Posts

Book Review: The Math(s) Fix - Part 1 of 2

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The Math(s) Fix is Conrad Wolfram's case for teaching mathematics with the assumption that computers exist! To be clear from the beginning, Wolfram is not advocating that we solve the same problems but with a greater reliance on computers and calculators. He wants us to recognise that computers have revolutionised the discipline of mathematics and that we need to reflect this change in our curricula. In the following lines, I will present a summary of Wolfram's thesis, as I understand it. My aim is to give you enough of an idea so you can decide whether you want to read the book for yourself. This part will concentrate on the case that the book builds for a radical change of the maths curriculum. Part 2 will explain the alternative in more detail.

Online Learning - Tech toolkit

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For what it's worth, I thought I would write a blog post about the technology I am using in my online classes and about some of the ways I use it. There is nothing ground breaking here, which is why I think it may be useful to some readers. (c) Can Stock Photo / Emevil

A useful question to ask your students about online learning

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Teaching in Melbourne, I am about to start my second round of online classes. I am taking some time to remind myself of the lessons I learnt from my and other people's experience in lockdown 1.0. Some of the best student feedback that I received from the last period was due to a question that was suggested by my school's principal: How did I, as a teacher, help you learn during the lockdown? (c) Can Stock Photo / lightkeeper

Students presenting their projects at a teachers' conference

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Today, I had the privilege of co-presenting with three of my students at DigiCon 2018. The whole day was really engaging and the students benefited from hearing the keynote speech and from playing with robots. In the afternoon, we ran our own session, which a friend and colleague asked me to write about. Our session was about designing digital tech electives that appeal to girls. I wanted to share some ideas about what has been working for us at Avila College and to show that attracting girls to digital technologies need not mean a watering down of our offerings. The session was well attended, with about 30 teachers there. The students, previously nervous about presenting to teachers, seemed relaxed and confident once we got started. This slipper hides a message from Bob to Alice

On multi-lingual education

Having grown up in Lebanon, I was taught French and Arabic throughout my schooling and then English from Grade 6. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity. When my family migrated to Australia, I was able to begin my university studies without the need to spend a year learning the language. When I decided to write a Master's thesis, I found that many experts in that subject were French-speaking researchers from Switzerland. In this blog post, I make one simple suggestion for languages education in Australia. I have no illusions about the reach of my blogposts or any expectation that anyone will take up this proposal. The most I am hoping for is a discussion with those interested in the topic and generous enough to offer a comment. My proposal Choose two languages and make sure every Australian child can study one or both of them from prep to year 12. Please keep reading to see my justification. I quite possibly anticipate your objections.

Teaching abstraction to high school students

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I have often found Abstraction a difficult concept to explain in high school computing classes. I now think that I found a few good examples to illustrate this concept and this post is about one of them. First, let's define the word: Abstraction ...  is the process of taking away or removing characteristics from something in order to reduce it to a set of essential characteristics. ( Abstraction on Whatis.com ) In other words, we hide some detail so we can concentrate on the essential features of the problem at hand. Below, I will attempt to illustrate with an example which is implemented in Snap! , a block-based language created at the University of California, Berkeley. The problem Say, for instance, we wanted to draw this brick wall: Brickwall activity from Beauty and Joy of Computing, UC Berkeley