the idea of "CSfriendly" algebra courses...
Re: http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9430209 The abovelinked thread might garner some forking threads or comment lines here. This branch is mostly dormant on mathteach as of today, but points back to an earlier thread that evoked much discussion (so well may take off again), which discussion I boldly dare to summarize here: http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9432446 (longwinded and skipable without losing the plot line) We're in the thick of it, Pythonwise, which is why I bring our thread up here on edusig. The gist of the mathteach thread is that given changes in some states, it's getting easier to give math credit for high school courses we might call "digital flavored" meaning (in part) a computer language enters in, maybe more than one. Hardly a "new thing" for a lot of us in math teaching, who've used Logo since the 1960s or whatever, but the status quo in secondary schools has been to relegate CS (computer stuff) to elective status and make a 3year's worth of math credits mandatory, with nothing CSlike counting towards fulfilling that requirement. Algebra, trig, stats and of anythinglikecalculus  that was it for math credit. But nothing like Python. Computer Stuff was electiveonly and in a state such as Oregon using property taxes for schools (disbursement formula since changed) only the few best neighborhood public schools had any computers to begin with (which was probably why they set it up that way, to not let CS count). This was before you could get a computer for $45 dollars (Raspberry Pi less the peripherals you also need). This status quo is what has changed in some of the less backward US states, thanks to various lobbies and special /overlapping interests. New laws have been or are in the process of being passed, including in Oregon. The older linked thread on mathteach takes a look at some of the back stories. In many states, the new laws allow Computer Stuff to count more towards the 3years of math credit these same states require. [ You may still do a lot of calculus stuff in a digital flavored math course, since digital technology is a fine tool for studying calculus concepts... but lots of other stuff too. ] I think many in Europe e.g Austria have never had a problem with a turtle.py in math class, whereas any programming in the US public sphere was automatically painted into the CS corner as AP this or that. Private schools could organize differently. The new emphasis on STEM is changing the dynamics, since it's more of an integral whole, not that friendly to being carved up into this and that. To draw a line in the sand and say it's mathforcredit on this side and CSnotmathcredit on that side was not making sense to a lot of STEM people. Kirby
I, for one, have been trying to integrate SAGE/python as my as possible in my preCalculus classes: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLL956Pn2cKSj_D7PliLz1_VdQ1rRpgaE1 Unfortunately, I'd love to do the same in AP Calculus but Graphing Calculators are required on that AP exam. The students need to use the Graphing Calculator all year to be proficient enough by May. So, adding SAGE/python to the mix there would not be helpful. If only the CollegeBoard would allow PC/Tablet based calculators/programming languages/CASs, I'd be all over it! In fact, I just started a DonorsChoose project to at least replace my Graphing Calculators (TI83/TI89) with something more modern (TI Nspire CX CAS): http://www.donorschoose.org/calcpage2010?active=true Sincerely, A. Jorge Garcia Applied Math, Physics & CS http://shadowfaxrant.blogspot.com http://www.youtube.com/calcpage2009 2013 NYS Secondary Math http://PAEMST.org Nominee
I have a similar problem in AP Computer Science. That course has required Java since 2003. Frankly, I wish they would have stayed with C++ which we used from 19992002 (a vast improvement over Pascal 19841998). I wish they'd use python now! I've been using a combination of SAGE and pure Python in my introCS course for some time now. We start the year with SAGE and Discrete Mathematics using the Litvin text.: http://skylit.com/mathandpython.html Mid year, we switch to pure Python we use IDLE and VIDLE using the Think Python text: http://www.greenteapress.com/thinkpython/html/index.html http://interactivepython.org/courselib/static/thinkcspy/index.html and we play with python, turtle.py and vpython: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLL956Pn2cKSgLHSxQLPO6YIQ8VlxLPNgc HTH, A. Jorge Garcia Applied Math, Physics & CS http://shadowfaxrant.blogspot.com http://www.youtube.com/calcpage2009 2013 NYS Secondary Math http://PAEMST.org Nominee
OOPs, one more thing: I'd love to bring robotics into my CS and Math classes: http://www.robotslab.com/Robot/RobotsLAB%20BOX%20Deluxe#gsc.tab=0 RobotsLab has curriculum for robots in math class doing some data collection and regression and such. What I'd love is a unit or two I could do in APCS or introCS using Python or Java to program a QuadCopter. A.R.Drone, one of the robots included in RobotsLab, has Python and Java APIs but no CS curriculum: http://ardrone2.parrot.com/ Sincerely, A. Jorge Garcia Applied Math, Physics & CS http://shadowfaxrant.blogspot.com http://www.youtube.com/calcpage2009 2013 NYS Secondary Math http://PAEMST.org Nominee
On Sun, Apr 13, 2014 at 11:51 AM, A. Jorge Garcia <calcpage@aol.com> wrote:
I have a similar problem in AP Computer Science. That course has required Java since 2003. Frankly, I wish they would have stayed with C++ which we used from 19992002 (a vast improvement over Pascal 19841998). I wish they'd use python now!
