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Getting Smart Podcast

Aug 5, 2020

Today’s episode is featuring a conversation on computational thinking with Conrad Wolfram.

Conrad Wolfram directs global strategy for Wolfram Research, a leader in computational resources. For the last decade, Wolfram has been encouraging educators to teach math(s) as if computers existed. He wants teachers and policymakers to stop fixating on calculations like long division and factoring polynomial equations, and instead, start focusing on computational thinking.

Conrad’s newest book, The Math(s) Fix, is the foundation for a revolution in education. It maps out the vision and the solution to change math(s) at its core.

Listen in to learn about computational thinking and how it can serve as the solution to the current, detrimental traditional math(s) curriculum.


Key Takeaways:

[:10] About today’s episode.

[:51] Tom welcomes Conrad to the podcast!

[1:27] About Wolfram’s family background with math.

[2:41] What the Wolfram language is.

[3:47] About this new era we’re in today (what Wolfram considers the ‘AI age’ or the ‘fourth industrial revolution’), especially with regards to computation.

[8:42] The two big ideas in The Math(s) Fix: the importance of computational thinking across the curriculum and that we should begin to utilize the powerful supercomputers in our pockets rather than spending all our time in school learning to hand-calculate.

[12:20] Defining computational thinking and why it is becoming increasingly important in every field.

[17:43] Why the focus on hand-calculation in math(s) education is actually detrimental for learners.

[24:24] Advertising opportunities available through Getting Smart.

[24:55] Conrad elaborates on his idea of teaching machine learning to students starting in primary school.

[28:37] Lightning round! Conrad answers: Is it still useful to memorize the times table? What about fractions and proportionality? Long division? Factoring polynomials?

[35:04] Is teaching computational thinking more challenging than the traditional rote memorization way of teaching math(s)?

[41:16] Advice for math(s) teachers on how to bring computational thinking into their teaching.

[44:56] About The Maths Fix Campaign for Core Computational Curriculum Change (MFC5).

[48:05] Be sure to check out Conrad’s book, The Math(s) Fix: An Education Blueprint for the AI Age!


Mentioned in This Episode:

Conrad Wolfram

Wolfram Research

The Math(s) Fix: An Education Blueprint for the AI Age, by Conrad Wolfram

Wolfram Mathematica

Wolfram Language — Email Jessica to learn more about sponsorships and advertising opportunities with Getting Smart!

The Maths Fix Campaign for Core Computational Curriculum Change (MFC5)

Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 239: “Jo Boaler on the Limitless Mind and Learning Math That Matters


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