June 16th, 2008
The new Bowland Maths Website is the website of a new project which seeks to ground maths in an explorative, problem solving environment.
Bowland Mathematics seeks to develop meta-cognitive skills and promote an analytical, quantitative attitude towards problem solving. These goals are worthy, and important life skills, but they are difficult to measure cleanly. With curricula that separate the strands of mathematics in a way that encourages their their teaching to be separated also, and with testing that aims at accountability over intelligence, school mathematics has become ever more piecemeal and disconnected with reality. Bowland is an important project that seeks to reclaim some of the lost ground.
I urge, in the strongest possible terms, that anyone involved in mathematics education take this initiative seriously. I have no vested interest in the scheme, but simply I believe that it is crucial that initiatives such as this succeed and are built upon.
June 6th, 2008
Below I review two media resources that are well worth a listen, for teachers, interested adults, and perhaps older students. These are not resources in themselves, but I am sure that educators will find stories and examples in these programmes that can have direct application in the classroom.
Cosmic Quest This fabulous narrative history of human understanding of the Cosmos tells one of the greatest stories in the history of ideas. It is pleasingly compact, and easy to listen to. All the episodes are available to listen to from the BBC website.
In Our Time – Probability
Melvyn Bragg’s excellent In Our Time broadcast and podcast on probability last week was an excellent discussion of the history of probability with, among others, Prof. Marcus du Sautoy, who is always worth listening to! The podcast can be found here.