I've been using a combination of SAGE and pure Python in my introCS course for some time now. We start the year with SAGE and Discrete Mathematics using the Litvin text.: http://skylit.com/mathandpython.html
This all sounds like heaven in a lot of ways, the IntroCS course I'd wish for students today. But you can't give them a year of math credit for all of this right? It's Computer Stuff and that's elective i.e. you still need your three years in math on top of any Python. In Oregon, that seems to be changing. Take Geometry, Algebra and then something like your course, to finish their math requirements. You may also take more conventional math course, naturally. Kirby
Mid year, we switch to pure Python we use IDLE and VIDLE using the Think Python text: http://www.greenteapress.com/thinkpython/html/index.html http://interactivepython.org/courselib/static/thinkcspy/index.html
and we play with python, turtle.py and vpython: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLL956Pn2cKSgLHSxQLPO6YIQ8VlxLPNgc
HTH,
A. Jorge Garcia Applied Math, Physics & CS http://shadowfaxrant.blogspot.com http://www.youtube.com/calcpage2009 2013 NYS Secondary Math http://PAEMST.org Nominee
Hi,
Unfortunately, I'd love to do the same in AP Calculus but Graphing Calculators are required on that AP exam. The students need to use the Graphing Calculator all year to be proficient enough by May.
in my state of Germany the graphical calculator ist just being adopted as mandatory in highschool math (last three years). As much as I like Python, I understand the administration's point that PCs/tablets are not an option, because they can't be used in exams (too much risk of cheating with WIFI, other installed programs ...). Schools can choose to use a CAS, but then they get entirely different graduation exam questions. Even then, it is most likely they have to use CAScalculators (quite expensive but bought by the students) because otherwise the schools would have to keep a whole set of tablets ready for the exams and guarantee that only the CASprogram can be used during the tests. My experience with Python certainly helped me to get my head round the way _simple_ graphical calculators work with lists quickly. OTOH the average math classes here have just 135 min a week and must cover calculus, vectors, matrices (to a certain degree) and statistics. Not much time to use different tools. Perhaps even not enough time to learn to use the more complicated calculators proficiently along the way. So I always look for tools which are as simple to use as Python. That might rather be the more simpler graphical calculator (versus the highend type which can do so much more but requires months of tooltraining). Just my 2c Christian So, adding
SAGE/python to the mix there would not be helpful. If only the CollegeBoard would allow PC/Tablet based calculators/programming languages/CASs, I'd be all over it!
