Topic (follow-up to Thursday, 18th November 2010):
How is school, college or university preparing people for using mathematics at work?
As it happened on Monday, 22nd November 2010, 19:30 - 21:00 GMT
7:35 pm
ColinTGraham:
Hello everyone, and welcome to Monday's #mathchat
7:36 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham Hello! #mathchat
7:36 pm
ColinTGraham:
If it's your first time, try to interact with one or two people instead of following everyone! Don't forget the hashtag ----> #mathchat
7:37 pm
ColinTGraham:
@icecolbeveridge Hi Colin, haven't seen you in here for a few weeks! #mathchat
7:37 pm
ColinTGraham:
Tonight's topic is: "How is school, college or university preparing people for using mathematics at work?" #mathchat
7:38 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham Normally teaching at this time on a Monday, class cancelled. Good to be back! #mathchat
7:39 pm
ColinTGraham:
What mathematical ability is it reasonable for an employer to expect of a school-leaver? #mathchat
7:39 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham Short answer: it isn't. Need more emphasis on teamwork and creative problem-solving. #mathchat
7:41 pm
ColinTGraham:
@icecolbeveridge Is that more a problem of the curriculum design or do you think more imaginative teaching would help? #mathchat
7:41 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham Yes to both. I think there's a distinction between 'work/life maths' and 'science maths' that really isn't drawn #mathchat
7:43 pm
ColinTGraham:
So, should employers train their employees in number skills specific to their job or should we teach more life/skill maths? #mathchat
7:44 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham I think a curriculum that gave teachers more time to be creative would be very useful. #mathchat
7:46 pm
ColinTGraham:
@icecolbeveridge Curriculum (re)design is certainly a current topic in the UK, and elsewhere. What can/should we do until it is? #mathchat
7:47 pm
frogphilp:
Simplistic theory: arithmetic by 11; algebra by 16; calculus by 18. Is that something to aim for? #mathchat
7:48 pm
ColinTGraham:
@frogphilp Who/what is that aimed at, Steve? Subject teachers, usefulness in work, cognitive development? #mathchat
7:49 pm
peterflom:
@colintgraham Depends on what type of work #mathchat
7:49 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham We should do our best at the impossible job we have: trying to convince kids that maths is beautiful and useful #mathchat
7:50 pm
ColinTGraham:
Will there ever be an ideal curriculum which satisfies both the school-leaver and those continuing with higher education? #mathchat
7:50 pm
peterflom:
RT @icecolbeveridge: @ColinTGraham We should do our best at the impossible job we have: trying to convince kids that maths is beautiful and useful #mathchat
7:50 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham I think we need two qualifications. #mathchat
7:51 pm
ColinTGraham:
@peterflom If you say it depends on the work, then that can 'devalue' the functional numeracy many jobs require but isn't achieved #mathchat
7:52 pm
ColinTGraham:
@icecolbeveridge OK, that begs the question.... I would suspect basic/functional numeracy and mathematical ability? #mathchat
7:53 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham Pretty much. Everyday maths and advanced maths, say. #mathchat
7:53 pm
peterflom:
@colintgraham We should distinguish math, quantitative literacy, and arithmetic. Diff. jobs need diff. amounts of each #MathChat
7:53 pm
icecolbeveridge:
Sadly, #mathchat, my class has been uncancelled and I need to go back to work. :o(
7:54 pm
padgets:
#mathchat hey everybody!!! I made it! my students are working on a webspiration on energy flow, doing some math :-)
7:54 pm
padgets:
#mathchat calculating ATP amounts so far so good
7:55 pm
ColinTGraham:
@peterflom So why shouldn't employers be training employees in number skills specific to their job, beyond basic arithmetic? #MathChat
7:55 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham I think that's the ideal progression fr the mathematician, not the maths user. #mathchat
7:55 pm
ColinTGraham:
@icecolbeveridge Oh, boo! Catch you next time... #mathchat
7:56 pm
peterflom:
@colintgraham Well, why SHOULD they? Most jobs require people to have some of the prerequisites before hiring. #MathChat
7:56 pm
ColinTGraham:
@padgets Hi Sharon. Do you see a difference between 'science maths' and 'life/skill maths' in relation to work? #mathchat
7:58 pm
ColinTGraham:
@peterflom This is the point, that the prerequisites may not have been correctly defined or weighted towards preparation for work. #MathChat
7:58 pm
peterflom:
Of course, since I am a statistician, some math at work is necessary #MathChat
7:58 pm
padgets:
@ColinTGraham #mathchat yes, some of the concepts in my class will not be used outside of my science class, but the basic operations will
7:59 pm
ColinTGraham:
@frogphilp Would you make the same distinction between a number user and a mathematician that @icecolbeveridge suggested earlier? #mathchat
8:00 pm
ColinTGraham:
@peterflom For most of us on #MathChat I suspect we would say that mathematical ability/mathematics is needed in our job...
