We've been hard at work on a major update (more on that Friday), but it's been a big month for math and edtech, so I wanted to make sure we kept our Math Mondays rolling. The news from around the math/edtech world:
- Students in grades 8-10 at Susquenita School District in Pennsylvania are replacing textbooks with iPads. One of the benefits we love about digital publishing is the potential for interactive functions and learning. And this trend isn't stopping, since tablet shipments to schools doubled, and are now up to one-third of all hardware shipments. But check out this sentence from coverage of a school in Connecticut making the same transition:
The eighth-graders wrote and recorded their answers on the tablet computer and also voiced over an explanation of how they solved each problem. With a click, they emailed their finished test to the teacher.
Make it about math, and you've basically got our vision. For more on this evolving part of the edtech landscape, check out Matt Levinson's piece on the "screenager" generation.
- Students are taking more math and science courses, including minority students, according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics. So we're making progress getting them into the classes. Now are we equipping the students and teachers to make those classes valuable?
- Researchers at Pitt have taken a 350-year-old mathematical mystery and used it to help shed light on conditions like epilepsy. Researchers in Spain have taken a lot of math and used it to predict how many goals soccer players will score. No, the fact that I'm a Pitt alum had nothing to do with the way I wrote that bullet point.
- Under the fascinating-if-not-stunning heading: Math students do better when their teachers are engaged in professional collaboration and learning communities. Measurably better. As in test scores went up. Who would have guessed that engaged, trained teachers improve math scores?
Lastly, you may have heard that President Obama announced plans to get high-speed Internet into 99% of school classrooms within five years. We've been known to go on rants before about the woeful lack of Internet connectivity and infrastructure in education (and we know some are trying to fix it), so ConnectED would be great. But there are usually some hiccups between an idea that sounds great and actually making it happen, so we'll stay cautiously optimistic. The LEAD commission followed the announcement up with a five-point plan that included getting digital devices in the hands of every student by 2020.
Related: Google wants to bring Internet to the entire world with balloons. It's called Project Loon.
Okay, enough serious stuff. Take a break from work and go do mental_floss' Monday Math Square. Studies say short breaks for brain teasers increase productivity: