(photo by Computer Based Math)
I recently attended Conrad Wolfram’s conference on computer based math (http://www.computerbasedmath.org/).  People from all over the world gathered to give examples and discuss how to improve math education.  Conrad was quite actively involved, not just giving the keynote and closing remarks but asking questions and actively participating in the room the full two days.  He clearly cares deeply and was listening carefully to decide what to do next.
Being a bit of a “gamifier” these days, I made up my own imaginary game for this conference: A contest, where each invited participant had to create a plan for what Conrad Wolfram should do next, given his goals and beliefs and resources.  Note, as far as I know no one else is playing this game, nor is there a prize, but if someone else wants to play please post a link to your entry in the comments. :)
Conrad Wolfram does an eloquent job of laying out his goals in his TED talk, which has been viewed by millions of people.  If you haven’t seen it, please watch it now before reading any further. (http://www.computerbasedmath.org/resources/reforming-math-curriculum-with-computers.html)
What do I think Conrad Wolfram should do?

I suggest Wolfram should focus on disrupting high stakes assessment by creating a new assessment.  In addition, he should initially aim for the use of his new assessment by corporations hiring young adults for entry level jobs.
Why Assessment?
In the conference, both the presenters in front of the room and the front line educators I talked to during break agreed that assessment was the tail wagging the dog of math education.  They teach to the test and the students are motivated to learn because they need to pass high stakes tests. Parents see test scores as critical for their child’s success and administrators and governments use test scores as a measure of success.   People may say they hate the tests but all the reward and motivation processes are tied to the tests.  Change the assessment and people will change how they teach and learn.

How can the Assessments be changed?
The conference was attended by about 150 people. I would say almost everyone agreed with the majority of Conrad’s TED talk.  However, even in this friendly room, by the end of the first day, many people were noticing that in a conference about how important it was for people to be able to interpret and manipulate real world data, no data was being presented, only anecdotes.  This was explicitly stated in some of the talks the second day.
Thus one of the conclusions I draw from this conference was that Wolfram needs to present data to be taken seriously.  Because of who he is and what he is trying to promote he will be held to a higher standard on having data to support his thesis, and the world of education in general is working to become more data driven.
During one of the breaks I asked Conrad why he didn’t mine the vast wealth of existing assessment data to support his proposals.  He said that the current assessments are so thoroughly focused on the wrong thing that he is worried that using that data will result in the wrong conclusions.  That is, if the tests are built to test computational skill, and you teach people how to use math to solve real world problems with computers, the results of the test of computational skills may quite likely go down.  Thus he is concerned that using existing test data may damn his curriculum ideas.
How can good Data be collected?

There were quite a few people focused on assessment attending the invitational conference, so clearly Conrad and the organizers know that assessment is a hugely important piece of the puzzle.  But if you believe all the current high stakes tests are rubbish, how do you disrupt the mature, highly bureaucratic, regulated existing big business that is high stakes tests?  No one will accept Wolfram’s new assessment without good data.  What organization or country will take the risk to both give and teach to these new unproven assessment instruments so that data can be collected?
Disrupting High Stakes Testing  

Let’s take a look at high stakes tests through the lens of Christensen’s theory of Disruptive Technology.  Christensen says that disruptive technologies are first adopted by people who are not consumers of the current dominant technology.  The new technology does not start out better for everyone; it starts out the better, or often for some minor reason, the only choice for some subsegment of consumers who are not currently using the dominant technology.
Who are the consumers of high stakes math tests? The students?  They take the tests, and in some cases pay for them, but they aren’t paying because they want the scores, they are paying as part of the cost of applying for educational opportunities.   Thus arguably the consumers, and certainly the users, of the data generated by high stakes testing are currently educational institutions and governments.  Educational institutions use the scores to decide who to admit and government agencies at various levels use them to attempt to evaluate their government funded schools.  There are probably a few other uses but this seems to me to be most of the uses of the test scores.   
There is another group that, like colleges, expends significant resources to sort young adults -- Employers.  They try to use grades, diplomas and certificates, interviews and sometimes test scores to decide who they are going to hire.  

Conrad’s thesis is (and I agree) that his wider definition of Math skills matches what employers need better than the educational system’s focus on computation.  He is also CEO of a corporation and has better access to other CEOs then most educational reformers.  I suggest he can use these connections to find partners who are large global employers and convince them to invest their resources into giving this new assessment to people before they hire them.  This would allow large scale data collection and allow the assessment creators to work on fine tuning an assessment that correlates to work place success.

With compelling data sets and the incentive of having large global employers saying this a test they care about the results of when hiring, I think schools and governments would have the political cover to teach to these tests, and change the laws to allow the existing high stakes testing to be changed.

Not an easy task and a plan that will take years, but I do think this is a plan consistent with Conrad Wolfram's goals and beliefs and one that he is in a uniquely good position to implement.

