Christian Long

Arthur Benjamin: Formula for Changing Math Education

In TED Talks on April 11, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Reflection by ERIN M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Arthur Benjamin: Formula for Changing Math Education

For many years, the foundation of mathematics has been has been set up as a preceding pyramid in which the peak is Calculus. In order to arrive at this peak several other basic building block math courses must be taken, such as: Algebra and Geometry. It is important to understand that having knowledge of all basic types of math can be helpful in life and therefore they are important to learn in school. However, in today’s day in age we must ask ourselves if Calculus is the high-rise of mathematics when considering what would be the most helpful in our daily lives.

The best answer to that question is: it’s not.

The most important math when dealing with life problems is Statistics.

Though Calculus is very important to most Careers and helpful when interpreting nature, it is not a conscious math and therefore it is not very helpful when trying to solve difficult life problems. Statistics and probability on the other hand, becomes a great use in our lives. As said by Arthur Benjamin, Statistics is “Risk, reward and understanding data.” It is something that everyone should be able to use in their day to day lives. Statistics and probability can help with analyzing trends and predicting the future. With the basic knowledge of Statistics we might not be facing such an economic crisis right now. Therefore, by switching focus from Calculus to Statistics might enable learning to be more beneficial to our everyday lives.

This was a thoughtful TED talk by Arthur Benjamin.

The idea of transforming mathematics from classical to a more modernized version would be a good opportunity to help future generations make wiser choices. Benjamin did an excellent job of making his point. He did not focus on the unimportant factors of Calculus; instead he focused on why Statistics is an important course for people to take. He tells his audience that Statistics has more use in our lives than Calculus, which may only be important in some careers.

Overall, in his talk one can discover that Statistics can be exciting because of its uncertainty and risk. If you think that Statistics plays an important part in our lives, watch Arthur Benjamin’s video and help spread his ideas.


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