Tuesday, June 02, 2009

ISEPP Thread...

This refers to the fragment below (previous post), snipped from a longer set of conversations, including with Allen Taylor of SQL for Dummies fame. This first appeared at the Math Forum, immediately following a post against centralizing math standards to protect lazy publishers from biodiversity.

The threads I'm pursuing with the ISEPP list, a private archive, involve unfolding this map I was explaining to Richard, about some states wanting to try a "digital math track" in parallel to the standard one. You don't want to switch everyone all at once, may want to achieve a hybrid down the road, but for PowerPoint purposes, making sense to the state lobbyists, we just have to keep it simple and talk about two tracks.

Once you have two tracks side by side, there's the question of how to jump across, like if you're teaching "analog math" (featuring real numbers, perfect continuity, all that ghostly greek metaphysics about infinite planes, infinitesimal points) and want to test the waters on our side for a change, how would you do it? You could read Karl Menger on his "geometry of lumps" as prep for class, but the hands on would be more about ray tracing than clay, as we sculpt with light and pure geometry (not forgetting about textures).

We talk a lot about "the observer" in digital math, more like artists than traditional scientists, who think (0,0,0) is the only important position, i.e. one's "point of view" is less often discussed (called "objective", otherwise known as "pretend there's no subject"). We advertise this approach as both more engineer and female friendly, bleeping over how that works for right now (trying to stay on topic: recruiting from the rank and file). We have a (0,0,0,0) to tell some stories about as well, with links to some of the Lakota lore (again, I wander off topic).

This is where the practice of pair teaching comes in. We'll pair you up with a geek, maybe an engineer from one of our companies (Silicon Forest, formed in my very neighborhood), and you'll co-teach a few segments. That'll get you entre into one of our math labs. You might have different students. But you won't be alone. Training will happen, and you'll be one step closer to maybe getting a merit pay position in the math teaching vanguard.

Those digging through my detailed posts find out there's an international component, which I could explain if someone cares to know. Contrary to this hypothesis of 46 states agreeing to standardize on some non-existent "global standard", I would suggest that other countries will be implementing a digital math track, even if we don't, so think about that, next time you want to speak with authority about Singapore or the Philippines.