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Author Topic: What I would teach in school
quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted September 23, 2015 23:44      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I would change math to teach the useful stuff...
- how to figure out the true cost of a car loan.
- how 401Ks and IRAs win in the long run.
- how to work out a budget to see if you can afford to buy a house.
- basic statistics - i.e. how to spot when people are trying to mislead you with numbers & why the lottery is a tax on people who don't understand math.

And, except for self-selecting students who want to go into engineering or possibly carpentry...
Algebra proofs - gone
Most of trigonometry - gone
Calculus - gone

I come to this opinion as someone with a degree in Applied Mathematics who has had a very successful career in software. I have used calculus exactly 0 times in my professional life. There is absolutely no need for someone who is going to be a marketing major to learn it. They will, however, some day take out a very big loan. It would serve them better to understand how those work.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2015 00:01      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Agreed with most of it, but not trigonometry, that's probably one of the bits of high school maths I've used the most.

I was appalled some years ago, when sitting (literally) cap-in-hand in a bank managers office, to discover that I had a better idea how mortgages work than he did.

Ok, so I'm a bit more financially literate than most (I used to work for a large financial institution programming financial projections) but a frakkin' bank manager should be too, and he clearly wasn't. He knew how to put numbers into a spreadsheet, and parrot the advice from the glossy brochures, but clearly failed to grasp the maths behind them.

Another thing they should teach in school is how to do rough calculations in your head, for example
198 * 997 = ?
I admit, I'd struggle to do that in my head, but everyone should know how to do..
'about 200' * 'about 1000' = a little less than 200,000
which is often good enough.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2015 00:46      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
When it comes to doing everyday math well, I'm a big fan of KenKen. I think far more people should get a solid feel for how you can play with the rules of math to get answers.

Do most people need a solid comprehension of calculus in their everyday life? No. Would it hurt to actually understand the arcane rules used to compute taxes? Probably not. (I was once curious to understand the impact to my paycheck of a certain withholding - that really took me down the rabbit hole.)

Should everyone learn to program? I'm really not sure about that. I'd love to say yes to that, but I'm not sure if it's just as fruitless for many as teaching calc.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2015 09:16      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
While I agree with most of the views expressed so far, I am a big pusher of Trig. as long as it is taught as the Circle. Look at the wheels of your auto, Four, Five, or Six lugs hold that wheel to the hub. Look at over head power lines, the sag or canterary is defining the pull or tension on the wire, can the wire support itself and the birds that may land on said wire? Look at the AC/Heat runs in your house, too small they will be noisy and restrict the fan. Too big and the duct work will steal heat or cold from the air flow. Physics is the basis of all engineering.

Finances should be taught in every grade of school so every one understands how loans and credit works.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2015 15:03      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How can the students find out if they want to do Science / Engineering / Math if they are not exposed to it? This always bugs me about arguments for "everyday" math -- you are flat-out denying a future in Math to your students -- before they even have an idea of what it is. Some of us LOVE Math! [Wink]

And Calculus rules!

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2015 16:55      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Okay...I'm in no way saying it shouldn't be taught...just maybe not be mandatory for all. As a Math+CS guy, I took most/all of it, and enjoyed most of the math stuff, and pretty much all of the CS stuff. [Big Grin] Still, English majors getting stuck in Calc II would probably be as miserable as me getting stuck in Marketing 101 (really honed my skills at binary arithmetic in that class).

We need far more folks in STEM, but I'm not quite sure what the best approach is to draw them. (Someone needs to slay this 'math is scary' thing to be sure.)

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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Shooshie
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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2015 17:23      Profile for Shooshie   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I was a whiz with Excel within a year of its first appearance on the market (which was released with the Mac version first), and i was designing spreadsheets to tell me every payment of a loan, how much interest was paid, vs. the future value of the same amount of money invested at interest, and so forth.

Then while I was demonstrating it for someone, they told me about the "rule of 72," with which they could mentally calculate many of the things I was doing with a spreadsheet. Maybe not to the penny, but close enough. When I learned about the Rule of 72, I was appalled that nobody had ever taught me that. So I picked up a book of math tricks and started learning that all those things I used to do in math, which the teachers told me NOT to do, turned out to be excellent techniques. Plus, there were dozens of tricks I'd never even thought of!

