Topic: How is school, college or university preparing people for using mathematics at work?
As it happened on Thursday, 18th November 23:30 - 00:30 GMT
11:30 pm
ColinTGraham:
Hello everyone. This is a scheduled tweet, so start without me if you are reading this! #mathchat
11:30 pm
ColinTGraham:
Tonight's topic is "How is school, college or university preparing people for using mathematics at work?" #mathchat
11:44 pm
ColinTGraham:
No-one chatting tonight? #mathchat
11:44 pm
dan_bowen:
@ColinTGraham set up maths in movies.area today.. also.did.tuel if u heard of thaT problem #mathchat
11:46 pm
ColinTGraham:
@dan_bowen Maths in movies= movies about maths or maths-related issues from movies? #mathchat
11:48 pm
ColinTGraham:
How about anyone else? How do you think school or college is preparing people for using mathematics at work? #mathchat
11:51 pm
bmcguinness:
MAV (Math Ass) conference: Looking forward to this most "Collab & Dev of Students? Reasoning Skills"http://is.gd/hnCHT #mathchat
11:51 pm
daveinstpaul:
@ColinTGraham I think that Conrad Wolfram nailed it. We're putting too much emphasis on manual computation. #mathchat
11:52 pm
suburbanlion:
@daveinstpaul agreed, #math in the workspace entails using computers. this aspect is not being addressed by #mathed. #mathchat
11:53 pm
ColinTGraham:
OK. Did you introduce it as a maths problem? RT @dan_bowen: both...showed monty problem from 21 jugs of water die hard 3 #mathchat
11:54 pm
suburbanlion:
Perhaps the more interesting question is "how is school NOT preparing people for using mathematics at work?" #mathchat
11:54 pm
daveinstpaul:
We could introduce modeling via matrices and differential equations much earlier if we worried less about manual calculation. #mathchat
11:54 pm
ColinTGraham:
@daveinstpaul So does that mean you think we are not really preparing students to use mathematics in work? #mathchat
11:55 pm
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion Alternatively what are schools actually preparing students for? #mathchat
11:55 pm
mathheadinc:
@daveinstpaul Then how do you fix the problem of kids not knowing calculator output doesn't make sense? #mathchat
11:56 pm
ColinTGraham:
Let's try a focus question: What mathematical ability is it reasonable for an employer to expect of a school-leaver? #mathchat
11:57 pm
ColinTGraham:
Is this an option or a supplement to classwork? RT @dan_bowen: @ColinTGraham been setting it up in learning platform. #mathchat
11:57 pm
mathheadinc:
@ColinTGraham Local craft store owner needs emps who know that 3ft = 36in. An applicant couldn't answer WITH a hint. #mathchat
11:57 pm
ColinTGraham:
Please remember to use the #mathchat hashtag! ;-)
11:58 pm
ColinTGraham:
@mathheadinc Would the same owner require knowledge that 1yd = 36in? #mathchat
11:59 pm
ghewgley:
The math level needed depends upon the job. I feel like we as educators try to use a one size fits all method too much. #mathchat
11:59 pm
daveinstpaul:
@mathheadinc We have to teach number sense. Calculating by hand isn't the best way to acquire this. #mathchat


mathheadinc:
@ColinTGraham Yes, she sells fabric (et al crafts) which must be cut exactly so they don't give product away. #mathchat

ColinTGraham:
@daveinstpaul Why would it be important to introduce modelling earlier... how does this fit with 'general' number or maths skills? #mathchat

mathheadinc:
@daveinstpaul Not all, just part. What's your solution? #mathchat
12:01 am
mathheadinc:
@daveinstpaul I meant calculating not all, just part. Number sense is so much more and is not generally taught. #mathchat
12:01 am
ghewgley:
I think schools now are preparing all students to be professors - they're not all going to be. We need more practical math! #mathchat
12:01 am
ColinTGraham:
Should employers train their employees in number skills specific to the job or should schools be teaching more 'practical' maths? #mathchat
12:03 am
ColinTGraham:
@dan_bowen Do you want to explain tuel for anyone who doesn't know it, Dan? #mathchat
12:03 am
suburbanlion:
@ColinTGraham IMO, schools are preparing students to be good little consumers who do as they're told & this needs to change, badly #mathchat
12:04 am
mathheadinc:
@ColinTGraham The applicant didn't get the job, BTW. She missed out on a cool job big time. #mathchat
12:04 am
ColinTGraham:
@daveinstpaul I think an awareness of whether or not an answer is reasonable or within the right order of magnitude is important #mathchat
12:04 am
mathheadinc:
@suburbanlion Good little consumers who spend more than they save. :/ #mathchat
12:05 am
ColinTGraham:
@mathheadinc A UK applicant may have had more problems since most are using metric measurements! ;-) I still remember 'old money'! #mathchat
12:06 am
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion How is this consumerism being taught? Is it just in maths lessons or is it more endemic? #mathchat
12:06 am
mathheadinc:
@ColinTGraham That's ok, as long as one knows how to convert the units at hand. :) #mathchat
12:07 am
ghewgley:
We also get so caught up in moving forwards so much that our students don't even know math basics very well. #mathchat
12:07 am
ColinTGraham:
So, being able to measure things, being able to use a calculator correctly... what other skills need to be developed? #mathchat
12:08 am
mathheadinc:
I can't count the times I've asked, "Does that answer make sense to you?" It changes everything. #mathchat
12:09 am
mathheadinc:
@ColinTGraham Mostly reasoning skills and not being afraid to ask if something makes sense. #mathchat
12:09 am
ColinTGraham:
@ghewgley Is the pressure to move forwards always external? I always use the example of a half-baked cake, you can't eat it! #mathchat
12:09 am
suburbanlion:
@mathheadinc they're modeling what they see. if our (US) federal gov't doesn't balance its budget, why should students? #mathchat
12:09 am
mathheadinc:
@ColinTGraham Oh, you can eat a half-baked cake but it will probably make you sick! #mathchat
12:10 am
gottsled:
RT @ghewgley: The math level needed depends upon the job. I feel like we as educators try to use a one size fits all method too much. #mathchat
12:10 am
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion Do students even know how to balance a budget, though. Maybe basic financial skills in maths lessons would help! #mathchat
12:11 am
daveinstpaul:
Lack of understanding of the time value of money surely contributes to consumerism. We should teach financial math in HS. #mathchat
12:11 am
suburbanlion:
@ColinTGraham consumerism could be endemic, but philosophy in school is "do as you're told". so when advertisers say "buy" they do #mathchat
12:11 am
mathheadinc:
@suburbanlion I think personal finance class should be a yearly class. #mathchat
12:11 am
ColinTGraham:
@mathheadinc Yes you could. But you couldn't put icing on it successfully, which is the next step! ('Frosting' in the US) #mathchat
12:12 am
daveinstpaul:
(I mean compound interest, amortization and annuities, risk vs return, opportunity cost, etc.) #mathchat
12:12 am
ghewgley:
@ColinTGraham I think it's mostly external. Students are constantly reminded of where they need to be, but forget where they are. #mathchat
12:13 am
suburbanlion:
I started reading "Proofiness" this week. Something like this is severely needed in school. Students need to know when numbers lie #mathchat
12:13 am
mathheadinc:
@ColinTGraham That would be a wee bit difficult. We call it 'icing' in my region, too. :) #mathchat
12:13 am
ColinTGraham:
@daveinstpaul So would you advocate bringing these into the maths class. If so, at what age, is it appropriate for all jobs? #mathchat
12:14 am
ghewgley:
Students lack a solid math foundation and just keep moving on. Many get left behind, I think. #mathchat
12:14 am
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion Or they can become Statisticians and learn how to lie professionally! #mathchat
12:14 am
mathheadinc:
RT @daveinstpaul: Lack of understanding of the time value of $$ surely adds 2 consumerism. We shld teach financial math in HS. #mathchat
12:15 am
ghewgley:
Frosting or icing - they are both great! #mathchat
12:15 am
ColinTGraham:
@ghewgley I'm not sure it's the students who do the moving on, but rather teachers who push through malformed curricula #mathchat
12:15 am
mathheadinc:
@ColinTGraham I think stats should be mandatory so students will know when the graphs & numbers lie. #mathchat
12:15 am
daveinstpaul:
@ColinTGraham I wouldn't know what age is appropriate, but I'm thinking of high school. #mathchat
12:16 am
ghewgley:
I don't think students should be able graduate without at least basic proficiency in financial math. #mathchat
12:17 am
ColinTGraham:
@daveinstpaul I asked about age because in the UK 13 yo can work in limited areas, but school-leaving age is 16 (Scot), 18 (Eng). #mathchat
12:18 am
ColinTGraham:
This raises the question: Does a negative employment/education gap (allowing work whilst still in school) have any effect? #mathchat
12:18 am
ghewgley:
@ColinTGraham hard to tell who is pushing, but results are the same - poor math skills. #mathchat
12:18 am
mathheadinc:
@ghewgley Yes, isn't there a correlation between those who are poor at math and economic status? #mathchat
12:19 am
ColinTGraham:
