Eit spanande matteprosjekt: Kill Math

Bret Victor bryr seg ikkje om skulen, men han bryr seg om matematikk. I bloggen Kill Math skriv han om sine oppdagingar og tankar om matematikken.  

Kill Math is my umbrella project for techniques that enable people to model and solve meaningful problems of quantity using concrete representations and intuition-guided exploration. In the long term, I hope to develop a widely-usable, insight-generating alternative to symbolic math.

My plan is to collect a number of meaningful problems across different application areas and areas of mathematics, and for each one, design a means of solving it that is line with the philosophy here, and compare the benefits of this solution to the benefits of a conventional solution. The techniques and design patterns that emerge during this process will, hopefully, inform a more general framework in the long term.

I believe that a person should not have to imagine the interpretation of abstract symbols. Instead, dynamic graphs, diagrams, visual models, and visual effects should provide visceral representations. Relationships between values, exponential blow-ups and negligible terms, should be plainly seen, not imagined.

Eksempel: Simulation as a Practical Tool

Så kvifor tenkjer så mange på skulen når ein les om prosjektet til Bret Victor? Her er Bret sitt synspunkt:

If I had to guess why “math reform” is misinterpreted as “math education reform”, I would speculate that school is the only contact that most people have had with math. Like school-physics or school-chemistry, math is seen as a subject that is taught, not a tool that is used. People don’t actually use math-beyond-arithmetic in their lives, just like they don’t use the inverse-square law or the periodic table.

Which is the premise of this project, of course — people don’t use math. But everyone seems to believe, if only math were taught better, they would use it! And my position (and the entire point of the project) is: No. Teach the current mathematical notation and methods any way you want — they will still be unusable. They are unusable in the same way that any bad user interface is unusable — they don’t show the user what he needs to see, they don’t match how the user wants to think, they don’t show the user what actions he can take.

They are unusable in the same way that the UNIX command line is unusable for the vast majority of people. There have been many proposals for how the general public can make more powerful use of computers, but nobody is suggesting we should teach everyone to use the command line. The good proposals are the opposite of that — design better interfaces, more accessible applications, higher-level abstractions. Represent things visually and tangibly.

And so it should be with math. Mathematics, as currently practiced, is a command line. We need a better interface.

Og når eg først er inne på matematikk, denne artikkelen frå forskning.no handlar om barnehagebarn som med bruk av data, og hjelp frå læraren, meistrar overraskande vanskelege matteoppgåver.

26/1/12: Og i dette innlegget frå denne flotte bloggen vert prosjektet til Bret Victor nemnt i samanheng med kvar informasjonsgrafikken er på veg.

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