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Sunday, April 26, 2015

6 Ways to Make Math, Science and Technology Fun for Girls (and Boys)

Photo: Leyla Seka
"Over the past few months there's been a lot of conversation about whether women are getting a fair shake in Silicon Valley." according to Leyla Seka, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Salesforce Desk.com.

Photo:  Huffington Post Canada

It's fantastic that there's so much focus on gender equality, but most of the discussion bypasses the fact that we still need to get more women to even try to succeed in technology. As we look ahead to the next generation, we need to be sure that we raise girls who believe they can do anything they want to do, and that we foster their interest in math, science, and technology early on. Here are six ways you can help:

1. Change Your Thinking. 
We need to take a hard look at the way we think and the messages we give to our children. Many of us were brought up to believe that girls "didn't do" math. So when I had the opportunity to learn to code I didn't take it. That was something boys did. We need to change this way of thinking, and we need to change it now! Give your girls screwdrivers and power tools. Teach them to code. Encourage them to get dirty. My kids are both boys but I promise to raise them to believe that girls can do anything they can do. 
Read more...

Source: Huffington Post Canada


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Mathnasium – A Different Approach to Math

Jennifer Chevalier has always had a passion for math. So much so, that she studied the subject through college, earned her teaching credentials through The Evergreen State College and now teaches 8th grade Math at Bush Middle School in Tumwater. The mother of two has always shown a true commitment to teaching math and adding Mathnasium Owner to her list of passions is a natural fit.

Photo: ThurstonTalk

“When my son was first born we were looking for a way for me to stay home,” explains Chevalier. “We looked into Mathnasium and my husband and I fell in love with the idea behind the franchise. We became very invested in the ideas and methods being used, but at the time just couldn’t afford to do it. When my husband passed away I was given some life insurance money. I thought about my options of what I could do with the money and decided to invest it into something we both believed in: Mathnasium.”

The idea behind the Mathnasium Method is simplicity. “It’s all about breaking down the problems and focusing on the vocabulary,” says Chevalier. “The creator of the method, Larry Martinek, used his knowledge of math and watching students struggle with math to come up with the concepts we use. It’s about changing the way a student looks at the problem. For example, instead of saying, ‘What is seven times eight?’ we approach the problem and ask, ‘What is seven eight times?’ This simple change can lead to so much more understanding for a student.”

Mathnasium focuses on the gaps to build the foundation. “The first thing we do is give an assessment to discover the gaps in student understanding,” explains Chevalier. “The assessments are built for different grade levels and include visual, written, and verbal problems. Based on the assessment, we are able to find those gaps of understanding. Our goal is to fill those gaps. We don’t want to have to have a student rely on a tutor forever. Our goal is to build a solid foundation that they can depend upon to tackle any problem.”
Read more... 

About Mathnasium

Mathnasium Learning Centers, the nation’s leading math-only learning center franchise, specializes in teaching kids math in a way that makes sense to them. Students go to Mathnasium year-round to catch up, keep up, and get ahead in math. The proprietary Mathnasium Method™ is the result of 40+ years of hands-on instruction and research. Franchising since 2003, Mathnasium has become one of the fastest growing educational franchises, with a new center opening each week. There are more than 400 Mathnasium franchises in the U.S. and abroad.  
 
Source: ThurstonTalk


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Mathematicians dispute claims that the 'golden ratio' is a natural blueprint for beauty

Follow on Twitter as @montaukian
Ian Johnston - The Independent reports, "Don't flaunt your curves: Why the 'golden ratio' isn't the natural blueprint for beauty that everyone thinks it is."
 

Revered as the formula that defines beauty, the golden ratio is a mathematically derived principle embodied in objects as diverse as a spiralled seashell and the Parthenon. 
 
But the widespread belief that the golden ratio is the natural blueprint for beauty is pseudo-scientific “hocus-pocus” and a “myth that refuses to go away”, according to leading mathematicians.

Theories that the Parthenon in Athens, pictured, and Great Pyramid in Egypt were built according to the golden ratio have also been disproved (EPA)
Photo: The Independent

The issue has flared up again, after one of the United States’s leading scientific organisations, the Smithsonian, promoted highly contentious claims about the ratio at the National Math Festival in Washington DC earlier this month.

Eve Torrence, a professor at Randolph–Macon College in Virginia, said she was appalled to find a Smithsonian-branded stall which claimed the golden ratio is found in the human body. It offered visitors the chance to put their head through an oval, allegedly to demonstrate whether their face was in accordance with what is also known as the “divine proportion”.

“The idea that there’s this one rectangle [based on the golden ratio] that’s this perfect one... and is reflected in the human body, that’s one of the most silly things. Human beings are so different,” she said.

