adult ed math– it’s different…

Posted on June 1, 2014


SO! The stories continue on my LINCS numeracy group.   Can’t say I was surprised when somebody posted an enthusiastic testimony for Khan Academy LIte for use in prisons (where online access isn’t an option)… and I  refrained from replying until somebody responded that they’d had mixed reviews, then I spelled out my recent experience with the area lessons.

Since I’ve now got personal experience with the standards and expectations of adult ed folks, it makes a whole lot more sense for them to like KA.   “Math education”  is about performing manipulations of symbols and “solving problems” that sort of look a lot like what used to be in things called Math BOoks and hoping you get allowed to do whatever it is that is your reason for taking (or teaching) this “course.”    You are *not* expected to analyze closely, or have numbers actually work out.   Now, I’ll double check my arithmetic after caffeine, but another commenter said he thought the “expected answer” to the latest “challenge problem” would be 7,5 because then all the points would “fit nicely” into the equation x^2 -12x + 40 = y.

… the other points included 2, 18   and 9,12

x = 2

y = 18

18 = 2 x 2 – 12 x 2 + 40

18 = 4 + 40 – 24

18 = 20 ?


y = 12 and x = 9

12 = 9 squared – 12 times 9 plus 40

12 = 81 – 108 + 40

-27 + 40 = …. 12?

As I said… as before… I am utterly willing to stand corrected.

However, I expect that the other folks in the group will simply believe that I am just. not. on. their. wavelength. And if, in fact, that’s the community standard… then I have to question this love for the concept of “learning” being a “social activity.”  I’m sorry, if the majority decides that 12 = 13, that doesn’t make it so. (I’m pondering all those “but what *is* truth?” discussions… )

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