8:01 pm
peterflom:
@colintgraham You are almost certainly right. Although it's unfortunate. #MathChat
8:01 pm
ColinTGraham:
@padgets Since you teach science, Sharon, do you see what you are teaching as being preparation for work for your students? #mathchat
8:03 pm
padgets:
#mathchat yes,even though they may not as an example use photosynthesis in the work place, may use those concepts when designing a building
8:04 pm
peterflom:
Who has every needed, at work, to know that there are an infinite number of primes? Or Fermat's theorem? #MathChat
8:05 pm
teachtgs:
I see Math Studies IB as a good course for those not going on to a math field. Logic, Prob, Stats, Financial math all most used #mathchat
8:06 pm
padgets:
#mathchat science when with others let students use the knowledge other places, have a girl in auto body using science to build the engine
8:06 pm
teachtgs:
@ColinTGraham As also a math and science teacher there are definitely links btwn 2 courses. It helps when you know what they know #mathchat
8:06 pm
ColinTGraham:
Does specialism at secondary level (11+) protect some subjects from accusations of not helping prepare for work? #mathchat
8:06 pm
peterflom:
Are most of you in #MathChat in the UK? Europe? USA? Asia?
8:07 pm
padgets:
@ColinTGraham #mathchat I am in the USA, Colin not sure what you mean by protecting subjects
8:08 pm
teachtgs:
@peterflom I have. :P #MathChat
8:08 pm
ColinTGraham:
@padgets I mean here than some subjects are seen as being specific to certain types of job and so are 'safer' from criticism #mathchat
8:09 pm
peterflom:
@teachtgs OK, I can see that. But anyone aside from math teachers, professors etc. #MathChat
8:09 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham A mathematician is someone that turns caffeine into theorems. #mathchat
8:09 pm
ColinTGraham:
@peterflom That's a good question Peter! Monday tends to be more European, Thursday tends to be more North American #MathChat
8:10 pm
LesLinks:
@peter_lydon Great #mathchat group of teachers chatting now!!
8:10 pm
peterflom:
@colintgraham I am in USA myself #MathChat
8:10 pm
padgets:
#mathchat Ok, I do not see that here, are asked to show students how each subject can be integrated into others, how one fits with another
8:11 pm
peterflom:
@frogphilp Paul Erdos quote, I believe #MathChat
8:12 pm
frogphilp:
In my deprived-area primary I'm just happy to get all my kids to the point where they fear maths less than their parents. #mathchat
8:12 pm
ColinTGraham:
I feel sometimes that funding of some subjects seems to be related to perceived 'usefulness' to employers. #mathchat
8:12 pm
frogphilp:
@peterflom Could be. I'd heard it was up at Oxford Uni somewhere. #mathchat
8:13 pm
teachtgs:
@peterflom No these would not be things that most people would use, but does that mean we should not talk about them? #MathChat
8:14 pm
suburbanlion:
@peterflom as a programmer, the properties of prime numbers can be very useful in certain situations #mathchat
8:14 pm
peterflom:
@frogphilp Ah ha. Erdos said "A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into theorems"http://ow.ly/3dQKL #MathChat
8:15 pm
ColinTGraham:
Do other school subjects help prepare students for work, or is the problem that students are taught to be 'good' at school only? #mathchat
8:16 pm
teachtgs:
@frogphilp I would love to get those kids in my HS class. That fear or dislike can really hold them back. #mathchat
8:16 pm
ColinTGraham:
Does a negative employment/education gap (allowing work whilst still in school) have any effect/impact on learning? #mathchat
8:16 pm
peterflom:
@teachtgs Indeed not! My point is that the idea that math should be useful is pernicious. #MathChat
8:17 pm
peterflom:
@suburbanlion I know they are used in cryptography.... #MathChat
8:17 pm
ColinTGraham:
RT @peter_lydon: arguably...we teach the syllabus..everything else is accidental or due to natural born teacher #mathchat
8:17 pm
peter_lydon:
@ColinTGraham 15 years ago it was business..now it STEM....15 years it could be geography #mathchat
8:18 pm
icecolbeveridge:
#mathchat Class recancelled. I'm back! What did I miss? ;o)
8:18 pm
teachtgs:
@peterflom Ah. Gotcha though I think it is worth pointing out where math may be used when applicable. #MathChat
8:18 pm
suburbanlion:
@peterflom also helpful for generating pseudorandom sequences #mathchat
8:18 pm
