Education News #26

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

Critical reflections on ed tech, STEM and Indigenous knowledge of number.

Three people have poked at established beliefs in education in articles on Indigenous knowledge of number, STEM and educational technology. Where do you stand on their arguments? Which do you see as effective?

Thrown into this edition, you’ll find resources for the classroom and professional learning, including a classic problem and some great twitter accounts for sparking discussion.

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Michaela 👩🏻‍🦱

P.S. A previous version of Education News #26 presented ideas from an article on mathematical subjectivity. On reflection, I have revised my views on that aspect of the article and accordingly updated what has been shared.

Mathematics Education

“[W]e must debunk a long-held myth that Indigenous people had no concept of number. ...when [early anthropologists in Australia] were confronted with a language that only had two words for number, ...they believed they were witnessing a primitive, prehistoric number system that had no capacity beyond small numbers.” 

— Dr Chris Matthews. (Teacher Magazine)

“[STEM:] The acronym, coined in the early 1990s, is pedagogical vapor. …show me where to donate to the rambunctiously merry STEM events — STEMStars, STEMlympics. But first just tell me what STEM is.” 

— Virginia Heffernan. (Wired)

“Computers are great at storing, delivering and rewinding explanations, but that isn’t what math education needs. .. It needs to connect ideas and people together so that students and teachers can learn from each other’s mathematical creativity.” 

— Dan Meyer, reflecting on the past decade in education technology. (EdSurge)

The U.K.’s National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics has produced a comprehensive resource for those supporting pre-service teachers. The resource covers topics, such as representation and structure, mathematical thinking and fluency. (NCETM)


Check out mathematician David Butler’s take on the classic Four Fours problem.. and some spoilers!

One of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, Nicholas Bourbaki made fundamental contributions to the field. Yet, he never existed. (The Conversation)

Two twitter accounts: @TerribleMaps and @BrilliantMaps. Which one did it?

  • European places with “Saint” or “Holy” in their names.

  • Map of every pub in the UK.

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