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Comment Re:Math education turns students off! (Score 1) 194

what needs to be taught differently in early math so that students will enjoy it?

Here's my answer...from the perspective of a licensed math teacher in the state of Minnesota, plus the father of a two-year-old and an 18-year-old...

1) Teach parents how to teach their children. As a teacher, when I conferenced with parents, there was always a high likelihood that students that struggled with math had parents struggle as well. (And they would openly admit this, sometimes even with pride. It was very common for parents to say things like, "I don't get the stuff myself, and I'm doing fine, so why does my child need to learn it?) With my 18-year-old, every question he asked about math, I could answer, so nothing held him back. My 18-year-old isn't brilliant in math, but he's not afraid of it and knows how to use it.

2) Teach elementary teachers how to teach their students. In the US, most elementary teachers are general educators responsible to instruct in all subject areas. Teachers who are disinterested in one or more of those areas, especially mathematics, do not display the enthusiasm and joy that teachers need to radiate for students to absorb. In addition, those teachers lack a deep understanding of the subject which is necessary even at the elementary level to answer all the questions children have on the subject. (I myself had one teacher in 3rd grade who often responded to my questions with, "Because that's the way it works, dear.")

3) Fix and enrich the curriculum. American curricula is difficult and frustrating, because it is "created" by state governments but authored and published by private textbook companies. The left hand never really understands what the right hand is doing. In addition, neither body really has any true educational knowledge or experience, leaving the final product often minimal, inconsistent, and unpractical, not to mention unpalatable. Finally, it continues to change each election cycle, making teaching it that much more difficult.

4) Empower teachers as professionals. Even with a poor curriculum, It's up to each and every school and even teacher to decide how to teach the course material, as long as standards are followed. So, each and every day across the country teachers have to reinvent the wheel, finding their own way of making their lessons effective. Teach teachers how to evaluate the efficacy of lessons, and give them time to collaborate with their fellow teachers, within their district and within their state, to evolve the curriculum in a way that works not just in one classroom, but in thousands.

Comment Here here (Score 1) 1307

I couldn't have said it better myself.

I'm another active slashdot user since '99. I'd also hate to see it go away. And to resonate what you just said, I think it's quite marvelous that a post about Slashdot being sold has become a post about what Slashdot is and what we'd like to see it become. Not to mention the fact that it's already has 650+ posts. I appreciate our community caring about our community.

And I appreciate the BIZX owner who was interviewed who had this to say: “What impressed us about Slashdot was the quality of the typical community member and how truly informed and educated they were on a wide variety of discussion topics that directly relate to today’s relevant tech news. There’s a lot more noise on the Internet now than there was when Slashdot was created, but we think the Slashdot user base is one of the most knowledgeable and informed communities anywhere on the web. We ultimately plan to listen to the community.” I hope that means he understands the community and appreciates its value. Yes, he intends to make money, but let's hope he does it in a way that doesn't destroy the community.

As a technology director and math teacher in the state of Minnesota, I appreciate the opportunity to contribute my perspective to this community, and I value the perspective of others who also contribute to it. Despite Slashdot's many struggles and failures, its community remains vibrant. BIZX, please don't destroy that.

Comment Accidentally? (Score 0) 500

Do you really think it's an accident every time? If you were caught in the TSA line with a gun, what do you think would be the "correct" response?

A) "I was planning to hijack the plane, sir."
B) "I was planning to defend the plane in case of a terrorist attack, sir."
C) "I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands."
D) "I forgot."

It wouldn't surprise me if there were that many gun-lovers who think they have a right to carry regardless of the circumstances, or at least just like to see what they can get away with. Also makes me wonder how many guns make it past TSA.

Comment One of those actual teachers... (Score 2) 145

Thank you for your support of teachers. I've already reported and weighed in a few times about this subject, and I'd like to just expand on a few of your points.

Unfortunately, money speaks, and superintendents listen. When someone walks into a sup's office and says, "I'd like to donate $50,000 to the district to buy more technology," who would say no? And, on a national scale, if Zuck & Gates walk into the president's office to say, "We'd like to donate $1,000,000 to get more school districts to code," do you think Obama would be any different?

I do wish that we would just let labor markets let supply and demand naturally encourage or discourage people from entering and leaving the profession, as it happened a decade ago. While Microsoft claims that we aren't supplying enough computer programmers to meet demand, the BLS begs to differ. Salaries have grown at 1.5% annually between 2004-2012, barely keeping up with inflation. All the while, we continue to bring in more H1B visa applicants. If these companies -really- want more programmers, all they need to do is raise salaries. It sounds like they have plenty to spare. Not to mention repatriating all that money would go a long ways in increasing tax revenues to help states pay for their K-12 institutions.

Comment Well, since we're now reviewing the movie... (Score 1) 562

where the lead happens upon it...

Probably my greatest frustration with the movie (though, there were many) was that there was no clear lead character. Is Ray really the protagonist of the movie? From my count, there was at least three: Ray, Finn, and Han Solo, and none of them were developed particularly well. Of course, we already knew everything we needed to know about Han Solo, but as for Ray and Finn, we understand very little about their backgrounds. We are never really told why Finn becomes "self aware" of the evil that he is a part of, aside from some quick cop-out line about occasional storm troopers going rogue and needing "reprogramming". And Ray just is abandoned on Jakku as a child; we don't know who abandoned her, and we don't know why. As an audience, we really cannot empathize with either character, making it challenging at best for us to identify them as lead characters or feel any attachment to their plight or their struggle to overcome it.