peterflom:
Best math teaching I've ever seen: http://ow.ly/3dQTY #MathChat
8:19 pm
frogphilp:
Philip Zimbardo indicates that purpose of schools in the West is to save us from Present Hedonism:http://bit.ly/JH6qu #mathchat
8:19 pm
peterflom:
@suburbanlion I use those a lot.... never got into the details of how they work though #MathChat
8:20 pm
ColinTGraham:
@peter_lydon The general point seems to be that qualifications in mathematics are generally seen as being useful by employers. #mathchat
8:20 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@peterflom Did you see the TED talk I posted a few days ago: http://bit.ly/bRQuUo #MathChat
8:20 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham I tend to think that many jobs ask for a maths qualification because other jobs ask for it. #mathchat
8:21 pm
ColinTGraham:
@icecolbeveridge When I say mathematics qualification here, I am thinking more specifically of degree level... #mathchat
8:22 pm
ColinTGraham:
Maths graduates seem to get better-paid jobs or have less problem finding employment. The question may be why? #mathchat
8:23 pm
ColinTGraham:
Does their perceived desirability come from the approach towards problems that mathematicians take, and should we teach this more? #mathchat
8:24 pm
ColinTGraham:
@teachtgs Thanks for participating Dvora! #mathchat
8:25 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham Or is it the determination to succeed at something that is unfashionable.?Like maths. And work. #mathchat
8:26 pm
peterflom:
I gotta go #MathChat
8:26 pm
ColinTGraham:
@peterflom OK Peter, see you again #MathChat
8:27 pm
ColinTGraham:
@frogphilp That would suggest more of a 'personality' approach towards teaching/learning then, Steve... #mathchat
8:27 pm
icecolbeveridge:
#mathchat Interesting question. I think it's partly the abstract nature of maths meaning we can apply it to all manner of problems.
8:29 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham I think succeeding at maths does affect your personality. Maths is geeky, so it affects how others see you. #mathchat
8:30 pm
neilstephenson:
Math Podcasting to demonstrate understanding: http://bit.ly/eDWnrr #edchat #mathchat #math #abed#yycteach
8:31 pm
ColinTGraham:
Why is there pressure on students to stay on at school, beyond mandated leaving ages? Would Ss benefit from working b4 FEd / HEd? #mathchat
8:32 pm
ColinTGraham:
@frogphilp There is no doubt that those who are seen as successful at maths tend to be of certain personality types... ;-) #mathchat
8:33 pm
ColinTGraham:
@frogphilp I think my question is more about whether the 'mathematician's' approach is teachable and should be taught... #mathchat
8:34 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham And I think they're linked. Teach everyone to take up an aspect of being a mathematician - some will get it all... #mathchat
8:35 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham And some will get some of it, but learn to respect mathematician's on the way, thus changing society's attitudes. #mathchat
8:36 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham I certainly would have benefited from a year in the real world before my degree. #mathchat
8:36 pm
ColinTGraham:
@frogphilp Ideally! But attitudes towards funding of the creative arts is more likely to have a greater impact, I feel... #mathchat
8:37 pm
ColinTGraham:
To summarize some points: Functional numeracy should be goal for all school-leavers, Mathematical thinking is desirable... #mathchat
8:38 pm
ColinTGraham:
We may need to distinguish between number skills and mathematics more clearly, School curricula need to be (totally) redesigned #mathchat
8:39 pm
icecolbeveridge:
RT @ColinTGraham: We may need to distinguish between number skills and mathematics more clearly, School curricula need to be (totally) redesigned #mathchat
8:39 pm
ColinTGraham:
Subject specialism and perceptions of 'usefulness' may be affecting how the subjects are taught/funded. Did I miss anything? #mathchat
8:40 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham Yes. Why do we teach subjects separately? #mathchat
8:40 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham I think I agree. A lot of philosophy for children type stuff seems to duplicate good maths lessons. #mathchat
8:41 pm
padgets:
