Monday, February 16, 2009

Giving Thanks

> 'Necessary' is hyperbole too. It is very important
> however.
> Now that those are out of the way, would you please
> indicate how you see middle and high school math
> would be enhanced by the use of graphing calculators?
> Richard

My feeling about calculators, graphing or no, is similar to Haim's towards his Education Mafia (never met the beast). They're available, use them if you must, but this is 2009, and we actually do have rather well defined notions of how to reboot the engineering curriculum at least, even if maths proves terminally moribund, and that involves running low cost FOSS on commodity hardware, not talking about calculators, sorry.

I am talking about group theory, elementary version, don't care if you get to Sylow's or those, Euclid's Algorithm, Euler's Theorem for Polyhedra, totatives, totient, polyhedral numbers, and so on (nothing I haven't posted about a hundred times on this list) -- this is about opening doors, not going all the way down the hall to the far end. Choose a hallway in college maybe, but get a sense of your options. If there's no good engineering taught in your school, how will you know?

In CS, we're pretty happy with Python, so there's not much objection from further up the pipeline. Kids are into this appengine business, looking for entrepreneurial angles, ways to differentiate outside of Facebook and Myspace.

Does that mean we have all the kinks worked out? Per my letter to the school superintendent, there's still a lot of discovery needed.** We have a lot of budgeted inservice and a lot of talent in the private sector, and a community service requirement in some companies.

Mentor Graphics has been stellar, in supporting our sciences, geek subculture ( etc.). The late Doug Strain's ESI a role model too. Bruce Adams of Applied Materials... great group out here, proud Pacific Rim capitals (Seattle another hot spot for innovation, thx to Gates Foundation probably, other initiatives).

I only know a fraction of what's going on, but that's enough to keep me focused. Lots of data centers in our present and future, especially if you count the casinos (and why wouldn't you?).

Speaking of Microsoft, many thanks to Paul Allen, and also to Joyce Cresswell, our director, without whom very little of the present Saturday Academy scenario would have been possible.


Notes: (cool) (promo) (** from above)

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