Archive for July, 2005

When the Big One hits…

When I lived in Japan in the late 1980s, we would morbidly discuss worst-case earthquake scenarios. The "Big One" - a massive earthquake that will hit Tokyo - is long overdue. On average, massive earthquakes have hit the region every 70 years or so. The last one was in 1923, when most of the loss […]

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Speed of light?

How come when you pay a bill via Internet banking, the message is: Please note that the organisation may take 2 to 3 working days for the payment processing. Oh yeah, that's right - the bank can make $$ on your money while they are waiting for it to "clear". Another banking scam... See the […]

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MapleNet 10 - great promise, but who’s got time?

Maple have released an interesting add-on which is supposed to provide "interactive math over the Web". MapleNet works by creating a document using Maple 10 and then embedding it within an HTML page and publishing it on a MapleNet server. This gives java applets that the user can interact with by changing parameters. The resulting […]

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Freedom to Learn…

There is an interesting laptop programme in Michigan. It shows "dramatic" improvement in test scores after students started to use laptop computers daily. Hmmm... when will educators ever realise that education is a multi-variable situation? No one event leads to a "certain" outcome. Maybe the laptops stimulated the teachers to do things differently? Maybe the […]

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Can pass a test, but still useless?

The interesting debate about No Child Left Behind continues. Stacy Debroff, in an article on MSNBC Today[no longer available], laments that... Instead of raising children who love to learn and solve problems creatively, we are raising a generation of terrific test takers. Hmmm - it sounds a lot like the affliction that traditional Asian schools […]

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It’s clunky, but it’s free

NewsU is an interesting site. It provides free e-learning modules, aimed at journalists. Of course, I chose "Math for Journalists" to see what it was about. (Registration is simple and quick). Unfortunately, it is rather confusing to navigate (some links didn't work as expected and it wasn't always clear what the learner was supposed to […]

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Bill Gates in Singapore

Bill spoke at the Microsoft forum in Singapore last week The audience of 6000, which included many students, was respectfully silent throughout. Bill's one-hour Powerpoint-based talk was mostly forgettable - several people that I asked commented that they found it "hard to follow". I felt it lacked spark and was not very inspiring. He spoke […]

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No (Rich) Child Left Behind…

It seems to me that there is a critical shortage of qualified, enthusiastic and capable mathematics teachers in schools in Western countries. Certainly this is the case in Australia, where the number of students signing up for mathematics teaching is pitiful (there were 6 in Queensland state in the year that I left - that's […]

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