Rooting around on e-learning blogs, I found out about two math sites, at least one of which is a gem: Interactive Math. It’s an excellent resource for anyone studying or teaching math topics from algebra to higher calculus. Another site that was mentioned is HeyMath, recently advocated by Thomas Friedman in this editorial in the New York Times. I checked the site out and confess that my first impression was, “pffft.” That is, I didn’t like it.
Thanks to Interactive Math, I could read a review that articulated both my problem with visiting HeyMath, and that touched on some of my many problems with Friedman. There’s a link to a blog, SquareCircleZ, specifically its math category archives, which includes the following review:
Thomas Friedman was in Singapore recently to deliver a talk (read ‘book promotion’) on his theory that “The Earth is Flat”. The talk was okay, but I found Friedman somewhat condescending in tone. While I agree that technology can help to level the playing field and help poorer nations have a better competitive edge, I felt some of his notions were rather simplistic. I guess it all depends on whether you regard globalisation as a good thing or not.
Anyway, having been here for a short time, Friedman becomes an expert on the Singapore education system. He wrote an article for the New York Times, Still Eating Our Lunch. In it, he waxes lyrical about the high standard of mathematics and science in Singapore and how it is comfortably beating the US in international standard tests. (The article was published today in the Straits Times rebranded as “Singapore’s Racing US to the top”.)
He also promotes (HeyMath) in the article. HeyMath is a consortium of British, Singapore and Indian mathematics educators that has apparently put together a good math site. But it seems that Friedman didn’t even check out the site. There is nothing to see (except a summary and some Flash promotional animations) and no indication how you get (buy?) a password to login. [from SquareCircleZ]
Exactly: it’s user-unfriendly, there’s nothing to tell a first-time user how to access the supposed golden goodies available here. Plus, it needs “the latest Flash Player to use the HeyMath site,” but even that doesn’t tell you what else you might need. Registration? Payment? What? Maybe HeyMath is as good as Friedman claims, but its current welcome page doesn’t seem very inviting.
As for the mysterious (no ‘about’ link) SquareCircleZ, he (I’m guessing) also has an excellent article, How to Survive the Math Blues, which I am putting on my kids’s “must-read” list. We’ll probably be visiting this blog and the Interactive Math site on a regular basis from now on.