Knowing more math than technology
23 Jan 2018
MATHEMATICS is not about numbers, equations, computations, or algorithms: it is about UNDERSTANDINGWilliam Paul Thurston - American Mathematician
Can you imagine going to a supermarket and handing over 2000 rupee note and waiting for the cashier to hand you over the change, when you have no idea how much it should be? I remember doing this when I was a kid. My parents used to send me to a shop with some money. I have to buy everything I was asked to and then get the change. The shop keeper writes the bill in a paper and I still had no clue how much the items costed and how much change I had to take back.
I have often encountered very old people from villages who has no clue about times. They set their days based on the sun rise and call it a day when the sun sets. In this world where everything is planned every minute, I wonder how these people plan their time, or are they better than us who know the time? Irrespective of knowing the times, planning requires proper math and allocation of time, be it the one seen through the clocks or the ones seen through the sun and the shadow.
Math forms a larger part of our daily lives. It helps us understand how things work, how not to be cheated, how to make money, improves decision making in us and much more. While this is great to know, a very disappointing statistics conducted on students from rural parts of Madurai shows that only less than 47% of the students are able to do basic math.
The figures are actually declining over the years when you compare similar statistics of 10th Annual Status of Education Report – 2014. This report also confirms that the numbers have increased since 2009. It is a shame that even Engineering students fail in maths!
The good and the evil of technology
In India, the increasing number of kids’ usage of internet and mobile devices has been attributed to the decline in the overall performance in Mathematics.
It is a fact that kids are very curious and easily attracted to new technologies to connect with each other. However, there are also a lot of concerns over emerging technologies and how it affects the development of the kids.
Parents are mostly two kinds. One who deny technology to kids and the other who gives them unlimited access. Unfortunately, neither is going to help. The key here is to make them a responsible user of technology. We can teach them to spend more time on devices to read news, search for information in the internet and develop the habit of learning. “Raising teens to live with technology responsibly” is a nice short article by Josh Shipp, the founder of OneCaringAdult.com and the bestselling author of The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans.
Not something you can ignore
If you are parent of a child who struggles with basic math, instead of accusing the schools and the government for the real bad education system, I urge each one of you to spend some time to teach them math. This problem is not something you can ignore. If mathematics promotes wisdom, being void of math only promotes stupidity.