Maths - Try looking back in time

25th January 2013 at 00:00

What it's all about

I have taught at my present college for 20 years. Sometimes, as Jonny Now, I look back to the teacher I was, Jonny Then, and have an imaginary conversation, writes Jonny Griffiths.

"So, Jonny Now, what can you tell me about maths teaching in 2013? What's the big change?"

"That, Jonny Then, is easy - it's the advent of the computer."

"We've got computers - some RM Nimbus machines that we run Logo on."

"Ah, but we now have computers in every room, all connected via a network - with programs for graphing, spreadsheets, games and creating resources."

"What else have they made possible?"

"My whiteboard has become 'interactive'. You can project anything that your computer screen can show. I can refer back to earlier slides in the lesson and I can send out the lesson to pupils afterwards."

"Anything else?"

"Let me show you the internet and 'websites' - they offer resources, videos, interaction with other teachers."

"But surely these sites must be very expensive to join?"

"Most of them are free."

"It is hard to believe that mankind can be that generous."

"It's true. Here's a maths site called Wolfram Alpha. You just put in your question and back comes the answer."

"What must all this mean for exams? Show me the exam papers of the future. I want to be inspired."

"Er ... well, Jonny Then, I should say that computers - proper computers - are not allowed in most exams. As for exam papers, you could have a look at this."

"But isn't this exactly the same as what we do?"

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