In fact, I just started a
DonorsChoose project to at least replace my Graphing Calculators (TI83/TI89) with something more modern (TI Nspire CX CAS): http://www.donorschoose.org/calcpage2010?active=true
Sincerely, A. Jorge Garcia Applied Math, Physics & CS http://shadowfaxrant.blogspot.com http://www.youtube.com/calcpage2009 2013 NYS Secondary Math http://PAEMST.org Nominee
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On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 2:45 AM, Christian Mascher <christian.mascher@gmx.de
wrote:
Hi,
Unfortunately, I'd love to do the same in AP Calculus but Graphing Calculators are required on that AP exam. The students need to use the Graphing Calculator all year to be proficient enough by May.
in my state of Germany the graphical calculator ist just being adopted as mandatory in highschool math (last three years).
As much as I like Python, I understand the administration's point that PCs/tablets are not an option, because they can't be used in exams (too much risk of cheating with WIFI, other installed programs ...).
Reminds be of the bad old days when kids had to practice on tablets made of clay, with a scribing tool, as the testers allowed only clay tablets, which would be fired and hardened and sent off to the testing service for evaluation and warehousing... even though ballpoint pens had been invented and everyone used them at home. Oh wait, there were never such days, pardon the science fiction.
Schools can choose to use a CAS, but then they get entirely different graduation exam questions. Even then, it is most likely they have to use CAScalculators (quite expensive but bought by the students) because otherwise the schools would have to keep a whole set of tablets ready for the exams and guarantee that only the CASprogram can be used during the tests.
The mathteach thread linked above shows me reaching an agreement with Florida (I'll call him) that Algebra in the conventional sense should always be required i.e. all that simplifying of expressions and applying rules of equality to solve for x, factoring... we don't let the computer do all our polynomial factoring. The formal concept of "function" remains a cornerstone, along with "set", but some algebra courses are more "CS friendly" than others and my project is to start developing criteria along those lines. For one thing: CSfriendly means "more lexical" in content. I found examples of algebra books which would introduce the concept of "function" in a formal sense (injective, bijective and all that) yet never once give a string type as input or output. Always numeric types, without exception. I consider that approach very "CS unfriendly" plus it's a dumbed down version of maths, which has nothing against nonnumeric types in its functions. This is not arithmetic anymore. Reversing a string is a function and if you aren't exposed to that idea, your math may become weaker. Then when it comes to a next course involving vectors and matrices in some way, we encourage Python programming (still hypothetically in many cases, i.e. I'm not saying these courses are well established except in pilots, some of which I've taught  just that the laws have been messed with to make more allowances for the new courses).
My experience with Python certainly helped me to get my head round the way _simple_ graphical calculators work with lists quickly. OTOH the average math classes here have just 135 min a week and must cover calculus, vectors, matrices (to a certain degree) and statistics. Not much time to use different tools. Perhaps even not enough time to learn to use the more complicated calculators proficiently along the way. So I always look for tools which are as simple to use as Python. That might rather be the more simpler graphical calculator (versus the highend type which can do so much more but requires months of tooltraining).
Just my 2c
I think the AP (advanced placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) curricula are already set in stone and there's not much wiggle room, relatively speaking. The freedom is to innovate new kinds of math / STEM course that (a) count for math credit and (b) use computer languages but are (c) not AP or IB. Per Guido's computer programming for everyone (CP4E) ethic, we're not looking at some Python fluency as something advanced, just an everyday skill. You may not be planning to go to college, just want that high school degree. We are not pandering solely to the collegebound in our courseplanning. For another thing, given how so many colleges are lost in the dark ages, we may want to find more workarounds in our bioregion (higher ed is quite weak here in Oregon, despite some proud schools). Or, another trajectory: thanks to skills picked up in high school, you earn enough money to go to college on your own terms, maybe the job helps pay for it. Four years of college right out of high school is becoming increasingly unaffordable without ruinous student loans, to all but the most fortunate few. The middle class is shrinking in the US as the 1%, socalled, continues its exponential gobbling of purchasable assets (Congress, Supreme Court etc. :D). Kirby
participants (3)

A. Jorge Garcia

Christian Mascher

kirby urner