Learning math the "Numb3rs" Way

Summary:The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is teaming up with Texas Instruments and the producers of CBS's mathmatical detective show "Numb3rs" to develop a technology based math-learning program for high schoolers.

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is teaming up with Texas Instruments and the producers of CBS's mathmatical detective show "Numb3rs" to develop a technology based math-learning program for high schoolers, eSchool News reports.

The idea, according to TI's Linda Beheler, is to take what students often see as abstract mathematical concepts and make them more relevant to their daily lives. The television show, she said, serves as an example of how math is used every day to solve real-world problems.

"We always get the same question," said Beheler. "Students always want to know, "How are we ever going to use this stuff in the real world?'" And that's the idea behind the Numb3rs initiative--"to show them how these [concepts] apply to what they do in life."

The reality is that math skills are being used in the real world more and more. Computer science and engineering are seeping into all aspects of work and life, never more so than now that globalization is in full swing.

"It's really echoing what a lot of us have been saying for some time," NCTM's Seeley said of the program and the call for better math instruction in the nation's high schools. "That is, whether you want to become a scientist or an astronaut & you're really going to have to use and understand math skills that weren't even being talked about a decade ago in terms of workforce preparation."

Looking to the future, experts agree a majority of the jobs that will be in high demand are likely to have a strong technical focus. From computer engineering, to science, to design, Seeley said, math plays an increasingly central role in all facets of the modern workforce.

But while educators in foreign nations have been aggressively pursing curricula with a focus on higher-level, 21st-century-type math skills such as calculus and engineering, U.S. institutions, by and large, have been slow to adapt, she said.

"A problem that we're having is that a lot of folks around the country haven't been paying attention to the growing importance of math," she explained. "The role of math in the world is growing."

 

Topics: IT Employment

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