Why don't they teach those math tricks in school? It would be so helpful! People can USE that stuff.

Meanwhile, my son programs things that require advanced calculus, algebra, matrices, and so on. To him, math is just a toolbox he takes to work every day. I'm glad someone uses it!

And by the way, it's probably going to be programmers who save the planet, not politicians, climatologists, or activists. We live in an age in which novel solutions are discovered every day that couldn't have been conceived in previous ages, because programmers are able to combine disciplines in ways nobody ever thought of before. Plus, we have data we never had before — another programming artifact. So, if you want to save the planet, hard core programming is a great way to contribute. Just don't get stuck programming for Facebook or some other waste of time.

Apple's iOS is actually a great platform for the kinds of apps we're talking about, which give us insight that could change the world. The trick is just not to get stuck in some dead-end job like programming the moving parts in printers to do what they do. Read scientific magazines to learn what's being discovered, and email or make phone calls to the people who are doing it. Ask what they need, what might contribute. There is so much going on now that the trick is finding even a small percentage of it. Cross-disciplines then offer new approaches to climate change, population growth, agricultural shortages, invasive species, urban decay, and so forth.

The solutions are out there.

Shooshie

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2015 21:56      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
Should everyone learn to program? I'm really not sure about that. I'd love to say yes to that, but I'm not sure if it's just as fruitless for many as teaching calc.

One of the last bits of Policy Brilliance to come out of the late-unlamented Abbott government here in oz was a national curriculum that includes teaching programming to grade 3 kids.


Where the frak do they think they're going to find primary school teachers who know how to teach programming?

And how much 'programming' can you really teach an 8 year old anyway?

I fear it will end up being so dumbed-down that the geeky kids who would have gone into it naturally will decide at an early age that it's boring, and turn their attention elsewhere.

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 24, 2015 22:00      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Shooshie:
The trick is just not to get stuck in some dead-end job like programming the moving parts in printers to do what they do.

Hey!
You just described the last 20 years of my career!
I quite like programming moving parts, especially big ones that can kill. [Razz]

--------------------
If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Shooshie
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Icon 10 posted September 25, 2015 03:39      Profile for Shooshie   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by Shooshie:
The trick is just not to get stuck in some dead-end job like programming the moving parts in printers to do what they do.

Hey!
You just described the last 20 years of my career!
I quite like programming moving parts, especially big ones that can kill. [Razz]

Ha! I KNEW if I said that, someone would get me for it. I just made it up, because I remember a book that came with the Imagewriter printer back in 1984, and it was full of code about making the dot matrix printer respond to streaming code. It looked mind-numbing. I didn't know how someone could stand to do that. Of course, I was just weeks into my first computer, the Mac, so what did I know?

Shoosh

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted September 25, 2015 06:18      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I fear that we wait too long to teach finances to children, to teach that to save regularly is to be debt free. Well even their teachers are in debt. Student loans, mortgages, and auto loans.


Compound interest.

--------------------
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted September 25, 2015 23:13      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Shooshie:
[...]it was full of code about making the dot matrix printer respond to streaming code. It looked mind-numbing. I didn't know how someone could stand to do that.[...]

Streaming code and a printer, you say?

https://vimeo.com/1109226

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted September 27, 2015 19:58      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Some Great Minds weigh in on the issue of teaching maths in school...
Video

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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Shooshie
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Icon 1 posted September 27, 2015 21:04      Profile for Shooshie   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by dragonman97:
Streaming code and a printer, you say?

https://vimeo.com/1109226

That was actually quite cool! I mean, it's a poor stepchild that only a geek could love, but to hear those machines singing their little heart... um... CPUs out was almost moving.

Shoosh

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quantumfluff
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Icon 1 posted October 07, 2015 22:25      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I want to add one thing. Enough about basic geometry to figure out square footage of the floors/walls of a room/apartment/house so they can figure out how much paint to buy.
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