Computer-Based Math Education Summit

Conrad Wolfram's TED Talk brought world wide attention to the growing frustration towards skill based math curriculum. We have technology that can do calculation far faster and more accurately than we can and yet we are still teaching students as if the best tools we had were paper and pencil.

There are big questions out there and to solve them, we need students who are able to understand what tools they have at their disposal. For those who are shocked that much of their curriculum would be removed, Wolfram's talk reminded us that math != calculating (programming syntax for not equal to) but that math > calculating (greater than).

I once gave a professional development where I asked teachers, what would you do if all of your students magically knew how to do everything in a math textbook. Some teachers expressed silence while others fear that they would be irrelevant. Far from it! If we can restart our thinking with the premise that calculating is a tool we use to do math, then if we can teach computers to do the calculations we can focus on those attributes of math that human excel at. Teachers can give students the tools to DO math and science instead of just watching others and hearing how they will use it "one day" or in the "real world".

The Computer-Based Math Education Summit (Nov 10-11) will give this movement resources and further guidance towards the goal of transforming math education for the modern age. Humans previously had no choice but to have math dominated by calculation but this does not have to be the case any more.

During the 2 day summit in London, attendees will hear from a wide variety of speakers on how math is greater than calculation and how we can use the tools we have available right now to provide amazing learning opportunities for our students today!

Notable speakers include:
We are learning so much, so quickly that students are forced to learn much too quickly in college how to use these tools and thought processes just to understand their intended disciplines. We as K-12 educators can help by starting with our students now rather than waiting until they get to the university. Google's Computational Thinking Lessons are one way you can start using technology for more than just calculating and after this summit, I am sure we will have even more resources for reforming our math curriculum.

Paradigm shifts are always frustrating and it is completely normal to be afraid of the unknown. Use that energy to create and innovate. We don't have to let the benefits of technology be limited to smartphones and video games. Let's raise the bar for what math education looks like!

I have heard of quite a few educators who are making the trip to the summit. Be sure to share with us when you get back what you saw, heard, and discussed.

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