[textbooks] ARE NOT meant to hook a studentâ€™s interest

Says who?

]]>text books serve a purpose. particularly that of honing one’s practice with a view to competency that serves larger questions of interest to the learner.

they ARE NOT meant to hook a student’s interest – that is incumbent upon the teacher and in fact upon the student’s own input.

my very brightest and most curious students thrive most most vividly when they have text questions with which to hone their understanding. in fact they beg me to give them more to practice – and with good reason. Those very staid questions serve an entirely different purpose – to support their practical and natural inclinations of curiosity with rigour and raw skill acquisition.

every resource has its place, and the professional teacher makes the most of every resource they have.

]]>There’s no like button so here’s a “LIKE”, especially the last “My statement…”. ]]>

1) They ripped this app idea off of The Big Bang Theory :-) http://bigbangtheory.wikia.com/wiki/The_Lenwoloppali_Differential_Equation_Scanner

2) I tried it out with some easy and tougher equations/expressions. There are some issues with the text recognition. But this one was odd. It was a question that had exponents and fractions over fractions. It correctly interpreted the text and started to simplify it correctly but then it dropped a set of brackets as seen in these two steps (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0-WU3yuHa7GQWpjeVhZUk01YWs&authuser=0) but interpreted it correctly for the exponent but incorrectly for the 2 out front as seen in these two steps (https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0-WU3yuHa7GUURlWnhqZjFnQ2c&authuser=0). So this has potential but still needs some work.

3) Even though it is not perfect I do think it’s shots fired. There are some teachers who see things like this as an apparatus to replace teachers. My statement to them is that if you think this kind of thing can replace you then perhaps you should be replaced. Harsh but I think true. ]]>

The computer parsed it as a multiplication sign, due to human error – the editor’s not following basic math style guidelines.

]]>This reminds me of some controversial issues involving algorithms that search for plagarism of student work (i.e. whether or not they just googled their paper). Someone pointed out that if we wanted students to stop googling their papers, maybe we should stop giving them the same papers to write.

I’ve kind of become of the opinion that if you can solve the problem with a simple search, it’s probably not one worth asking. Or, if you can quickly look it up, it’s probably not something worth memorizing.

I think it’s time that we start asking deeper questions that only people, not machines, can answer.

]]>Just tried the app with basic, one-step problems I’ve been giving my seventh graders. Wish I could post the screenshots to show the app.

-16=d+21

It gave the correct answer, but when asked to show the steps, it showed:

-d=21+16

-d=37

d=-37

I find this one of the most convoluted methods to solve this problem! I may show my seventh graders some screen shots from the app tomorrow and ask them what they think of this solution – a teachable moment from a poorly written app!

]]>Good point about how technology should push us as teachers to ask questions that technology can’t answer (more conceptual vs procedural). In precalculus, we are finding roots of polynomials. There are lots of good theorems (Rational Root Theorem, Descartes Rule of Signs, etc) that were much more helpful before the invention of graphing calculators. These theorems tend not to make sense to my students because they can just graph the polynomial. When graphing was slower (by hand), these theorems made problem solving quicker.

Also, I tried out the app myself and found it didn’t work very well. It had a hard time reading the equation correctly out of my textbook and had trouble solving quadratics and systems. Unless it becomes more user friendly, it will take more time for students to use than for students to actually solve the problem. Wolfram Alpha is much more reliable. Sites like Hotmath have also been around for awhile which also work the problems out step by step. This is one of the reasons why I don’t count homework as a significant portion of a student’s grade in my courses.

]]>New style homework question: Do this problem with Photomath and explain exactly how it arrived at a garbage solution.

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