Christian Long

Arthur Benjamin: Formula for Changing Math Education

In TED Talks on May 26, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Extra credit reflection by EMMA L.

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

Arthur Benjamin:  Formula for Changing Math Education

Every year in my math class there is always someone who raises there hand and asks “are we ever going to use this in real life?” Many times the answer is yes yet sometimes the teacher changes the subject, but why? Why would we teach children information they will never use?

Arthur Benjamin sees that the math curriculum is based on a pyramid that builds up to one subject; calculus. Arthur doesn’t see calculus as the correct top of the pyramid. He believes that high school students everywhere should know statistics and probability.

Arthur sees more and more students use statistics in their everyday lives after high school much more than he sees calculus used. Although schools everywhere push so much for calculus that statistics is seen as the lesser on of the subjects.

Arthur explains if all of the American citizens knew about probability and statistics, we would not be in the economic mess today. The more educated we are about events and ways to help us in our everyday lives, the better off we will be. Statistics can also be seen in games and gambling that make this “boring” subject into an interesting one.

As technology is adapting and changing before our eyes, the math curriculum needs to do the same thing. It is the modern, discrete math that we use in our lives everyday. It is not the classical calculus that Newton used in the scientific revolution. 14

Arthur proposes that math be taken to the next level and that students should learn formulas and vocabulary that will matter to them in the future instead of information they will never use again.

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