Good luck! 

Hear, hear!

Thank you for your thoughts on the assessment thread of the discussion. This was definitely one of the key themes of the conference, and the issues you identified will help people focus, going forward.

Some powerful entities like Pearson are moving into the assessment business. Then there are efforts such as OERu, in different directions altogether. We are, most definitely, living in interesting times.

by Maria Droujkova on 12/22/11

Math Education

This is good step but we have to make sure that , primary level students should not be influenced by these computer based math program. <a href="http://www.needpaperhelp.com/buy-college-papers-online">Affordable College Papers</a>

by Andres Micheal on 02/03/15


More conference arrange because is interested thing specially for student to develop interested attain education conference because new student did not awareness.His great step keep it up.Also student visit http://www.buyassignment.net/

by Mary Fernando on 02/25/15

You should

You should comment on the competition comparison of the blog. You can highlight it's mind boggling. Your blog exploration/tour will broaden your conversions. http://seo-traffic.net/

by meela cagney on 02/26/15


Share me more post. Nice post. I appreciate your hard working. I am reading your nice its very interesting. I really enjoyed your post. Buy the best quality rubber flooring, gym mats ,stable mats from http://rubberflooringsupplier.co.uk/

by Harry smith on 03/26/15

tips and clues

High rate essay reviews, articles, professional reports and other writing tasks on-demand. Get online help at http://www.buyessays.us/ immediatly.

by sin jun on 04/30/15


Thanks for sharing 400-101 pass4sure


by jack jones on 06/16/15


The internet has made higher education accessible for millions of people whose personal problems prevent them to attend conventional colleges or universities. Online academic centres offer education to all without the constraint of geography and time.
server 2012 r2

by jack jones on 06/16/15

I am very

I am very enjoying reading your well written articles. it's such as you pay plenty of effort and time on your journal. I actually have bookmarked it and that i am trying forward to reading new articles. http://lynsbo.com/