@ghewgley It's a push towards product/answers, Gary, discussed a number of times before here! I firmly believe move on when ready #mathchat
12:19 am
suburbanlion:
true, but sometimes the number IS the lie. #mathchat RT @spsanderson more accurate statement is that numbers don't lie, people do
12:21 am
mathheadinc:
Thanks to mom, I've always thought abt whether things make sense or not bc of the logic puzzles she gave me. Good teaching tool. #mathchat
12:21 am
joe_bower:
What Works Better than Traditional Math Instruction? http://j.mp/deAaqs #abed #mathchat #math#edtech
12:21 am
ghewgley:
@mathheadinc I agree, but maybe extended to poor=lower education achievement. #mathchat
12:21 am
ColinTGraham:
@spsanderson And numbers taken out of context can misrepresent, if not lie... Is 10 ten or is it two or...? #mathchat
12:22 am
mathheadinc:
@ghewgley There's so much more. It's very complicated. #mathchat
12:22 am
suburbanlion:
@spsanderson example from Seife: museum tour guide says T-rex is 68 million 38 years old. Exact num gives false sense of precision #mathchat
12:23 am
ColinTGraham:
Will there ever be an ideal curriculum which satisfies both the school-leaver and those continuing with higher education? #mathchat
12:23 am
ghewgley:
@mathheadinc A correlation, but not a cause-effect. #mathchat
12:24 am
ColinTGraham:
@joe_bower I haven't read it/checked it out, but knowing you it sounds like an Alfie Kohn title! ;-) #mathchat
12:25 am
mathheadinc:
@ghewgley I didn't say 'cause', just correlation. :) #mathchat
12:26 am
ColinTGraham:
Is there anyone here who would defend their curriculum as being sufficient, if students achieved what was expected of them? #mathchat
12:26 am
republicofmath:
Basic stat numeracy is great BS detector. @mathheadinc stats should be mandatory: students will know when graphs & numbers lie. #mathchat
12:26 am
ghewgley:
@ColinTGraham not in the near term. The push now, and the standards of success is students who go on to college. #mathchat
12:26 am
suburbanlion:
@spsanderson he gave number because he was told "68 million yrs" when he started working 38 years ago #mathchat
12:28 am
ghewgley:
@mathheadinc I was agreeing that the math=success is complicated. #mathchat
12:29 am
mathheadinc:
@ColinTGraham Why shouldn't my students be able to surpass me? I think they should if they like. #mathchat
12:29 am
ColinTGraham:
I wonder if there is a conspiracy at work here, where governments deliberately make sure people can't do budgets or read stats. ;) #mathchat
12:29 am
republicofmath:
Basic skills learned in #math: solve problems, communicate effectively, analyze data, check answers, be confident yet cautious. #mathchat
12:29 am
mathheadinc:
@ghewgley Right, it's sooooo complicated. :) #mathchat
12:30 am
ekendriss:
RT @republicofmath: Basic stat numeracy is great BS detector. @mathheadinc stats should be mandatory: students will know when graphs & numbers lie. #mathchat
12:30 am
padgets:
#mathchat Hey everybody, sorry I am late been sick, so how is everybody and what is the topic? :-)
12:30 am
ColinTGraham:
RT @profprioleau: Too much focus on assessment in early grades Electives give students opportunities to see connections more often #mathchat
12:31 am
ghewgley:
@ColinTGraham I just think people get tunnel vision and think that success is going on to college and beyond. #mathchat
12:31 am
ColinTGraham:
@padgets Just in time for the close, Sharon! How do schools/uni prepare students for using mathematics at work? #mathchat
12:32 am
mr_rcollins:
RT @joe_bower: What Works Better than Traditional Math Instruction? http://j.mp/deAaqs #abed#mathchat #math #edtech
12:32 am
suburbanlion:
@republicofmath "communicate effectively" is very important #math skill in workplace. think schools are adequately addressing it? #mathchat
12:32 am
padgets:
#mathchat at my school we in the freshman academy have textbooks that have math skills embedded in every unit, great cross curricular stuff
12:32 am
ColinTGraham:
@ghewgley Interesting you should say that, Gary. Legal school-leaving age in Japan is 15 but social pressure 'forces' further Ed #mathchat
12:33 am
padgets:
#mathchat in Iowa it is 16
12:33 am
mathheadinc:
@ghewgley True, I'm tutoring modern algebra & number theory and previously analysis haven't taken the class. #mathchat
12:34 am
mathheadinc:
@ghewgley Don't need a degree for everything. #mathchat
12:34 am
lasic:
John Taylor Gatto known remark: "You can teach basics of math in 50 quality hrs, then let go & follow studend interest." Yr view? #mathchat
12:34 am
ColinTGraham:
So final five minutes - does more 'practical' mathematics need to be done in elementary - eg budgeting, measuring, estimating...? #mathchat
