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Education 101: Teaching Exciting Maths to Kids

Conrad Wolfram Maths Teaching Mathematics

(Why teaching maths have to be so boring so says Conrad Wolfram who runs the worldwide arm of Wolfram Research, the mathematical lab behind the cutting-edge knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha. Image source: Wikipedia)

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“We’ve got a real problem with math education right now. Basically, no one’s very happy.

Those learning it think it’s disconnected, uninteresting and hard. Those trying to employ them think they don’t know enough. Governments realize that it’s a big deal for our economies, but don’t know how to fix it. And teachers are also frustrated.

Yet math is more important to the world than at any point in human history. So at one end we’ve got falling interest in education in math, and at the other end we’ve got a more mathematical world, a more quantitative world, than we ever have had.

So what’s the problem, why has this chasm opened up, and what can we do to fix it?

Well actually, I think the answer is staring us right in the face. Use computers. I believe that correctly using computers is the silver bullet for making math education work.

So to explain that, let me first talk a little bit about what math looks like in the real world and what it looks like in education.

See, in the real world math isn’t necessarily done by mathematicians. It’s done by geologists, engineers, biologists, all sorts of different people — modeling and simulation.

It’s actually very popular. But in education it looks very different — dumbed-down problems, lots of calculating — mostly by hand.

Lots of things that seem simple and not difficult like in the real world, except if you’re learning it.”

Back in Malaysia, we still have not come to a stage where we have started to think of new ways of teaching the young ones.

No, no, we are too busy doing other dumb things which are causing more damage than good.

We are still struggling with the current teaching methods and education system.

We are too busy deciding on which language we should be teaching Maths and Science although the very basic answer is staring right at our face.

We are too busy enforcing religious rules by whacking a 10 years old kid for bringing non-halal food for his own consumption.

We are too busy speaking racial slurs towards the young ones and create unnecessary racial and religious phobia towards schools.

We are too busy prosecuting students who do critical thinking and actively participate in the nation’s affairs.

Perhaps that may explain this (and we have yet to compare with standards in other countries).

Nonetheless, the use of computers to make learning more fun is a good place to start with (now couple that with rich information on the internet).

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3 thoughts on “Education 101: Teaching Exciting Maths to Kids”

  1. In Malaysia, you can just forget about it,it’s now the MBMMBI system from 2012, unless a new government takes over soon and revamp the whole education policy.

    I have written to the Education Dept, the minister, the PM and what have you and they are all not interested to bring back PPSMI or bring back English medium schools.

    However, for those interested to learn maths and science in English, I have this to offer: a one-to-one maths tutoring online and on demand at

    Watch us on the BBC –

    Best regards.

    Hussaini Abdul Karim

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