When comparing the two stories, episode 4 wins hands down.

Comment This isn't just at the Federal Level (Score 4, Interesting) 242

In my home state of Minnesota, they allow anyone with either a business licensure or a mathematics licensure to teach computer science. In college, I majored in Computer Science and Secondary Mathematics Education. I found it ironic that it was my math licensure that allowed me to teach computer science and not my computer science degree. I found it just as silly that I was not allowed to teach keyboarding; mathematics teachers are not qualified for that. Also, just as amusing, anyone in the state with an English licensure is licensed to teach web page design.

It's a complete joke that our government advocates for increased computer science education, while in the same breath says that anyone can teach it. By that same perverse logic, I should be fully qualified to become a law professor. Right? Computer science is very logical...very layered...very structured...lots of inheritances...sounds like a good foundation of law to me.

Submission + - College Board Mainstreams AP Computer Science

Pollux writes: In the Fall of 2016, the College Board wil begin a new course titled "AP Computer Science Principles", designed to "introduces students to the central ideas of computer science, instilling the ideas and practices of computational thinking and inviting students to understand how computing changes the world." This course will not replace the existing "AP Computer Science A" course, but has been added, "To appeal to a broader audience, including those often underrepresented in computing." A short list of differences between the two courses notes that instructors can choose a language of their choice. The curriculum framework directs the focus of instruction away from programming as a skill and towards programming as an activity, "enabling problem solving, human expression, and creation of knowledge."

Comment The Nuclear Waste Policy Act (Score 2) 143

We should use the facility that has been built, instead of letting one lone-wolf senator prevent that from happening. Yes, a national repository would be much, much safer than the status quo.

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 was passed to create a national program to dispose of nuclear fuel safely. The bill arranged for utility companies to pay for the development of such a site, which technically was a fee payed for by customers, not taxpayers (though that's really not much of a difference). Congress in 1987 decided that Yucca Mountain was the site to use, and all that money was collected and spent to build the site.

I don't understand why Yucca Mountain even needs to be a permanent storage solution. At least storing our nuclear fuel in one location is magnitudes safer than storing it at hundreds of nuclear power facilities throughout the country. Because we all know how safe coastal power plants are, and there's no worry about rivers ever flooding them either. The only reason why we aren't in a panic about Yucca Mountain being shut down is because we haven't had an accident yet. But just getting lucky should be no basis of national policy.

Comment That he may be (Score 5, Insightful) 543

I don't like Ted Cruz. I don't like that he has double-standards. I think he's a hypocrite. And I don't like the platform he has chosen to run on.

But a good idea is a good idea. And when someone we disagree with shares a good idea, we should unite behind it, rather than censor it because of its source. If we don't, we just divide this nation further.

Comment Coincidentally (Score 5, Interesting) 210

I just finished watching the movie Tomorrowland yesterday. It was a bit of a let-down ... good acting, but the story made the movie weaker than it should have been.

But, hidden within it was this very insightful gem:

"In every moment, there is the possibility of a better future. But you people won't believe it. And because you won't believe it, you won't do what is necessary to make it a reality. So you dwell on this all-terrible future and resign yourselves to it for one reason: Because that future doesn't ask anything of you today." -- David Nix / Hugh Laurie

We like being pessimists when it comes to our future. When we imagine a brighter future, then we are responsible for doing what is necessary to create it. But when we imagine a bleaker future, there's nothing we have to do to make it a reality. We can just live as hedonists until our passing.

Comment Only Red Mercury? (Score 1) 330

I mean, if they're really this gullible, why stop there? If we want to talk about fictional destructive fluids of a crimson color, why not try to sell them red matter? What faster way to your 72 virgins than destroying an entire planet? Or don't they have a way yet to drill to the Earth's core?

Comment Re:In the search for truth (Score 1) 519

I welcome the opinions of others, especially those that differ with my own. I don't welcome the name calling that accompanies it.

There's a big difference between saying, "I disagree with your idea" and "Your idea is stupid." The former leaves room for discussion. The latter is designed to censor or invalidate the statement based on emotional argument, leaving no room for debate.

There's an even wider difference between saying "Your idea is stupid", and "You are stupid for having come up with such a stupid idea." Gstoddart transitioned from the former to the latter, though, instead of calling me stupid, he called me a "fucking idiot." Now we're not only invalidating the statement, but also the person who made it. But the individual being censored is not silenced for valid reasons, but rather over emotions.

And there is an irony in that. These terrorists have abandoned reason in their acts; emotion has clouded their judgement, emotion influenced by corrupt religious leaders. We should not allow emotion to cloud our judgements in the same way. (No, our judgements are not anything near the same as their atrocious acts. But we still are allowing emotions to interfere with the ability to scrutinize them properly.)

Comment In the search for truth (Score 1) 519

We must be willing to accept any and every possible examination of the truth.

Comments like yours are what's making our country more difficult to live in. People are too afraid to share ideas, because they fear being judged for them.

In fact, the very essence of your comment is a quintessential illustration of the problem I was trying to highlight. Let's not debate the idea. Let's judge the voice.

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