#mathchat well everybody I know it was short but have to go thanks for the conversation, hope to be back next week :-)
8:41 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham So do you think creative arts are being funded less at the moment? #mathchat
8:41 pm
ColinTGraham:
@icecolbeveridge This is part of @SirKenRobinson's recent talk to the RSA & Sugita Mitra's "Hole-in-the-wall" where curriculum = ? #mathchat
8:42 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham Do you have a link to the Robinson talk? #mathchat
8:42 pm
reasoningmind:
@colintgraham Conceptual fluency and Computational fluency are both emphasized in those countries who are leading in math. #mathchat
8:44 pm
ColinTGraham:
@frogphilp Absolutely, "Fears for future of school music lessons" http://bbc.in/hJG9pz How many schools offer dance, etc...? #mathchat
8:45 pm
ColinTGraham:
@reasoningmind How do you measure the concept of "leading in math"? Do you mean getting high scores in tests? #mathchat
8:46 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham Yet it is design that turns a 50p coffee into £5.00 drink. Seems like creativity is where it's at - you do the math! #mathchat
8:47 pm
ColinTGraham:
@icecolbeveridge It's on my Maths Pride blog post: http://bit.ly/9bYxCi #mathchat
8:48 pm
reasoningmind:
@colintgraham test scores are one component, but I'm more concerned with the number of people sent into STEM fields. #mathchat
8:48 pm
frogphilp:
Maths Success by academic citation: http://bit.ly/dORPuK (USA number 1, UK no. 5) #mathchat
8:49 pm
ColinTGraham:
Measuring success in mathematics is a possible topic for #mathchat http://bit.ly/c9KL7u which is why I asked ;-)
8:50 pm
peter_lydon:
@ColinTGraham thanks colin..not a Math teacher self but geog with interest in ea kids #mathchat
8:51 pm
icecolbeveridge:
@ColinTGraham Thanks! #mathchat
8:51 pm
ColinTGraham:
@reasoningmind Is your concern that there are not enough going into it or too low a quality or not enough jobs for them in STEM? #mathchat
8:52 pm
ColinTGraham:
@peter_lydon "ea" is exceptional ability...? maybe what we would call gt? #mathchat
8:53 pm
davidwees:
I hope this assignment allows for some creativity. Choose a job: calculate/plan your financial future. #mathchat
8:54 pm
davidwees:
RT @ColinTGraham: We may need to distinguish between number skills and mathematics more clearly, School curricula need to be (totally) redesigned #mathchat
8:54 pm
ColinTGraham:
OK, in the final 10 minutes today, given that curricula won't change drastically soon, can we do more to help prepare Ss for work? #mathchat
8:56 pm
OpenHSofUtah:
RT @davidwees: I hope this assignment allows for some creativity. Choose a job: calculate/plan your financial future. #mathchat #openhs
8:56 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham We need to foster resilience to failure as a step to success. We need to value divergent thinking #mathchat
8:57 pm
gregoryshea:
RT @ColinTGraham: We may need to distinguish between number skills and mathematics more clearly, School curricula need to be (totally) redesigned #mathchat
8:58 pm
ColinTGraham:
@frogphilp So we need to be teaching people and not subjects... #mathchat
8:58 pm
simoncrook:
@ColinTGraham @davidwees here in Oz we are embedding 'numeracy' across all curricula whilst teaching maths explicitly #mathchat
8:59 pm
frogphilp:
@ColinTGraham Yes. Use a networked-based approach - my kids have got so much out of your interventions on my maths blog. (Ta!) #mathchat
9:00 pm
ColinTGraham:
@simoncrook That sounds more like the IB approach in many ways. #mathchat
9:01 pm
ColinTGraham:
@simoncrook Is it a state initiative or part of the general Australian system? #mathchat
9:02 pm
JohnAllenPaulos:
@ColinTGraham To an extent problem is societal/cultural/political, not just pedagogical. Changing the former therefore important. #mathchat
9:03 pm
ColinTGraham:
@JohnAllenPaulos And on that note... it seems like a good way to end today's #mathchat
9:05 pm
ColinTGraham:
Next Monday, I will be trying to do #mathchat live from #ukief10 http://bit.ly/eCRA2x so that should be interesting!
9:05 pm
ColinTGraham:
Thank you all for your contributions. The archive from today will be online in about 30 minutes or so. #mathchat
9:08 pm
ColinTGraham:
If you have time, please help with my survey for #ukief10 "How have Twitter chats helped with CPD?"http://bit.ly/dy7Ozc Please RT #mathchat