“There are lots of ratios and proportions in the human body, but they are not all the golden ratio and they are not all precisely the golden ratio. It’s a very loosey-goosey, pseudo-science kind of thing that they are promoting.

“There’s not this number that’s got this perfection in the way people think it does. It feels dirty to mathematicians. It’s hocus-pocus.”

However, there is genuine maths behind the ratio itself. First described by Euclid, it is created by dividing a line into two unequal sections in such a way that the ratio between the whole line and the longer section is the same as the ratio between the longer and shorter sections. This works out at approximately 1.618:1.

The ratio can be used to create different shapes such as a rectangle, triangle or a spiral. The spiral shapes are found in some plants.

But Dr Keith Devlin, a Stanford University mathematician, said Euclid had never claimed the ratio had any aesthetic qualities, an idea largely invented by Gustav Theodor Fechner, a 19th-century German psychologist. More recently it appeared in a 1959 educational cartoon, Donald in Mathmagic Land, and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

Dr Devlin, who campaigns against myths associated with the golden ratio, pointed to “considerable evidence” that people do not find golden rectangles more appealing than others. On the contrary, they tend to favour aspect ratios they are familiar with, such as an A4 piece of paper or a computer screen.

He also said the popular idea that the navel divides the human body in accordance with the golden ratio is false. The figures are close, but there is considerable variation.

Theories that the Parthenon in Athens and Great Pyramid in Egypt were built according to the golden ratio have also been disproved, he said. “The golden ratio stuff is in the realm of religious belief. People will argue it is true because they believe it, but it’s just not fact.”
Read more...

Source: The Independent


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Baylor building support networks for women in STEM

"In the quest to boost the number of female students in science and technology fields, Baylor University faculty and students see a need to increase the support networks for women as they progress through their education." continues Waco Tribune-Herald.

Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Senior Allison Brown and her roommate, Kelleigh Maroney, are the only two female students graduating from Baylor’s computer science program in May.

Brown recalls challenges her freshman year in connecting with the already few women in the program, and has since made it a priority to reach out to and even tutor incoming female students starting computer science studies.

“If you don’t sit next to a girl your first day in your first class, it’s less likely you’re going to be friends with them. . . . You’re not really talking to them in class or know their names as well,” said 

Brown, 21, who founded the Women in Computer Science student chapter at Baylor last year. “I didn’t even know some of the girls in my class until my sophomore year.”

Emily Sandvall, associate director for undergraduate programs at Baylor’s Rogers School of Engineering and Computer Science, also wanted to foster greater connections among the college’s women students. Last year, she launched a series of intimate talks with female students living at the Teal Residential College, the on-campus living and learning community for engineering and computer science majors.

“I basically went floor by floor and just had these conversations with women,” Sandvall said. “We played with Legos while we were talking about women’s issues in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and their experiences in the classroom, and talking about ways as a community of women all pursuing the same thing that we could support and encourage one another, and it went really well.”
Read more

Source: Waco Tribune-Herald


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New eBook: "Mindhacker: 60 Tips and Tricks to Take Your Mind to the Next Level"

Don't you wish you were just a little smarter?
 

Download your free copy today

New Free eBook
Take Your Mind to the Next Level: 60 Tips, Tricks, and Games

Free for a Limited Time ($16.99 value)  
Compelling tips and tricks to improve your mental skills and help you communicate better, think more clearly, and keep your mind strong and flexible.

Improve memory, accelerate learning, manage time, spark creativity, and hone math and logic skills.  

Download your free copy today  

Source: TradePub 


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Saturday, April 25, 2015

How to Succeed in Math by Kidzworld

"How can you succeed in math? 
Kidzworld has a few basic things that you can do to help you with this difficult subject."

Did you know that the left side of your brain is the side responsible for math success? 
Photo: Kidzworld
Imagine asking a group of students at your school what subject they find most challenging. What do you think they would say? Chances are, many of them would cry out, loud and clear, "Math!" Why is math so hard, anyway? How can you get better at it? Let's find out!

Why is Math so Hard?
Everyone has a different opinion on this question. Some scientists believe that each person is inclined to either the left or right side of the brain. The left side represents logical, mathematical thinking, whereas the right side is more responsive to artistic and creative endeavors. Maybe you identify as a right side of the brain person. Don't let that stop you from succeeding in math! Here are some helpful tips for how to improve your math grade and, more importantly, actually understand the math that you are doing. 

Source: Kidzworld


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E-commerce companies flood internet with ads

"Thejesh GN, a Bangalore-based technologist, does not have a Facebook app on his phone, often browses on incognito mode and has installed a tool that detects and blocks spy ads and trackers." continues Times of India.
 

Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

All this is to escape from the pervasive ads that have now begun to invade his online presence. But Thejesh knows it's of little use.

