OpenLab Assignment #9: Mathematics education in America

If you have reached college-level mathematics, then you have spent a great deal of time in your life immersed in “mathematics education” — that is, you’ve gone to a lot of math classes.  As you may know, there is a great deal of controversy surrounding mathematics education in the United States, and you have all had a front-row seat for twelve or more years of your life.  In this assignment, I will ask you to watch a video that comments on math education, and discuss what you see.

Assignment (Due Tuesday, May 15th).  Choose ONE of the videos below.  View it carefully at least twice, then write a response as follows:

  1. At the top of your response, state your name, section number, and the name of the video you chose.
  2. Write a paragraph in which you complete each of the following sentences, explaining in your own words.
    1. “The main idea is…”
    2. “One thing that I liked is…”
    3. “One thing that I don’t agree with is…” or “One thing that I am skeptical of is…”
  3. Did the video remind you of anything in your own experiences in math education?  Explain.

Videos.  Both of the videos linked below are talks given at the TED conference, an annual conference on Technology, Entertainment and Design.

  1. Dan Meyer, one of the most active voices in the math education blogosphere, talking about “Math class needs a makeover.”
  2. Salman Khan, creator of Khan Academy, speaking on “Let’s use video to reinvent education.”

Extra credit.  Comment on someone else’s post.

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27 Responses to OpenLab Assignment #9: Mathematics education in America

  1. Maisa1491 says:

    I watched “Math needs a makeover” by Dan Meyer. The Main idea is how so many students in the us are struggling to pass math. Every teaching method has been the same to me since elementary school. I’m sure we all can agree. He is basically going deeper into it, “exploring the way we teach teachers to teach kids”.
    One thing that I liked were the examples he gave. Like watching a sitcom, we are so used to problems getting resolved within those few minutes which can cause immpatience with irresolution when it comes to math. But no problem worth solving is that simple. Or the way the textbooks teach. Dan Meyer described it as the equivalent of watching a sitcom. I also like when he said “I teach high school math, I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it, but is forced by law to buy it”.
    One thing that I don’t agree with is when he said multimedia will help improve students learn. In My opinion, as long as the teacher is good at explaining and keeping it simple, you should be fine.
    This video reminded me of myself and my fellow classmates throughout the years because everything he was saying, my thoughts would be “That’s so true” and exactly what we, as students, would say and think of math. —-Maisa Abdelrahim

  2. aboodhoo93 says:

    Andrew Boodhoo – 6542 – Dan Meyer: Math Class Needs a Makeover

    The main idea of this article is to show a students perspective on learning math and how students deal with math problems. One thing I liked is that Dan Meyer said students don’t learn how to solve these problems, but instead they learn to decode a textbook. This is very true because I usually look for all the shortcuts I can find. One thing that I don’t agree with is that Dan Meyer said doing math problems is similar to watching a sitcom. Even with his brief explanation I still don’t see the connection between the two. The entire perspective Dan Meyer gave on the way students look at and deal with math reminded me of my own math education. I would usually look at the problem and be confused by the mass amount of information given to me. Dan Meyer shows one example of how the problem is set up and in what order it should be looked at. This gave me an insight on what to do when I come across a tough problem.

    • Maisa1491 says:

      I agree, I also liked when Dan Meyer said students don’t learn how to solve these problems, but instead they learn to decode a textbook. That caught my attention and had me thinking.

  3. capello325 says:

    Talia Ordonez-Salman Khan: “Let’s use video to reinvent education”

    I watched ” Let’s use video to reinvent education” by Salman Khan. The main idea of this video is to start learning math or any subject online by viewing videos. One thing that I liked is trying to make to make this method of learning as the future of our education. It could be great because our current education system is liked Khan said a ” Swiss Cheese,” meaning that the system has many holes that make students not wanting to learn; which I highly agree. One thing that I am skeptical of is, is the loss of human to human contact in a classroom. Overall I think it’s great because it reminded me of me in freshman year, when I didn’t understand something in math, I would find videos to help me out. This could be great for many people.

  4. arielyip says:

    Ariel Yip:Dan Meyer “Math Class needs a Makeover”

    The main idea of this video is that, the many difficulties learning is going into any math class with a preconceived ideas how problems should be solved. Since society is surrounding us by media, that problems would be solved simply without looking for the right information is causing us harm when trying to absorb the skills in learning in math. The problem of any math problem is we’re looking for the wrong question to answer, with the wrong information. We are distracted with different details, that we are confused when we actually read a written equation. Students should always come to class with an open mind to how to go about solving problems and communication is the key.
    One thing I did like was that Dan Meyer is a current teacher that many students can relate towards to. His explanations is up to date with the trends that are in the media, thus the students will allow more trust in what he is teaching.
    One thing I did not agree on which is his idea that math should be more associated with math, I feel like math should be more of a hands on thing to be easier to absorb.
    The video did remind me of myself, because I do realize I come into a math class with some sort of bias toward a solution to a problem.

