My Philosophy of Education

By Kirby Urner
March 4, 2002

The teaching is to the teacher, and comes back most to him. spacer2.gif - 0.7 K-- Walt Whitman

As with any language, the purpose of a mathematical language is to communicate.

Since at least the 1990s, when the first graphical web browsers became freely available, and web sites began to proliferate at an exponential rate, the set of communication technologies has expanded, presenting more opportunities and, of course, more to learn.

Furthermore, if you communicate in cyberspace, you probably have a computer, in which case many more opportunities to learn relevant skills present themselves. The 1990s saw an explosion of both client-side and server-side programming languages and interactive development environments (IDEs), and these have continued to grow in sophistication.

In the 1970s, calculators replaced slide rules as an essential and portable computing technology, and, because of their relative ease of use, were picked up by very young students. This trend generated a lot of controversy because over-dependence on calculators left many treating even basic arithmetic operations as mysterious black boxes, about which they had little insight or intuitive grasp.


Fig 1: Stella Octangula (POV-Ray)

More recently, computers have made inroads into the space formerly monopolized by calculators, both in the classroom and in homeschooling environments. This trend comes with its own controversies and down-sides. Computers are not just revved up calculators, and many of the issues are new -- but so are many of the opportunities.

This web site is about integrating studies in mathematics with communications skills, particularly those relevant to participating in communities having a presence in cyberspace.


Fig. 2: Sine Waves (POV-Ray)

One excellent way to learn about a topic is to teach it, i.e. to communicate about it to others. My hope is that students in the 21st century will take advantage of the new technologies to teach their peers, and to develop portfolios which showcase their many interests and skills. These portfolios (e.g. web sites) will serve as platforms for further collaboration and communication with others around the world.

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