Thursday, November 3, 2011


Seth Godin (Marketing Guru) has this little post
Are you doing math or arithmetic?
I have enormous respect for mathematicians. They're doing work on the edge, a cross between art and science and music. Arithmeticians, not so much. They are merely whacking at a calculator, doing repetitive work better done by a computer or someone cheaper.

Many fields have precisely this same division. There's a chasm between the proven, repetitive work that can be farmed out and the cutting edge risky work that might just change everything.

With my students, I tell it this way:

A mechanic is looking for a job.
He tells the manager "I have twenty years experience."
The manager asks "Is that twenty years of experience or two years experience repeated ten times?"

Which is it for you? Are you still teaching the same things with the same worksheets and the same quizzes and the same methods that have worked over and over? There's a lot to be said for consistency, but you do have to stick your head up and make sure that what and how you're teaching is still relevant.

I'm making the change to tablets instead of textbooks, .pdf instead of paper.  It's still a work in progress, especially the video.  I'm still trying to figure out if the inverted classroom is fad or future. I'd love to get the note-taking features of the iPad/Android to mesh with the marginalia of the textbook, but we're not quite there yet. Where is the graphing calculator app that works with a spreadsheet?

Some tech is incredibly useful.  Some tech is incredibly damaging, especially to teenagers. Texting is, without a doubt, the most pernicious distraction ever created by man.  Read Daniel Willingham's work on concentration, learning and the cellphone call in the middle of the information storage process.

It'd be nice if the nation was a little more together on all this.

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