  5. brina92 says:

    Math 1275 Sec 6542 Aubrina Halley Math Class Needs A Makeover
    I really like this video because its so true. The way math is taught in the US children mostly just try to pass their math class, and after they pass they just forget everything. I know I did after high school, and I end up have to learn it again in college. I do agree math needs to be teach differently. I don’t disagree with anything really, i found this video interesting. Some points he made Like using problems relating to real world, using multimedia is true, because I have retained math that way, and learned visually. Things have to make sense to me.

    • tatiana says:

      i agree with you. as students we are taught math barely enough just to remember to pass the final or class. overall i found the video intersting and an eye opener for the basic teaching of math in the U.S.

  6. Manuel Z. says:

    Math 1275-6542– Manuel Zetino— “Math Class Needs a Makeover”

    The main idea is to give an insight how math is taught in the U.S.
    I liked the way he dove into the roots of the mathematical problems affecting the U.S. Math needs to be taught differently. I agree with Dan Meyer statement that we are just given a problem, but we are not included in the formulation. I think that’s very true. Since we don’t participate in the formulation we tend to “decode the math textbooks”
    One thing I am skeptical of is that I do not think there will be a math class makeover in the foreseeable future.
    This video does remind me of myself when I try to decode my physics textbook when I don’t understand the theory behind the problem!

    • arielyip says:

      I agree that although many people are complaining about how things are taught in class, it will be a while until we see a change in the educational system.

  7. Math 1275 sec.6542 Todd Manning “math class needs a makeover”

    The main idea of the video is to focus on how the traditional way of teaching math dont work for most student. One of the points made by Dan Meyer is that math text books dont explain the problem in a way thats students can understand or relate to. i dont really have any problem with the idea put forth by Dan Meyer. I just wish that the math teacher’s i have had uptil now tried to explain math to me in a more personal and relatible way vs. explaining it like the textbook does.

    We all know that the text book doesnt make a bit of sence.

  8. tatiana says:

    Tatiana King, Math 1275 Section 6542 “Math Class Need a Makeover”, Dan Meyer,

    The main of this video is show that the tradional ways of teaching math is not effective. He claims that there are 5 reasons on why we are doing math wrong. in my opinion the reasons he gave are very true and relatable. One thing i liked was the analogy of the easiness of math to “Two & a Half Men”. We expect simple problems. i actually didnt agree with the textbook exapmple problems. i beleive that when a exapmple from a textbook shows a certain exapmple torefer back to is to help. the video did remind me of things im having problems with in math. i ususally automatically look for a formaula to solve a mathematical problem because that is how i was tuaght to answer algebra questions.

  9. Peter Huang says:

    Peter Huang Math 1275 Section 6542 Let’s use video to reinvent education.

    The main idea of this video is that teaching math doesn’t always have to be in school. He talks about doing math from home and using the internet. One thing i liked about this is that whenever you do i problem the teacher is able to look at what you understand or don’t understand. The teacher is able to see what kind of problems that are difficult for you. One thing i don’t agree on is that it shouldn’t all be online and the student should be able to talk to other students about what is giving them a hard time. Then the other student will be able to help. Yes Mr.Reitz is the first teacher to give me homework online.

    • Ohh yeah I like that too. Also I like the fact that you can work in your weakest part because the the program dont allow you to go further until you pass it from 70 % and up, what support his argument that ” how can a person ride a tricycle when havent’t even learn how its do in a bike” so the same apply in student learning math, and going fron one level to the other. the only thing I dont like is that the program he created has been made for middle school, and is not yet running in collage .

  10. Derrick Lau says:

    Math taught in the U.S. does have it’s many difficulties.I agree with Dan Meyer in the fact that math should be taught differently in the nation.The focus of what students see are more”decoding the math textbooks” like Dan Meyer said. Students have a bigger focus on just managing to pass the class than understanding the true potentional of different methods used to solve mathematical problems. These issues probably won’t be resolved in my lifetime from what i can see but i’m positive their will be a reform once the rankings and standars of the U.S. start to dip down further.

