NFL Player to Pursue his PhD in Math at MIT

John Urschel (NFL Player) to Pursue his PhD in Math at MIT (See link). This should be inspiring to all young learners in school/university who think it is not possible to mix sports and “seemingly” difficult subjects like Math that require lots of attention. Actually math is some kind of sport too, it requires practice to fully grasp the concepts. More interesting is what Math can do to help you get your sports right according to the University of Cambridge Math and Athletics Blog (See link).

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By | January 28th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

First year resources – part 4: revision

This is a continuation of the previous posts, essentially collecting thoughts for first year students. I am asking you, the reader to suggest what might be wrong, or missing from this, and anything else which will be helpful for a new first year who is just arriving at university to study maths…

The following sections in the resource book are about mentors and the whiteboard workshop. They are really quite specific to the course, and more about the details than the philosophy of it, so I am not including them here.

The next section on the other hand is vital, as most students are never given much guidance in how best to revise, and it is one of the most important skills they can gain. I have written my thoughts from my own experience, but I am not trained specifically in education, so I am grateful for any additional thoughts.

 

How to revise

Revision is a bit like comedy: Timing is everything!

By | January 26th, 2016|Courses, First year, MAM1000, Undergraduate|6 Comments

First year resources – part 3: Tutorials

This is a continuation of the previous post, essentially collecting thoughts for first year students. I am asking you, the reader to suggest what might be wrong, or missing from this, and anything else which will be helpful for a new first year who is just arriving at university to study maths…

The next part of the resource book is written by a former first year who very helpfully wrote “How I achieved over 80% in MAM1000W”. I am not including this here as I shan’t be altering what he has written

The next section is entitled “Tutorials”, and helps to make the tutorial problem sets and tutorial sessions themselves as useful as possible.

The weekly tutorial questions which you will be given to help practice what you’ve learnt in class are renowned for being time-intensive. This is true, but on top of going to lectures, these are the key element of the course for helping you to really master its content.

By | January 26th, 2016|Courses, First year, MAM1000, Undergraduate|6 Comments

First year resources – part 2: Why study mathematics?

This is a continuation of the previous post, essentially collecting thoughts for first year students. I am asking you, the reader to suggest what might be wrong, or missing from this, and anything else which will be helpful for a new first year who is just arriving at university to study maths…

The second part of the resource book is a “Meet the team” section, which includes photos and a short bio of the convenor (me), the lecturers, and the senior tutors for the course.

The next section is entitled “Why study mathematics”, and is in some ways the most controversial/important section in here.

For quite a few of you, the immediate answer you may have thought of to this question is not one that will make you happy, but I hope that this section will give you reasons to feel really positive about taking this course.

For some of you, the reason to study maths is because you have to study it as a prerequisite for your course.

By | January 26th, 2016|Courses, First year, MAM1000, Undergraduate|5 Comments

First year resources – part 1: Intro to first year mathematics

As mentioned in the previous post, I am writing a resource book for the first year course that I will be in charge of this year. I want to crowd-source ideas for this a little. By that I mean that I will put up a number of the sections that I’m writing, and I’m keen to know, from those who have been through the course whether you feel that there is anything wrong, or missing from this. It is hard to know for someone who has not been on the learning end of a course like this for a long time what makes for the most useful information.

The second reason for doing this is that I think that these thoughts can be used for a wide variety of courses, and so if anyone wants to take these resources and use them in other contexts, then I will be very happy for them to do so.…

By | January 26th, 2016|Courses, First year, MAM1000, Undergraduate|3 Comments

First year mathematics experience enhancement – a question for you!

I am coming to you today with questions. Well, questions based on some of my own ideas…

This year I will be not only teaching, but entirely in charge of the UCT first year mathematics for scientists courses, known as MAM1000W. I have a number of changes I plan on making, not so much to the syllabus, but to the extra activities associated with the course, in an attempt to make it as rich and deep a learning experience as I can.

The first step of this has been altering the structure of the resource book. The resource book is a PDF which will be sent to all first years taking the course. Historically, it contains a little about the course content, a bit about how your marks will be calculated, a bit about good practice in terms of how to work, and then the second half is filled with tutorial questions.…

By | January 25th, 2016|Courses, MAM1000|10 Comments

Hello World

So this is my first post and any real “nerd” will know why I named my post “Hello World”. Many years ago, I dabbled in a little bit of computer programming and the first program you ever write, as kind of a rite of passage, is to make the screen say “Hello World”. Needless to say, it wasn’t always easy, but nothing worthwhile in life ever is. At times, I really did want to pull my hair out though, with things like syntax errors. Firstly, I had to work out what a syntax error was… Basically, in layman’s terms, it’s like making a grammar or punctuation error in an essay. Secondly, I needed to find this syntax error (or errors), most of the time it was a missing semi-colon, in my thirty or forty lines of code. Did I mention that the technology didn’t even give you a hint as to where you might begin to look for it.…

By | January 21st, 2016|Fun, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Mathematics: PISA could have said it all!

The Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) has done various interesting research about mathematics and how it relates to society. You might find their findings interesting. Check them out: Click here

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By | January 13th, 2016|Uncategorized|2 Comments

If Africa is to develop – Math has to be part of it!

Almost every nation in Africa is inspired by South Africa in terms of economic growth. But wait a minute, is South Africa really up there, well let’s see! In the recent world economic forum Global Information Technology Report of 2015, on mathematics and science education rankings, South Africa emerged as the worst country from the ranking. Refer to Link 0.

Actually, it is indeed astonishing that in the global rankings conducted by OECD every 2 years in the fields of science, reading and mathematics, there isn’t a single representative from Africa.  Is it because the continent is still under developed? well not directly but yes, it has something to do with it. The fact of the matter is that there seems to be a one-to-one correspondence between education (particularly math and science) and economic development as discussed in the OECD findings see: Link 1Link 2.

 

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By | January 12th, 2016|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Create a MathLapse animation and win prizes from the IMAGINARY conference 2016

The following is taken from the IMAGINARY website.

A “MathLapse” (ML) is a new educational and artistic format, which highlights the link between mathematics and real-world phenomena. The name MathLapse is inspired by the timelapse-technique in physics: By re-scaling time, phenomena are visualized which we cannot directly observe.

A ML is short, simple, self-contained, creative and illustrates a single mathematical idea through true or virtual animated images. The content of ML is diverse. For example it can be a geometrical animation or a time-lapse, which go along with mathematical equations and concise explanations.

Everybody is invited to submit a MathLapse on the IMAGINARY platform. The jury will review all submissions and give prizes to the best MathLapses.

A first MathLapse-Festival will be organized at IC16, where the winners will be announced and their MathLapse movies will be screened. It is not necessary to participate at the IC16 conference.

Here is the trailer for the competition

Katzengold:

Primelapse:

See what you can come up with!…

By | January 12th, 2016|Competition|0 Comments