Math in the News
Estonia to Pilot Computer-Based Math Curriculum
ComputerBasedMath.org announced on February 11 that Estonia will pilot its revamped approach to mathematics education. Thirty schools there will try out a statistics course written from scratch to reflect computer-mediated changes in how mathematics is used.
ComputerBasedMath.org founder Conrad Wolfram not only stresses the practical and motivational aspects of his organization's deemphasis on calculation and rote application of set procedures, but also presents it as a guard against the closemindedness born of more traditional methods. As Wolfram wrote on his blog:
Out in the real world, there are real consequences to drilling students in de- or mis- contextualised techniques—and with the idea that each school problem has one right technique, and each technique has particular patterns of problem. Take the miscalculating of large swathes of financial risk analysis: people applied Normal distributions because they knew of them, had been trained to expect them but that didn't make for effective representations for the data.