  11. johnny says:

    johnny diaz-1275-6542-dan meyer math classes need a makeover
    the main idea i believe this video was trying to say is that you need to make math more personal and less robotical. the one thing that i liked about the video is how he praticed what he preached and wasnt just suggesting ideas.the thing i didnt like was why was he ragging on two and half men that show is dope. the part were he spoke about being in a class room and not wanting to respond so i dont say the wrong thing thats similar to me sometimes

  12. Justin Marquez -1275-6542- Dan Meyer “Math Class needs a Makeover”
    The main idea of the video is to show how the way math is explained to students is not allowing them to solve and come to a answer yet its showing them how to apply a stranded formula and find the answer . one thing i liked is how he compared the use of the formulas to Two & a Half Men. i pretty much agreed with everything said the text book never helps . if you can understand a problem and solve it with out just plugging into a formula you will be better off . this would allow a student to solve any problem that maybe given without having to remember a formula or look back at their notes

  13. perez92 says:

    John Perez 6542 “Math Needs A Makeover”

    The main idea on this video is to show us how the students that are learning math in the U.S are not able to retain what they learn like “computations.” Dan Meyer is telling us that the way math is taught can most likely be not the most effective way to teach it. One thing that I liked was the way he showed how his teaching methods are. Dan teaches in way that looks simple and fun to actually ‘learn’ math. Another thing I liked was how he described the teaching method as simply learning how to “decode the textbook” that is something I will never forget. One thing I don’t agree with, to a certain extent, is the fact about using multimedia in order to help students learn math better. If we were to use multimedia such as- videos or realistic diagrams, to teach students I think they will get a little more confused rather than teaching it step by step and with the most simplicity a blackboard can offer.

    “In the U.S we just give problems to students; we don’t involve them in the formulation of the problem.” (Dan Meyer)

  14. kaylena17 says:

    Kaylena Gonzalez-1275-6542-Dan Meyer “Math Class needs a Makeover”
    The main idea of the clip was to show that student aren’t interested in math because of the way the lectures, lessons and math book are formatted. By change it to connect it to the real world. Take math to the world rather then world to the math. One thing that I liked is that he really showed me the reason I never liked math. He was speaking the truth. He showed me how a teacher can change there lesson to involve more interaction from the students. I don’t disagree with any of it. He really took the worlds out of my mouth. Maybe I would say that the simple solutions to problems should be the way to go. even if it like a sitcom. Like applying the formula. Just the way it is taught should be changed. The video reminded me how in high school my teacher never really taught me anything because they stuck to the math book way. maybe if they tried to change it, I wouldn’t be where I am at now. Lost in the world of math! And Holding on by the skin of my teeth!

  15. Catherine Brito, 6542 “Let’s use video to reinvent education.”

    In this video the main point or idea es that technology can be well use to the improve of education, in this case math classes improvements by watching helpful math videos.I really enjoyed by watching this video because is pretty good understandable, but also points out how students can be struggling in math, but with it, how the student can reach up until becoming a very gifted on the area, using the technology and watching all those very good math videos.

  16. mzraza says:

    I watched Khans video, firstly i think its really amazing that he has loaded that many videos on, and the amount of views they get per day,…obviously the strategy that he is using works, else why would he get the success he did in the little time actually on the web. I really like the fact that its away from standard teaching, which often is unsuccessful, so this is a great way that might actually benefit people all over

  17. german822 says:

    “Math needs a Makeover”. The main point of this video was to explain the way math is thought in the U.S. A very huge point that Dan Meyer brought out was that the Math Text Books really don’t clarify the problem and that is a main reason why the students like myself can’t comprehend nor relate to it. This video brought back memories of me in High School of me just doodling around on my math text book or my note book when I never really understood the problem that was faced in front of me.

  18. Jesse says:

    Jesse Mohammed, Math 1275 Section 6542 “Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education”

    The main idea of the video is to start teaching math by using online videos. One thing i liked about the video is the approach that he had concerning the way the videos are made, with a smile. It’s more relaxing to learn from a video. One thing that I’m skeptical of is that not all students can learn that way, some actually need someone there next to them to learn a topic much more efficiently, also the fact that there a less human contact going around if this actually evolves into something big. I’ve never learned from a math video before but it looks like something I’d like to experience myself so I can differentiate it from someone physically teaching me.

  19. jdorismond22 says:

    My name is Joshua Dorismond, im in MAT 1275 – 7562.I watched the video “Let’s use videos to reinvent education”.
    One size fits all lecturesis modern day education with this online system Khanacademy it has major benefits.
    They expect you to practice , and experiment,
    fail in a sense but you will be able to master the skill.
    How they expect this result the are able to see which subjects the students are proefficent in,
    students that are work in progress, and students that are stuck. With this system teachers can
    intervene and help the student out. I took an online Computer class last semester and my professor
    archived the lectures. This helped alot because when I was stuck I was able to play the lesson back
    and review the topic that I wasn’t really understanding. This is what Khan calls learning at your own
    pace.I really like this idea.

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