by isam samantha on 06/26/15


soccer shoes, http://www.soccer-shoes.org/
softball bats, http://www.softball-bats.us/
supra shoes, http://www.suprashoe.net/
swarovski outlet, http://www.swarovskicrystal.com.co/
swarovski outlet, http://www.swarovskijewelry.com.co/
swarovski, http://www.swarovski-uk.org.uk/
north face outlet online, http://www.the-northface.com.co/
the north face outlet, http://www.the-northface.in.net/
north face uk, http://www.thenorth-face.org.uk/
the north face outlet, http://www.thenorthface.us.org/
calvin kleins outlet, http://www.calvinklein.co.com/
celine bags, http://www.celinebags.org/
cheap nfl jerseys, http://www.cheapjerseys.in.net/
air jordan retro, http://www.cheap-jordans.net/
michael kors outlet, http://www.cheapmichaelkors.us.org/
nike sneakers, http://www.cheap-nikeshoes.com/
oakley vault, http://www.cheapoakley.us.org/
oakley vault, http://www.cheapoakleysunglasses.ar.com/
cheap oakley, http://www.cheap-oakleysunglasses.in.net/
ray ban sunglasses, http://www.cheaprayban.com.co/
discount shoes, http://www.cheapshoes.com.co/
ugg boots clearance, http://www.cheapuggboots.eu.com/
flat iron, http://www.chiflatiron.net.co/
air max 2015, http://www.nike-air-max.us/
nike outlet, http://www.nikefactory.org/
nike running shoes, http://www.nikefree5.net/
nike free, http://www.nikefree-run.net/
nike running, http://www.nikefree-run.org.uk/
nike air max, http://www.jordanrelease-dates.com/
nike mercurial, http://www.nikemercurial.net/
roshe run, http://www.nikerosherun.us/
cheap nike shoes, http://www.nikestore.us/
north face jackets, http://www.northface.us.org/
north face jackets women, http://www.northfaceoutlet.com.co/
oakley sunglasses outlet, http://www.oakleyoutlet.us.org/
oakley outlet, http://www.oakley-sunglasses.us.org/
oakley vault, http://www.oakleysunglassescheap.in.net/
cheap oakley sunglasses, http://www.oakleysunglassesoutlet.com.co/
omega watches, http://www.omegawatches.us.com/
pandora sale, http://www.pandora-charms.org.uk/
pandora charms, http://www.pandorajewelry.com.co/
ralph lauren outlet, http://www.polo-outlets.com/
prada outlet, http://www.pradahandbags.net.co/
prada outlet, http://www.pradahandbags.com.co/
prada shoes for men, http://www.pradashoes.com.co/
polo ralph lauren outlet online, http://www.ralph-lauren.org.uk/
ralph lauren outlet, http://www.ralphlaurenoutlet.us.com/
ralph lauren outlet, http://www.ralphlauren-outlet.org.uk/
ralph lauren shirts, http://www.ralphlaurenoutletonline.com.co/
ralph lauren outlet online, http://www.ralphlaurenoutletonline.in.net/
ralph lauren outlet online, http://www.ralphlaurenpolo.in.net/
ray-ban, http://www.ray-ban-outlet.us.com/
ray-ban sunglasses, http://www.raybans.us.org/
ray ban sunglasses, http://www.rayban-sunglasses.org.uk/
ray ban sunglasses outlet, http://www.rayban-sunglasses.us.org/
cheap ray ban, http://www.raybansunglassesoutlet.net.co/
burberry outlet, http://burberry.outletnow.net/
red bottoms, http://christian.louboutin-outlet.net/
tory burch handbags, http://toryburch.salesandals.net/
abercrombie and fitch kids, http://www.abercrombieand-fitch.com.co/
abercrombie fitch, http://www.abercrombiefitch.us.com/
abercrombie.com, http://www.abercrombie-kids.us.com/
air huarache, http://www.air-huarache.co.uk/
jordan shoes, http://www.airjordans.us/
jordan retro, http://www.airjordanshoes2015.com/
nike air max 2014, http://www.airmax-2015.org/
nike air max 2015, http://www.airmax-90.org/
babyliss pro, http://www.babyliss-pro.net/
basketball shoes, http://www.basketballshoes.com.co/
beats by dre outlet, http://www.beatsbydrdre.co.com/
beats headphones, http://www.beatsbydre.com.co/
beats by dre outlet, http://www.beats-by-dre.com.co/
beats by dr dre, http://www.beatsheadphones.in.net/
bottega, http://www.bottega.us/
burberry outlet, http://www.burberryhandbags.net.co/
burberry outlet, http://www.burberry-outlet.jp.net/
burberry outlet, http://www.burberryoutlet.org.uk/
burberry, http://www.burberryoutlet-online.co.com/
burberry.com, http://www.burberryoutlet-online.in.net/
christian louboutin shoes, http://www.christian--louboutin.in.net/
christian louboutin, http://www.christianlouboutin.org.uk/
christian louboutin shoes, http://www.christianlouboutinshoes.jp.net/
coachfactory.com/shop, http://www.coachfactory-outlet.co.com/
coachfactory.com, http://www.coachfactoryoutletonline.co.com/
coach handbags outlet, http://www.coach-handbags.com.co/
coach factory outlet online, http://www.coachoutlet-online.com.co/
coachoutlet.com, http://www.coachoutletstore.net.co/
coach bags outlet, http://www.coachoutletstore-online.com.co/
chanel outlet, http://www.coco-chanelbags.com.co/
converse shoes, http://www.converse.net.co/
hermes handbags, http://www.designerhandbagsoutlet.com.co/
cheap glasses, http://www.eyeglassesonline.us.com/
sunglasses for women, http://www.eyeglassframes.us.com/
hollister clothes, http://www.fashion-clothing.us.com/
chanel bags, http://www.chanelhandbags.net.co/
softball bats, http://www.cheapbaseballbats.net/
christian louboutin, http://www.christianlouboutinshoes.ar.com/
ferragamo outlet, http://www.ferragamo.com.co/
salvatore ferragamo outlet, http://www.ferragamoshoes.net/
hair straightener, http://www.ghdhairstraightener.com.co/
