TEDTalks: Arthur Benjamin's Formula for Changing Math Education

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Someone always asks the math teacher, "Am I going to use calculus in real life?" And for most of us, says Arthur Benjamin, the answer is no. He offers a bold proposal on how to make math education relevant in the digital age. [2:59]

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the "Sixth Sense" wearable tech, and "Lost" producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts.

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How are you enjoying Helsingfors?

Can you do me a favor? I forgot to ask the locals why the signs tend to be in two languages - what languages are they? (3 languages if the sign has an english translation.)

By MadScientist (not verified) on 02 Jul 2009 #permalink

signs are in finnish and swedish, as you well know since you use the swedish for helsinki.

and i am having an amazing time here in this gorgeous city. i've been here only a few hours and already have roughly 100 images that i've saved (out of roughly twice that number that i've snapped). and that was before i passed out for two or three hours due to a lack of sleep these past 48 hours.

Thanks. :)

I assure you I'm quite ignorant though; I can see the characters on signs and I can see similarities in the languages, but I have no idea what any of it means.

I'm glad you're having a grand old time there. :)

As for the TED talk, I agree people should understand statistics better but I wouldn't say that stats or calculus is the highest objective of math education for the general populace. The average joe has some pretty weird notions, such as: "1 in every 2 people is female. There are 10 people in the room, therefore there are 5 females in the room." Things like that just drive me crazy. Politicians love to take advantage of such ignorance (though to be fair they probably share that ignorance and may believe what they're saying). Also, most people I know have no clue how to propagate measurement errors when they perform more complex calculations on measurements, and that includes people who claim to be scientists.

By MadScientist (not verified) on 02 Jul 2009 #permalink