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Education general, but also with covid

#81 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-October-30, 14:16

Your pencil case was probably better than mine.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#82 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-October-30, 19:44

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-October-30, 14:16, said:

Your pencil case was probably better than mine.


🙂

These days all I can do is doodle 😊
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#83 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2021-October-31, 02:01

The comment on the decline of maths is fair. I studied the most advanced maths syllabus that was taught in schools in the early 80s (double maths A level), and then having made a mistake studying natural sciences/chemistry at uni then, got a maths degree 25-30 years later from the OU. The second year of my maths degree was less tough/rigorous than my A level. The third year was a step up. Because I did this one by distance learning there was a study weekend each year, some of the tutors were lamenting they couldn't set questions they set even 10 years before as current students couldn't answer them.
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#84 User is online   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-October-31, 12:40

I strongly believe that secondary school Math (perhaps not Advanced level, but the "normal" level) should in fact (mostly) be "not for mathematicians", and the thing that showed KenBerg he was a mathematician is unnecessary for "everyone's math courses".

We need people who get out of required school to be able to decipher the numbers being given them and know when they're BS, or clearly wrong (one-sixth of 48 thousand is 288 thousand?) or when they could be being snowed by cherry-picking or any of the other standard games (like "more vaccinated people are getting COVID than unvaccinated" - well, yes, but that's because they outnumber the unvaxxed 5-1. It's not surprising that there's a 1.5-1 gap - but it still means you're three times more likely to get it without the vaccination). Or the "32 *BILLION* dollars" games (how big is that in the U.S. Federal budget, exactly?) or even the "1.5 *TRILLION* dollars" games (over 10 years - how big is *that* in the budget, and what's the chance it will survive more than 4?), or...

And how to balance a checkbook, and how to read an earnings chart, and all the rest of the survival skills.

"Look at how this toy works. Isn't it cool?" is *absolutely* a wonderful thing, and will lead to passionate and skillful mathematicians/coders/marble race creators/... It's certainly what draws many bridge players. And that's good for both society and the person who sees the shiny. But in compulsory education, we need to expose people to The Cool, so that we don't drive away the potential mathematicians; but we need to ensure that *everybody* has (best shot at) the survival skills.
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#85 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-October-31, 15:06

View Postmycroft, on 2021-October-31, 12:40, said:

I strongly believe that secondary school Math (perhaps not Advanced level, but the "normal" level) should in fact (mostly) be "not for mathematicians", and the thing that showed KenBerg he was a mathematician is unnecessary for "everyone's math courses".

We need people who get out of required school to be able to decipher the numbers being given them and know when they're BS, or clearly wrong (one-sixth of 48 thousand is 288 thousand?) or when they could be being snowed by cherry-picking or any of the other standard games (like "more vaccinated people are getting COVID than unvaccinated" - well, yes, but that's because they outnumber the unvaxxed 5-1. It's not surprising that there's a 1.5-1 gap - but it still means you're three times more likely to get it without the vaccination). Or the "32 *BILLION* dollars" games (how big is that in the U.S. Federal budget, exactly?) or even the "1.5 *TRILLION* dollars" games (over 10 years - how big is *that* in the budget, and what's the chance it will survive more than 4?), or...

And how to balance a checkbook, and how to read an earnings chart, and all the rest of the survival skills.

"Look at how this toy works. Isn't it cool?" is *absolutely* a wonderful thing, and will lead to passionate and skillful mathematicians/coders/marble race creators/... It's certainly what draws many bridge players. And that's good for both society and the person who sees the shiny. But in compulsory education, we need to expose people to The Cool, so that we don't drive away the potential mathematicians; but we need to ensure that *everybody* has (best shot at) the survival skills.


I'll start with [the thing that showed KenBerg he was a mathematician is unnecessary for "everyone's math courses"]

We all have to learn survival skills, sure, but we also all have to choose a direction in our lives. I imagine that many people can look back at early experiences as defining. For me:
A. When I was 13 I bought George Gamow's One, Two, Three... Infinity. I read it all and found it fascinating. I got it at the same drugstore where I had previously bought Batman comic books.
B. Around this same time my friendships were changing and the father of one of my newer friends subscribed to Scientific America. Very interesting.
C. My experience in Geometry, learning that Euclid set out a small list of axioms and proved everything based on these axioms.
My father installed weatherstripping, the father of my friends across the street drove a delivery truck for a bakery, the father of other friends across the street worked in the shops, no further details were ever given. They made a decent living but I started thinking maybe I would go in a different direction.
When I was 16, I sat in (informally, no fee, no credit) on a college physics course Fun, but this all started when I was 13 and 14, and I think A, B, and C above played a big role in setting me in this direction.
So, for me, it was very important.

