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Computer-based Math and 1:1 Education
Author: The Computerbasedmath.org team, Computerbasedmath.org | March 7th, 2012

mathcalculatingMath outside education has fundamentally changed over the last decades because computers have liberated it from what is typically the limiting step - hand-calculating. We live in a far more mathematical world than we did, and the reason is that math is based on computers doing the calculating.

But in education that transformation hasn’t happened yet. Around the world almost all students learn traditional hand-calculating not computer-based math. Sometimes it’s “computer-assisted” that is, applying some of the new modalities to the traditional subject. That’s holding them and their countries back from more creative, conceptual math. Indeed a larger and larger chasm is opening up between math for the real world and math in education. Technology isn’t an optional extra for math, it’s fundamental to the mainstream subject of today.

So what is math? Math can be boiled down to 4 simple steps:

1) Posing the right question

2) Real world converted to math formulation

3) Computation

4) Math formulation converted to real world, verification

The funny thing is that we insist that the entire population learns how to do step 3 by hand. And yet step 3 is the step that computers can do vastly better than any human. Why are we not using computer to do step 3, and teaching students to do steps 1, 2, and 4 to a much greater extent than we currently are?

Individualized learning that enables students to discover at their own pace and at least to some extent set their own learning paths is clearly crucial. Because we believe computers are a central part of math, it should be much easier to naturally incorporate computers into the subject. 1:1 learning through computers in math is more seamless as computers are a much closer fit to the subject material than say a subject like history.

Computerbasedmath.org was setup to initiate the building of a completely new math curriculum with computer-based computation at its heart. As well as teaching skills which are actually relevant to the work place, computer based math is breaking down aversion to using computers in math education, allowing students to maximise their learning potential. We therefore see it as important that students have 1:1 access to technology, which allows them to fulfil their inquisitive and creative minds when exploring the four steps to math. Visit computerbasedmath.org and sign up to show your support for this work.

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