Estonia Chosen as Testing Ground for Math Education Experiment (1)
British education visionary Conrad Wolfram has picked the country to test a computer-based method of teaching math.
Wolfram's organization ComputerBasedMath is working out a curriculum whereby children will solve everyday problems while computers do the 'hard work' of complicated calculations, reported Eesti Päevaleht.
Wolfram said that math lessons are often distant from 'real life' and children find them boring. School children spend 80 percent of lessons calculating and only 20 percent of the time learning mathematical thinking.
“We now have to start conceiving what education has to be like in a world where the main question is not about finding information - information in abundance can be accessed with a few clicks - but about giving information meaning,” said Minister of Education Jaak Aaviksoo, commenting on Wolfram's plan in a press release last week.
Computer based math classes will start next spring in 30 basic and secondary schools across the country. Lessons will center on statistics.
“The nature of statistics is the closest to computers, because a statistician nearly always uses computers. These calculations can nearly never be done by hand,” said Kristjan Korjus, the project leader on the Estonian side.
Wolfram was looking for a small country with strong math and IT skills and an interest in experiments in education.