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Maths Café


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Benoit Mandelbrot.

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mary_pardoe 28 October 2010 13:56 - Last edited by mary_pardoe on 02 November 2010 10:49
Posts177
Joined29/01/08
Yes - it's amazing what a trip down a pentagonal vortex can do! 

Benoit Mandelbrot wrote, in Chapter 3 of Fractals, Graphics and Mathematics Education:
'The lesson for the educator is obvious. Motivate the students by that which is fascinating.' 
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Rebecca_Hanson 31 October 2010 10:13 - Last edited by Rebecca_Hanson on 31 October 2010 16:04
Posts1096
Joined28/01/08
WHY DID YOU DELETE GRAHAM'S POST NCETM?

And while we're at it why did you delete my post complementing pixel on her new avatar?

Talking to other discussion site managers, the etiquette is -
remove it if it is abusive.
remove it if it is spam.
In both cases contact the contributor to explain why the post has been removed.

In other cases intervene in the discussion expressing your concern, publicly if at all possible.

Speaking personally, it is really really demoralising and annoying when posts are removed. 
Those of us who contribute to this site do so for free, we give up our time and our privacy. 
Please treat us with more respect.


'n' Tim, I've told you before.  Don't make banal comments like 'be polite'.  What's impolite to one person is not to others.  It may just be humour you don't get.  

Tell us what you're not happy with and give us a chance to justify it, explain it or change it.

I remember when someone deleted RichardDrake's 'Meet the Focker's' comment.  It was spot on and it was funny.  If people don't get it they could watch the film.
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Rebecca_Hanson 31 October 2010 16:10
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Joined28/01/08
General comments like 'please keep posts polite' aren't helpful Tim.

Be specific about what you're not happy with and give use the chance to justify, explain or change the offending item please.
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Tim_Stirrup 01 November 2010 11:51
Posts354
Joined04/12/08
Good morning all,

yes, using just the word polite could be misconstrued, so please accept my apologies for this.

If I could just reconfirm to all registered users some of our guidelines, please refrain from abuse (which would include part asterisked profanities), spam and please try to not make personal comments - The nature of open communities does mean that what may be a light hearted comment face to face, or with a good friend, may appear otherwise to other readers of the thread. 

If I could also remind users that you can contact other users directly through clicking on their profile, then clicking 'send message'. In this way, the public communities don't become constrained by a conversation between a couple of people.

Finally, to return to the topic of this thread, TED carried a video of Mandelbrot which was recorded in just February this year. Well worth a look. They also carried a tribute as well.

Tim
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Rebecca_Hanson 01 November 2010 12:06
Posts1096
Joined28/01/08
Tim I know you want to be the knight in shining armour, protecting anyone from possible offence, but

1.  If two people are carrying on a conversation in public because they are perfectly happy to carry it on in public, allow it.  I doesn't stop anyone else joining in or discussing things on other threads.  In fact quite the opposite because it means that at least there is something going on for them to join in should they wish to do so.

2.  The truth in mathematics education is ethnographic Tim.  It isn't abstract and absolute.  Discussion forums are good because the points made are made in the context of the person making them, which defines them more accurately.  The quality of what happens in discussion forums is enhanced, not compromised, because people entangle themselves in their conversations.

3.  The humour and bite on reality is fun Tim.  NCETM is incredibly staid compared with other forums.  We aren't all going to riot and destroy the forum just because we go rather Monty Pythonesque at times. 

4.  It feels really, really miserable and demoralising when you get your posts deleted and of course it's unsettling for everyone else involved in the thread as everything else that's posted is contextual to what's gone before.

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PeterGray 01 November 2010 18:13
Posts126
Joined01/11/10

Hello Rebecca.

The truth in mathematics education is ethnographic Tim. It isn't abstract and absolute.”

There are many ways of doing, learning and teaching mathematics, that’s certain, but there is only one mathematics which, while it doesn’t have to be ideal, is both abstract and absolute. It’s abstract in the sense that we see the same patterns wherever we look, and it’s absolute in the sense that a particular computation will always give the same outcome.

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Rebecca_Hanson 01 November 2010 20:01
Posts1096
Joined28/01/08
=D  oh yummy a bite =D

So we are agreed about mathematics education PeterGray - there are many ways of doing it and in order to define what is appropriate it is important to understand the context - ideally both of the recipient and the giver of the advice.

And now you have introduced mathematics itself - leaving mathematics education behind.
Are you suggesting that mathematics is just a collection of axioms - abstract and absolute?
Immutable, existing in the world and there for individuals to puzzle out?

If so are you sure?

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mary_pardoe 01 November 2010 20:12 - Last edited by mary_pardoe on 02 November 2010 10:50
Posts177
Joined29/01/08
Hi Peter

'there is only one mathematics'

I am wondering how Benoit Mandelbrot might have responded? In Fractals, Graphics and Mathematics Education he wrote (having also said it at ICME 7 in Quebec in 1992):

'Fortunately, mathematics is not the conservatives' ivory tower. I see it as a very big house that offers teachers a rich choice of topics to study and transmit to students. The serious problem is how to choose among those topics. My point is that this choice must not be left to people who have never entered the big house of mathematics, nor to the leaders of frontier mathematics research, nor to those who claim authority to interpret the leaders' preferences.'

Wouldn't he agree with Rebecca that 'the truth in mathematics education is ethnographic'?
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mary_pardoe 01 November 2010 20:57 - Last edited by ncetm_administrator on 10 November 2010 10:06
Posts177
Joined29/01/08
I've found a very interesting 'conversation with himself' about mathematics' by Benoit Mandelbrot (video with a complete transcript!) - which he gave even more recently than the talk that Tim mentions - in March this year. There will be a link to this mono-conversation (in a relevant context) in issue 73 of the Secondary Magazine - but it's so good that I'll give it here now.

The link is: http://bigthink.com/ideas/19207
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kathrynp 01 November 2010 21:53
Posts188
Joined19/07/06
Hi,
Rebecca writes 'points made are made in the context of the person making them'. My point is to ask if you (M=Mary?) could use a larger font size, please. My context is the presbyopia affecting an aging (according to my optician ~ aging = over 40!) maths teacher. I know I could change the text size on the page, but then Rebecca's posts would take up a lot of space ;)
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