Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Do the Math - Do The Art

One of the new Open Education sites that is devoted to  education is the Kahn Academy. There are hundreds of short videos available to those wishing to brush up on some aspect of their math or many other subject areas. Generally, the ideas in the math videos seem to be explained well but it is certainly a contrast with the Vi Hart math videos which, I must admit, I much prefer.

One of the phrases that has always sort of annoyed me related to math is "do the math" which is used any time someone wants you to compute or calculate in some way. It's as if that's all math is.

I was watching one of the Kahn Academy math videos, the one titled "The Beauty of Algebra", when I could barely believe my ears. After a brief explanation of how to use algebra to find a percentage of a price of something he says, quite remarkably, "now do the math" as he calculates the exact reduction in price. So what has he been doing up to this  point and what will he be doing after this point? Clearly he has not been doing math for the first several minutes of the video because he now decides to do the math.

Now I must "do the writing" to continue this entry so that you can "do the reading". We must also not forget to "do the driving" to get home after work, "do the cooking" when we get home and prepare the evening meal, and "do the sleeping" so that we are well rested for tomorrow.

And, of course, don't forget to "do the art" when you feel the need to doodle in  a long meeting.

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