Mathematics - It’s not what it used to be
All the mathematical problem-solving techniques I had learned when I graduated university with a math degree in 1968 became obsolete in the course of my career. Digital tools available for free in the Cloud now do everything much faster, more accurately, and on far larger datasets, than a human could ever handle. Yet, for all that obsolescence, in recent years I have been involved in projects for a US Intelligence Agency, the US Navy, and the US Army, and have successfully co-founded and launched an educational technology company. What problems was I working on, how did I approach them, and what mathematical skills was I using?
Apart from the startup company (which was in part an offshoot of the Defense Department work), my experience is typical for mathematicians today. For the fact is, while mathematics may not have changed, there has been a revolution in how we do it (and hence how we should teach it).
Dr. Keith Devlin is a mathematician, a co-founder and Executive Director of Stanford University's H-STAR institute, a co-founder of Stanford’s mediaX research network, and a co-founder, President and Senior Scientist of BrainQuake, an educational technology company that uses mobile games as a learning and assessment platform. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. His current research is focused on the use of different media to teach and communicate mathematics to diverse audiences. He has also worked on a number of projects on intelligence analysis for the Department of Defense. He is a recipient of the Pythagoras Prize, the Peano Prize, the Carl Sagan Award, and the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics Communications Award. He is "the Math Guy" on National Public Radio.
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