Science and Technology : The "Kill Math" Project


Contextualizer Synthesizer
Nov 2, 2009
theory to application to discussion to percussion
independent thoughtist thinker, context linker
The 2 demensional.. paper/pencil mode of math is great.. but limited.. this project deals with presenting and teaching mathematical concepts in ways that take advantage of the current technological processes. Many schools use technology but they use it very old-world ways. Imagine how much more interesting Geography class would be with a large Google Earth screen the size of a chalk board. Imagine how much more interesting and mathematics would be with working 3d models of processes.. and real world examples right there on screen. The possibilities are really endless.
This is something I have been playing around with for a while.. I use the Python Programming language to teach my sons math. They create functions for each formula they learn. And they're able to explore theoretical questions very easily through very basic computer programming. By the time my oldest finished the Calculus section at he had a fully functional library of thoroughly tested and debugged Python Functions and a very detailed understanding of the math behind those functions. I was convinced that this was a much more powerful way to teach mathematics.
anyway.. I just found this site an hour or so ago.. check it out:
Kill Math

Bret Victor / April 11, 2011

The power to understand and predict the quantities of the world should not be restricted to those with a freakish knack for manipulating abstract symbols.
When most people speak of Math, what they have in mind is more its mechanism than its essence. This "Math" consists of assigning meaning to a set of symbols, blindly shuffling around these symbols according to arcane rules, and then interpreting a meaning from the shuffled result. The process is not unlike casting lots.
This mechanism of math evolved for a reason: it was the most efficient means of modeling quantitative systems given the constraints of pencil and paper. Unfortunately, most people are not comfortable with bundling up meaning into abstract symbols and making them dance. Thus, the power of math beyond arithmetic is generally reserved for a clergy of scientists and engineers (many of whom struggle with symbolic abstractions more than they'll actually admit).
We are no longer constrained by pencil and paper. The symbolic shuffle should no longer be taken for granted as the fundamental mechanism for understanding quantity and change. Math needs a new interface.

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