Survival skills. Very important. Crucial. Perhaps a good place to start is by figuring out how to support yourself and perhaps even support a family. Survival is going to be pretty near the edge if a person can't do that. In my freshman year of high school, I walked to school with my friend Fred. I was in College Prep, Fred wasn't, I became a mathematician, Fred became a plumber. Fred never took the geometry course that I took. I suppose geometry is somewhat related to plumbing but I suspect eyesight and measuring solve most of the geometric plumbing problems. At any rate, my understanding is, although we lost touch, that Fred had a good life.


I am not sure that you and I disagree all that much on basic issues. We wrote a lot of term papers and that can be very useful practice for separating truth from fiction. School helps prepare (so we hope) the young for adulthood.
Ken
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#86 User is online   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-October-31, 15:46

We're not. I love the fact that math is a journey, and interesting things can be found. Because I'm more of an engineer than a mathematician, I love the fact that these "cool things" - "look what I can prove" - 10 years later just might be the solution to a problem that, for instance, doubles communication speeds; or makes something rigorously analyzable, which doubles the speed of development ("A secret sharing scheme is a matroid" for something in my experience).

And certainly "find something you can get paid to do" is something needed for survival. But after I graduated high school, I took a "year 13", which consisted of Auto shop, Foods, Typing, and some courses strictly for my enjoyment (two semesters of band, the other science I didn't take at grade 12 level,...) There were those in those classes who got the "this is cool - this is what I should be doing" and went on to be mechanics or custom car builders, or chefs, or...I did not. I learned the "survival skills", so I don't get scammed (much) by auto shops, and I won't poison myself or burn my tools (any more) if I have to cook for myself.

What I expect of maths at the high school level (not the college prep level) is that kind of "survival skills". Some will find the joy of the tools that math provides; some will find the games lead them into solving problems with computer programs or arduino building; some will find a love of literature or the skills of oration from English class (and some will simply learn the skills of reading and writing at a "survival" level), and the same for everything else.
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#87 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-October-31, 16:56

View Postmycroft, on 2021-October-31, 15:46, said:

I learned the "survival skills", so I don't get scammed (much) by auto shops, and I won't poison myself or burn my tools (any more) if I have to cook for myself.

What I expect of maths at the high school level (not the college prep level) is that kind of "survival skills".


Your expectation of what counts as high school maths is set at a very low bar.

Mathematics does not teach you how to avoid burning yourself or poisoning yourself - most people learn these things before they get to school: typically before they know what algebra is.

If the purpose of high school is thought to be the prevention of self-immolation or accidental consumption of toxic waste, then we are in much worse shape than I thought we were.
A key benefit of mathematics and science education, in general, is that it teaches a person how to think, assimilate new information and create new ideas that make cohesive sense.
Thinking is an underrated skill.

On the other hand, it might explain our political leadership and their disinterest in funding education.

If Australia scrapped its deal to operate nuclear submarines for the USA (and pay for the privilege) and spent the money on more educational opportunities for its citizens, we would all be better off.
Nobody is going to save the world by blowing ***** up or being amazed by how far an object can be propelled from a tube and still hit a target, even if they can apply mathematics and the Coriolus effect to work out how to make it happen.
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#88 User is online   mycroft 

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Posted 2021-October-31, 18:13

So, did you see what I thought "survival skill" math is?

Don't get scammed.

Understand enough statistics that advertising or MLM push doesn't get you.

Understand enough statistics that your "hey rube" flag gets raised when people start throwing political BS around.

Balance your checkbook, know how compounding interest works, be able to make a budget based on paycheck. Don't get caught by rent-to-own, credit card, payday loan, or the like - or even by mortgage brokers.

Is that a high bar? No. It's survival skills. But it's a hell of a lot more than "before you hit school". You need more to survive than 1960, but it's still basic. But there's a huge fraction of today's society that couldn't, or chose not to, meet that bar. And there's a lot of misery caused by that. Yes, not all was avoidable, but a whole lot of it is and was.

That's what I think *everybody* needs. What I think the people with an affinity for math, or an affinity for formal education, could use and should be made available, is different, sure.
When I go to sea, don't fear for me, Fear For The Storm -- Birdie and the Swansong (tSCoSI)
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#89 User is online   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-October-31, 18:47

View Postmycroft, on 2021-October-31, 18:13, said:

So, did you see what I thought "survival skill" math is?

Don't get scammed.

Understand enough statistics that advertising or MLM push doesn't get you.

Understand enough statistics that your "hey rube" flag gets raised when people start throwing political BS around.

Balance your checkbook, know how compounding interest works, be able to make a budget based on paycheck. Don't get caught by rent-to-own, credit card, payday loan, or the like - or even by mortgage brokers.

Is that a high bar? No. It's survival skills. But it's a hell of a lot more than "before you hit school". You need more to survive than 1960, but it's still basic. But there's a huge fraction of today's society that couldn't, or chose not to, meet that bar. And there's a lot of misery caused by that. Yes, not all was avoidable, but a whole lot of it is and was.

That's what I think *everybody* needs. What I think the people with an affinity for math, or an affinity for formal education, could use and should be made available, is different, sure.


I think that all makes perfect sense.
I have one question: what's a checkbook?
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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