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Re: [earthtreasury] Thank you, Edward, open source math books

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  • Edward Cherlin
    ... See Seymour Papert, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas. We want to structure something like your problem set around the most powerful
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 23, 2008
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      On Tue, Dec 23, 2008 at 11:20 AM, Andrius Kulikauskas <ms@...> wrote:
      > Edward Cherlin,
      >
      > Thank you for including me and others at our Minciu Sodas in your open
      > text book initiative for the OLPC laptop.
      >
      > Yes, I would very much like to write such an electronic book. That would
      > be a good step strategically for me at this time as I look for new income
      > that is relevant to our lab. This semester I taught algebra from my notes
      > at the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina. My students enjoyed
      > my teaching and I have heard that it has helped them in other classes as
      > well. I would like to write up a series of "Classic Math Problems" and I
      > think they would link together well as an electronic resource and also
      > could be made available as single pages that could be printed out and used
      > in places like Africa as Ricardo envisages below.

      See Seymour Papert, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful
      Ideas. We want to structure something like your problem set around the
      most powerful ideas in mathematics, such as shared structure,
      symmetry, proof, computability, and the like. We want to abstract out
      notation and calculation from these ideas to the point were
      preschoolers can understand what the ideas are for, and how to use
      them in the physical world. Then we can introduce the calculations and
      proofs at the appropriate ages, after the rest of the foundation is
      laid.

      Like putting a straightedge to a curve to get at the fundamental idea
      behind the derivative, or cutting shapes out of paper and weighing
      them to get at the idea behind the integral. Or programming constant
      acceleration in Turtle Art with a dot drawn at the beginning of each
      time interval, and then showing that you get the same pattern of dots
      when you take a video of a ball dropping.

      Then we want to work out which ideas you need to have in order to get
      at other ideas, and which ideas children of ordinary experience can
      grasp immediately.

      > I would like to attend the OLPC XO camp the week of January 12-17 in
      > Cambridge, Massachusetts. That is finals week over here and I have asked
      > if I might end my class early so that I could attend. I have a ticket
      > which I can use to fly from the US to Europe. Is there any hope for
      > sponsorship of a ticket from Europe to the US?

      Yes. I added you at http://sugarlabs.org/go/XOCamp_2#Requests.

      You should join the content mailing list at http://lists.laptop.org/,
      and whatever else you think useful.

      > I share Ricardo's letter. Ricardo the main group now is Edward Cherlin's
      > working group Earth Treasury
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/earthtreasury/
      > Edward, I recommend that we all work through your group because your
      > personal leadership is key here for this initiative but also others, which
      > through you are all related.
      >
      > Also, Ann Henry is interested in helping with ESL text books.

      Thank you, Ann. I am hoping to get some help in computational
      linguistics for transformational grammar, so that we can create
      software that can create sentences around the 200+ grammatical
      patterns of English and of languages in general. We need to know which
      patterns children use at each stage of development, and help them to
      make those patterns automatic. That plus something like the Basic
      English vocabulary would provide minimum fluency, and the children
      could move on from there in any appropriate direction, continuing to
      be fluent in whatever they have learned.

      I also want to adapt some of the conversational software that is
      readily available to other languages. Eliza is probably the best-known
      example, but I'm sure we can come up with something more appropriate
      for our children. Perhaps a Simon Asks game would work.

      Simon asks, "Are you there?" "Yes, I am here."

      "Are you a boy?" ""

      > Ann, I
      > encourage you to join Earth Treasury as well, send a blank message to
      > earthtreasury-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

      And please go to lists.laptop.org and subscribe to content and
      whatever else you think useful.

      > Andrius
      >
      > Andrius Kulikauskas, Minciu Sodas, http://www.ms.lt, ms@...
      >
      > -----------------------
      >
      >
      > Hi Andrius
      >
      > I'm sure there'll be a lot of discussion of open source books. I'll be
      > intersted to see follow the threads.
      >
      > I think Pam McLean might be interested in it. She knows a teacher in
      > Nigeria called Fola (Folabi Sunday), who teaches in a rural school with
      > very few books (just 10). Mind you, 'producing the best math book' and
      > 'getting books to cash-strapped schools' are 2 different aims. The only
      > connection I can think of is that modern books are too long, leading to
      > high print costs for 300 pages, when a better-written book could say it
      > all in 75 to 100 pages, like text-books from the 1940s and 1950s, when
      > there was paper-rationing.
      >
      > I saw this article about math teaching the other day, that may be relevent
      > to iproving the teaching style in math books. It makes a number of very
      > good points, such as an over-emphasis on 'rigour', making the books
      > dry-as-dust and killing people's interest stone dead, instead of
      > presenting material in a natural, visual way, showing what it really means
      > in the real world and what you use it for. It says its like teaching years
      > of the theory of paint-production, before kids are allowed to start
      > finger-painting.
      >
      > http://betterexplained.com/articles/a-gentle-introduction-to-learning-calculus/
      >
      > I particularly liked the clear way it summarises what arithmetic, algebra
      > and calculus are...
      >
      > Here's my take: Calculus does to algebra what algebra did to arithmetic.
      >
      > Arithmetic is about manipulating numbers (addition, multiplication, etc.).
      >
      > Algebra finds patterns between numbers: a2 + b2 = c2 is a famous
      > relationship, describing the sides of a right triangle. Algebra finds
      > entire sets of numbers — if you know a and b, you can find c.
      >
      > Calculus finds patterns between equations: you can see how one equation
      > (circumference = 2 * pi * r) relates to a similar one (area = pi * r2 ).
      > It also makes you think about how much a book should emphasise 1) How a
      > formula was first found/discovered/proved, compared with 2) Using it for
      > practical things. What's the correct emphasis for a particular readership
      > and age-range?
      >
      > I have a bit of 'a bee in my bonnet' about the way math is taught. The
      > dry-as-dust approach to math teaching on my electronics degree course made
      > it 10 times harder than neccessary.
      >
      > I found that reading the nice easy style and diagrams of UK Open
      > University text books in the university library, made it a lot easier for
      > me to read the dry-style text books I'd been assigned on the electronics
      > course. Math is a large part of Digital Signal Processing (digital filters
      > for sound/radio signals, and the stability criterion
      > (bounciness/undershoot/overshoot) of electronic motor control systems for
      > elevators, etc.
      >
      > Digital Signal Processing might be a good area of applied-math for some of
      > our African friends to get into, on a 'hire a programmer' type basis. It
      > doesn't require much internet access. It's 99% offline work and hard
      > thinking. PCs are fast enough to do DSP functions nowadays, and there are
      > some cheap PIC or AVR microcontroller boards to do real-time DSP and start
      > developing some products. It might suit people doing college/university
      > level courses like Kims and Prosper in Tanzania. DSP comes into sound and
      > video processing, photo processing for sharpening, etc.
      >
      > Can you tell me which is the 'master' Yahoo Group for the 'open source
      > books' discussion please. Then I can post this myself.
      >
      > Have a nice day.
      >
      > Ricardo
      >
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Please note our rule: Each letter sent here enters the Public Domain unless it explicitly notes otherwise.Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >



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