Into the Voigt of ChatGPT

So far, there have been about a million columns written on ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that was launched a couple months ago. About half a million of these columns have been devoted to predictions on ChatGPT’s implications for education, both in schools and universities. Many of the columns have been fearful, but a few are bright-eyed, talking up the Brave New Possibilities that ChatGPT will offer, and will demand. Continue reading “Into the Voigt of ChatGPT”

The Stupidest Idea Ever Productivitied

We probably should have known that the Productivity Commission was no more than a safe place for pompous, pseudo-rational windbags. But, we didn’t. And so earlier this year, by request, we made a submission to the PC’s review of the National School Reform Agreement. The PC’s Interim Report appeared in due course, and it provided sufficient reason to never again bother with these clowns. Until now.

Last week, the Productivity Commission released its Interim Report on, um, Productivity. Which makes one wonder what all their other reports are about. No matter. We have a report. It is special.

Continue reading “The Stupidest Idea Ever Productivitied”

The CAS Betrayal

This post will take the form of Betrayal, with a sequence of five stories going backwards in time.

STORY 5

Last year, I was asked by an acquaintance, let’s call him Rob, to take a look at the draft of a mathematics article he was writing. Rob’s article was in rough form but it was interesting, a nice application of trigonometry and calculus, suitable and good reading for a strong senior school student. One line, however, grabbed my attention. Having wound up with a vicious trig integral, Rob confidently proclaimed,

“This is definitely a case for CAS”.

It wasn’t. Continue reading “The CAS Betrayal”

MAV’s Valuing of Mathematics

The MAV have started the engines for their 2022 Annual Conference. The organisers have already lined up an impressive list of speakers and, as always, the MAV have put out the call for anyone and everyone to present, at a cost of only $500 or so for the two-day extravaganza.

Of course, if planning to attend or present, one should keep in mind the theme and sub-themes of the conference: Continue reading “MAV’s Valuing of Mathematics”

Maths Pathway Advised on the Draft Mathematics Curriculum

And the Australian Mathematical Society did not. That’s where we.

At some point we hope to write in detail about Maths Pathway and why we loathe it. Briefly, in the very early days of MP we were contacted by one of MP’s founders and, because he came with a trusted recommendation, we gave MP a lot of and way too much consideration. It soon became clear that the MP guy was either uninterested in and/or incapable of comprehending our very strong criticisms; he was simply trying to sell us on their Revolutionary Product. We didn’t buy it. We don’t buy it. It is difficult to imagine how any kid could learn properly based upon MP and we have never met one who did. Continue reading “Maths Pathway Advised on the Draft Mathematics Curriculum”

PoSWW 21: Des is Mos’ Disturbing

Once upon a time, we were invited to publicly debate the use of “technology” in mathematics education. The Lord of the Meeting, however, decided that we were not the right kind of person, we were disinvited and plans for the debate ended. Instead, our would-be debating opponent and their mate were granted the platform to spruik to their heart’s content, unchallenged. A shame. Continue reading “PoSWW 21: Des is Mos’ Disturbing”

PoSWW 18: Inestimable Worth

We’ve whacked Essential Assessment on a previous occasion. Our daughter, who is in Year 4, did some of this nonsense on the week-end. (Our general policy is to let our daughter’s school do its thing, give or take a staged frown and raised eyebrow, and the occasional nudge of the well-meaning and intelligent Principal, but to forbid techno-junk at home. But, with home schooling, and our daughter’s understandable desire to please the beleaguered teacher, we let it go this time.)

Continue reading “PoSWW 18: Inestimable Worth”

What Does “Technology” Mean?

To be more precise, what does “digital technology” mean and, precisely as possible, how is Digital Technology X used in Year Y of schooling? If you confused, then why not find out more about this here.

It is now impossible, of course, to write a document on education without genuflecting to the God of Technology. The repetitious chanting of “technology”, like a wired Tibetan monk, is the way people with no sense of the past or the present indicate how hip they are with the future. But, what do they mean? What technology are they talking about? It is a serious question, of which we only vaguely know the answer. We want help.

Of course by “technology”, the Education Experts are never intending to refer to something like blackboards and chalk. They would not even recognise such primitive devices as products of technology, although of course they are. No, what the EE mean by “technology” is electronic devices, mostly computers and computer programs, and preferably devices that are internetted. So, calculators and electronic whiteboards and Mathletics and Reading Eggs and iPads, and so forth.

The question is, precisely how are these devices used in specific classrooms? For example, are calculators used in Year 5 to perform arithmetic calculations, or to check calculations that have been done by hand? Is Mathletics used in Year 7 to teach ideas or to test knowledge and/or skills?

The same question applies to all subjects. Are word processors used in Year 6 to check and/or teach spelling and grammar? Are iPads used in Year 8 to check the definitions of words?

We want to know as much as possible, and as specifically as possible, what electronic gizmos are being used, and with whom and how.

PoSWW 16: Not Essential

The questions below come from something called Essential Assessment and, to be upfront, the questions are somewhat misleading. To give EA some micro-credit, not all their questions were this bad, even if plenty more that we’d seen could have been posted. So, EA is not quite as bad as these questions suggest.

On the other hand, EA, like pretty much all teaching-replacement software, appears be utterly aimless and, thus, utterly pointless and, thus, much worse than pointless.