12:35 am
padgets:
#mathchat I would love that so in HS I would not have to teach what i call basic skills
12:35 am
republicofmath:
@suburbanlion Not IME. Communication takes a lot of practice AND one must have something worth communicating #mathchat
12:35 am
ghewgley:
@ColinTGraham School now is the beginning of a long academic career. Schools get slammed if students don't continue to college #mathchat
12:35 am
ColinTGraham:
And should we be making sure everyone gets the basic skill set, whatever that is defined to be, before we go on to other 'stuff' #mathchat
12:36 am
mathheadinc:
@ColinTGraham Maybe then they'll stop asking, "When are we ever going to use this?" #mathchat
12:36 am
ColinTGraham:
@ghewgley Why slam the school? Why do schools accept being slammed? If the government wants it, then raise the leaving age... #mathchat
12:36 am
jakedust:
RT @republicofmath: Basic stat numeracy is great BS detector. @mathheadinc stats should be mandatory: students will know when graphs & numbers lie. #mathchat
12:36 am
ghewgley:
@mathheadinc I agree. Try to get a job now without one though... #mathchat
12:37 am
republicofmath:
What's the WOW! factor in school math experience that makes others: students, teachers, parents, potential employers, take notice? #mathchat
12:38 am
ghewgley:
@ColinTGraham the parents want college, the teachers all went to college, the government loves colleges - that's why. #mathchat
12:38 am
mathheadinc:
@ghewgley I have a great one!... "Get a job?", how about "create a job?" #mathchat
12:39 am
ColinTGraham:
@ghewgley The problem is that college is not really for everyone. Equal does not mean fair... #mathchat
12:39 am
suburbanlion:
@ColinTGraham I think the basics that are missing from elementary are logic & sets #mathchat
12:39 am
ghewgley:
@mathheadinc Nice! How about "being a good human being?" or "earning an honest living?" #mathchat
12:40 am
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion I suspected as much having read your rebel curriculum, Ryan, but that is a topic another #mathchat
12:40 am
mathheadinc:
@ghewgley Both are givens. #mathchat
12:40 am
ghewgley:
@ColinTGraham I totally agree. #mathchat
12:41 am
suburbanlion:
@republicofmath in the industry, it's not so much "what you know" but "what you can show". IMO we need fewer tests & more projects #mathchat
12:42 am
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion I'd like to see electronic portfolios of work done during education, to whatever level! #mathchat
12:42 am
ColinTGraham:
OK, thanks everyone. It's that time again! Voting has already started on next week's topic:http://bit.ly/c9KL7u #mathchat
12:42 am
mathheadinc:
YES! RT @ColinTGraham: @ghewgley The problem is that college is not really for everyone. Equal does not mean fair... #mathchat
12:43 am
padgets:
RT @ColinTGraham: @suburbanlion I'd like to see electronic portfolios of work done during education, to whatever level! #mathchat
12:43 am
republicofmath:
Exactly what I now do in diff eqs, calculus, statistics, modeling , .... @suburbanlion IMO we need fewer tests & more projects #mathchat
12:43 am
ColinTGraham:
Don't forget that we will be revisiting tonight's topic again on Monday, if you have more to say! #mathchat
12:43 am
suburbanlion:
@ColinTGraham yeah =) I suspect my earlier statement about needing more computer education wasn't a suprise either #mathchat
12:43 am
ghewgley:
Thanks for the great #mathchat everyone! Have a great evening.
12:43 am
padgets:
#mathchat with the time change when do you guys start? I always seem to be missing it!
12:44 am
Tojosan:
@republicofmath the wow! factor is when they can see math in action. Perhaps a model with trains approaching. #mathchat
12:45 am
ColinTGraham:
@padgets It's always been the same, UTC/GMT 23:30 on Thursday. We could start 30 mins/1 hour later if there is enough demand... #mathchat
12:46 am
suburbanlion:
#mathchat can we maybe compromise on this DST change & start a half-hour later? things seem not to kick off until then anyways...
12:46 am
mathheadinc:
@ColinTGraham It's earlier for those of use who have DST. #mathchat
12:47 am
ColinTGraham:
@suburbanlion Well I did ask in the poll but not enough voted and results were inconclusive, so maintaining status quo seemed best #mathchat
12:51 am
ColinTGraham:
A change of time will rely on publicizing it. If #mathchat at 00:00 GMT on a Friday would suit you better, tweet a "Yes" to me b4 30Nov
12:55 am
ColinTGraham:
If #mathchat @ 00:00 GMT on Friday suits you better, tweet a "Yes" to me b4 30Nov & RT this! If more than 20 "yes", we change...