Khan Academy: The hype and the reality

Sal Khan has done something remarkable in creating such a vast and varied library, and he deserves to be recognized. His commitment to making the site free is a rare and selfless act, and he deserves to be praised. Sal Khan is a good guy with a good mission. What he’s not, though, is a good teacher. Unfortunately, the media hype surrounding Khan Academy has created a level of expectation…

Remediation Nation: Why College Students Say High School Needs Change

Why don’t states require students to take four years of English and math, and three or four years of science? Why isn’t there a class dedicated to teaching the fundamentals of writing? For that matter, why don’t we require more than two years of history or social studies and foreign language? The students want it—69 percent of respondents say high school graduation requirements are “very” or “pretty” easy, while 37…

Cash-strapped Berlin stalked by 540-year-old debt

A certificate of debt, found in a regional archive, attests that Mittenwalde lent Berlin 400 guilders on May 28 1562, to be repaid with six percent interest per year. According to Radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB), the debt would amount to 11,200 guilders today, which is roughly equivalent to 112 million euros ($136.79 million). –Reuters.com. But hold on — 2012 -1562 imeans the debt is 450 years old, not 540.

NBA Players Scoff at Mathematical Model Suggesting When to Shoot

Interesting application of math to sports. In analyzing teams’ shot quality, shot rates and shot percentages, Skinner found that the average NBA squad has a 4 percent probability of shooting the ball when left with 15 seconds on the shot clock in their final possession. The ideal rate is 12 percent. Skinner didn’t offer guidelines for exactly when a team should shoot. So many variables exist, particularly the subjective nature…

Cracking the BBC’s Code at Bletchley Park | Magazine | Wired.com

Some people have taken in The Code passively, by simply watching the broadcast episodes; some have played the Flash games as casual gamers; some have turned their hand to real-world exploration or artistic photography for the Prime Number Challenge; some have used pen and paper to individually work out the classic puzzles; some have turned their talents to creating spaces for group problem-solving, and others have collaborated in those spaces.…

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From Fish to Infinity

Yesterday, my eight-year-old said, “I don’t like math, but I’m good at it.” This is a huge improvement from the math-related tug-of-wars we’ve encountered almost daily for the past year and a half. Yesterday, she also finished a “Star Wars Math” game, where the idea is to play a Trivial Pursuits style game, spaced-out versions of blackjack, and other games where you have a better chance of winning if you…