Given the proliferation of e-commerce companies in India, the barrage of ads are unlikely to stop. "It's an everyday fight. There is no way to get rid of all these ads," said Thejesh, co-founder of data science community Datameet. Thejesh represents a growing population of internet users who are becoming aware of the risks that come with their online habits -- specifically, having each data point of their everyday lives collected by companies and tech startups.

This includes an individual's IP address, browser type, pages viewed, and the date and time of use. On mobile, the data collected could be more elaborate and accurate -- including a user's location, device type and contact list.

Where does all this data go? Some are sold to brands via ad networks, and others are used by companies to streamline the ads shown to specific users.
Read more... 

Source: Times of India


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Where Are All the Educational Video Games for Adults?

Follow on Twitter as @HeyHeyESJ
"Does learning stop when you get older?" according to Eric Johnson, writes about the videogame industry.

That would appear to be the case if this week’s Games for Change Festival in New York was any indication. I don’t write about education often, but the exposure to a range of developers eager to make games that effect change got me thinking about why so many of them were geared to kids.

Photo:

Educational games are estimated to be an $8.4 billion market in the U.S. And at a high level, the industry seems to agree that educational titles are effectively complementing traditional classroom and book learnin’.

But in listening to developers and educators at the festival, I noticed a curious limit to the discussion: Educational games were almost always implied to be aimed at children.

But what about a straightforward lesson? You may want to learn to code, or take another crack at calculus, or figure out what happened in the Civil War, but you haven’t set foot in a school in ages. Sure, you can read a book or watch a college lecture online, but I’d wager most of the educational games you’ll find are clearly for the younger set, like Lexica:

Amplify Games: The World of Lexica™ (new) 


Source: Re/code and Amplify Education Channel (YouTube)


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A digital ‘Arab Spring’ for higher education? by John Traxler

Photo: John Traxler
John Traxler, professor of mobile learning at the University of Wolverhampton writes, "The phrase “Digital Life and Mobile Learning” is intended to summarise the tensions and paradox between two powerful and significant ideas."

This article is based on a presentation he will give at the Digital Life Environments conference in Turkey to be held from 4-6 May.

These ideas are, on the one hand, the attempts in schools, colleges and universities around the world to use personal mobile devices to finally deliver learning ‘anywhere, anytime’, as promised 20 years ago by the e-learning missionaries and visionaries, and, on the other hand, the reality of people outside these institutions, using the same mobile technologies to create, transform, discuss, discard, share, store and transmit ideas, opinions, images and information.

These attempts at exploiting mobile devices within schools, colleges and universities have succeeded in demonstrating:
  • that the reach of education can extend (to rural areas or marginal groups, for example),
  • that education can be enriched and enhanced (by being more personalised, customised and localised, for example), and
  • that education can be more engaging (for disaffected and disillusioned groups and individuals, for example).
But these attempts have been resource intensive and have not always produced convincing evidence. In the words of one journalist, the evidence has been “fluffy” and not addressed the business case for mobile learning. Many of the more successful projects have been the least exciting or innovative.
Read more...

Source: University World News


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New Issue Published: International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies, Vol 9, No 2 (2015)

International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM) has just published its latest issue at  http://www.i-jim.org
Have a look at the Table of Contents.

Review the Table of Contents here and then visit the website to review articles and items of interest.

iJIM is an Open Access Journal. Readers don't have to pay any fee. Only registration is necessary.
Register


Table of Contents

Short Papers

Do We Have to Prohibit the Use of Mobile Phones in Classrooms?  
By Heba Mohammad, Ayham Fayyoumi and Omar AlShathry

Abstract 
People take their mobile phones everywhere they go. In Saudi Arabia, the mobile penetration is very high and students use their phones for different reasons in the classroom. The use of mobile devices in classroom triggers an alert of the impact it might have on students’ learning. This study investigates the association between the use of mobile phones during classroom and the learners’ performance and satisfaction. Results showed that students get distracted, and that this diversion of their attention is reflected in their academic success. However, this is not applicable for all. Some students received high scores even though they declared using mobile phones in classroom, which triggers a request for a deeper study.


Influences on the Adoption of Mobile Learning in Saudi Women Teachers in Higher Education
By Leena Ahmad Alfarani

Abstract
Although mobile devices are ubiquitous on university campuses, teacher-readiness for mobile learning has yet to be fully explored in the non-western nations. This study shows that two main factors affect the adoption and use of m-learning among female teachers within a university in Saudi Arabia—resistance to change and perceived social culture. These determinants of the current use and intention to use of m-learning were revealed through the analysis of an online questionnaire completed by 165 female faculty members. This study reveals several important issues for m-learning research and practice. The results further extend the body of knowledge in the field of m-learning, with the findings revealing that resistance to change and perceived social culture are significant determinants of the current use of and the intention to use m-learning.

Enjoy your reading!  

Source: International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies  


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