What topics should be covered in school mathematics?

On May 25, Jo Boaler and I had a public conversation at Stanford about K-12 mathematics. (An edited video recording will be made available on the youcubed and SUMOP websites as soon as it is ready.) Our conversation was live-tweeted by @AliceKeeler, and that led to a lively twitter debate that lasted several days, with much of the focus on what topics should be taught.

Having been a professional mathematician for close on fifty years (first in pure mathematics, then in the world of business and government service), my take, which I articulated in my conversation with Jo and you can find in the Blue Notepad videos on this site, is somewhat unusual. I actually believe it is (in many ways, but not all) not important what is taught, but rather how it is taught.

My recent post in my monthly Devlin’s Angle for the Mathematical Association of America explains why I have that view. In a follow-up post next month, I will connect the argument I present this month with the discussion Jo and I had and the ensuing twitter debate.

New video posted in the VIDEOS section

The interview was recorded in February last year, in Belgrade, Serbia, but was only recently published on Youtube. You can find it on the site VIDEOS page. The accompanying text translates more or less as follows:

“An exclusive interview given in February last year to the 12th edition of the Elements magazine, published by the Center for the Promotion of Science.
In a comprehensive interview with Aleksandar Ravas and Tijana Markovic, published in the 12th Element, Devlin spoke about mathematical thinking, mathematics education, predicting the future, the difference between false stories in mathematics and the reality, and many other interesting and socially engaged topics.”

New podcast on mathematical outreach

BBVA tweet, May 9, 2019

The latest podcast in the “We learn together” (Aprendemos juntos) series sponsored by the BBVA (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, a multinational bank) features an interview they recorded with me a few months ago. This is actually the audio track from a video that will be published shortly.

Much of the interview focuses on my work on mathematical outreach, including what led me to devote so much effort to that enterprise.

— KD

The Misconceptions About Math That Are Keeping Students From Succeeding

That’s not my title above. It’s the headline to an article published by Forbes two days ago. It’s a must read for all students, teachers and parents.

SUMOP addresses the biggest of the myths. (Actually, all of them, but the biggest one jumps right out.) Not by saying it is myth. Not by explaining why it’s a myth. Rather, by showing it’s a myth. With relevant, contemporary, real-world examples.