad Wolfram on Teaching kids real math with computers

By Murray Bourne, 04 Mar 2011

I agree with most of what Conrad Wolfram says in this video.

School mathematics is too mechanical and too much time is spent on calculation. Now that computers are so pervasive, we should spend more time on understanding and application and less on tedious drill and kill.

Conrad Wolfram with his brother Stephen founded Wolfram Research and produced the Mathematica computer algebra system and Wolfram|Alpha, the brilliant "computational search engine".

So let's see Wolfram's answer to "Why are we teaching math?".

Of course, we still need to do some calculation on paper to get a sense of what math software is doing for us.

What are your thoughts on this (espcially if you are a student)?

See the 6 Comments below.

6 Comments on “Friday math movie: Conrad Wolfram on Teaching kids real math with computers”

  1. Peter Price says:

    Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this video - Conrad Wolfram expresses these thoughts better than I could.

  2. Joe Kinsley says:

    Having last done maths seriously at University 50 years ago and school before that I have dug out my University notes and started all over again including buying a graphics calculator. Conrad Wolfram's presentation is excellent and confirms my recent thinking about learning maths. He hits the nail on the head. How long will it take to convert everyone else in the teaching business? How I wish I was young again! The prospects in education in the future look promising when listening to Conrad.

  3. Murray says:

    Hi Joe. Mathematics teachers are a very conservative group. I think a lot of the resitance is because they see their job disappearing if we start using the widely available math software.

    But their job won't disappear - it will just change into something more meaningful!

  4. Sweetapple says:

    Does the resistance come from the math teachers?

    As a math teacher in the classroom I am forced to follow the state education department's idea of what should be taught and my district's vision of how.

    The policy makers must be convinced that education needs to change.

  5. Murray says:

    Good point, Sweetapple. There are many math teachers who want to do things differently, but are constrained by antiquated curriculum, 19th century learning spaces or overly-conservative bosses.

  6. Richard Bediaku says:

    I thank you very much for helping me with your software and questions.It's great to be part of this family.

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