gucci sale, http://www.gucci.me.uk/
gucci belt, http://www.guccihandbags.com.co/
gucci handbags, http://www.gucci-outlet.in.net/
gucci belt, http://www.gucci--outlet.com.co/
gucci shoes outlet, http://www.guccishoes.net.co/
gucci outlet, http://www.guccishoes.us.org/
hermes birkin bag, http://www.hermesbags.com.co/
hermes birkin, http://www.hermesbirkin.com.co/
hermes bags, http://www.hermesoutlet.net.co/
hollister kids, http://www.hollister.us.org/
hollister, http://www.hollisterclothing-store.in.net/
insanity workout calendar, http://www.insanityworkout.net.co/
iphone 4s cases, http://www.iphone-cases.us/
jimmy choo shoes, http://www.jimmychoo.net.co/
air jordan, http://www.jordanretro.org/
air jordan shoes, http://www.jordan-shoes.com.co/
juicy couture, http://www.juicycouture.com.co/
juicy couture outlet, http://www.juicycoutureoutlet.net.co/
kate spade, http://www.kate-spade.com.co/
katespade, http://www.katespade-outlet.com.co/
kate spade bags, http://www.kate-spades.com/
longchamp bags, http://www.longchamp.us.org/
longchamp outlet, http://www.longchamp.com.co/
louboutin, http://www.louboutin.jp.net/
louis vuitton canada, http://www.louis-vuittoncanada.ca/
louis vuitton outlet stores, http://www.louisvuitton.jp.net/
louis vuitton outlet, http://www.louis--vuitton.org.uk/
louis vuitton outlet, http://www.louisvuitton.so/
louis vuitton outlet online, http://www.louisvuittonas.com/
louis vuitton outlet, http://www.louisvuitton-outlet.com.co/
louis vuitton handbags, http://www.louisvuitton-outlets.us/
marc jacobs bags sale, http://www.marcjacobsonsale.com/
mcm bags, http://www.mcm-bags.net/
mcm handbags, http://www.mcmhandbags.com.co/
michael kors outlet store, http://www.michaelkors.so/
michael kors outlet online, http://www.michael--kors.us.com/
michael kors outlet, http://www.michaelkorsbags.us.org/
michael kors uk, http://www.michaelkorshandbags.org.uk/
michael kors, http://www.michael-kors-handbags.us.com/
michael kors outlet online sale, http://www.michaelkorsoutlet.ar.com/
michael kors purses, http://www.michael-kors-outlet.us.org/
michael kors handbags, http://www.michaelkorsoutlet-online.ar.com/
michael kors, http://www.michael-kors-outlet-online.us.org/
michael kors outlet online sale, http://www.michaelkorsoutletonline-sale.us.com/
michael kors bags, http://www.michaelkors-uk.org.uk/
mont blanc, http://www.montblanc--pens.net/
new balance, http://www.newbalance-outlet.org/
ray ban sunglasses outlet, http://www.raybanwayfarer.in.net/
knock off designer handbags, http://www.replicahandbags.com.co/
rolex watches, http://www.replicawatches.us.com/
jordan 6, http://www.retro-jordans.com/
omega watches, http://www.rolex-watches.me.uk/
roshe run, http://www.rosherun.org.uk/
roshe runs, http://www.rosheruns.us/
salvatore ferragamo shoes, http://www.salvatoreferragamo.in.net/
north face jackets outlet, http://www.thenorthfacejackets.in.net/
thomas sabo, http://www.thomassabo-uk.org.uk/
tiffany jewelry, http://www.tiffanyandco.net.co/
tiffany co, http://www.tiffanyjewelry.us.org/
timberland boots, http://www.timberlandboots-outlet.net/
timberland outlet, http://www.timberland-shoes.com/
tommy hilfiger polos, http://www.tommyhilfiger.net.co/
tommy hilfiger coupons, http://www.tommy-hilfigeroutlet.com/
toms shoes, http://www.tomshoesoutlet.com/
toms outlet, http://www.toms-outlet.in.net/
toms shoes, http://www.toms-shoes.com.co/
tory burch handbags, http://www.tory-burch-outlet.in.net/
tory burch handbags, http://www.tory-burchoutlet.us.com/
true religion jeans outlet, http://www.true-religion.com.co/
true religion outlet, http://www.truereligionjeans.net.co/
true religion jeans women, http://www.truereligion-outlet.com.co/
ugg boots, http://www.uggaustralia.net.co/
uggs outlet, http://www.uggboots.net.co/
ugg australia, http://www.uggbootsclearance.com.co/
ugg, http://www.uggsonsale.com.co/
ugg boots clearance, http://www.uggsoutlet.com.co/
coach outlet online, http://www.uptocoachoutlet.com/
vans shoes, http://www.vansshoes.us/
dresses for weddings, http://www.weddingdressesuk.org.uk/
yoga pants, http://www.yogapants.com.co/
uggs outlet, http://www.ugg-boots.us.org/
polo ralph lauren outlet online, http://www.poloralphlaurenoutlet.net.co/
burberry outlet online, http://www.burberryoutletonline.ar.com/
toms shoes outlet, http://www.toms-outlet.net.co/
cheap michael kors, http://www.michaelkors.in.net/
louboutin, http://www.christianlouboutinoutlet.net.co/
tory burch shoes, http://www.toryburchsale.com.co/
prada outlet, http://www.pradaoutlet.com.co/
longchamp outlet, http://www.longchamp-handbags.in.net/
longchamp, http://www.longchampoutlet.com.co/
chanel bags, http://www.chanel-bags.com.co/
true religion jeans outlet, http://www.truereligion-outlet.us.org/
abercrombie fitch, http://www.abercrombie-and-fitch.us.com/
hollister co, http://www.hollisterclothing.in.net/
new balance store, http://www.newbalance-shoes.org/
converse sneakers, http://www.converse--shoes.net/
lululemon outlet, http://www.lululemonoutlet.com.co/
cheap jerseys, http://www.nfl-jerseys.in.net/
nfl jerseys, http://www.cheapjerseys.us.org/
rolex watches, http://www.rolex-watches.us.com/
omega watches, http://www.rolexwatchesforsale.us.com/
p90x, http://www.p90xworkout.in.net/
giuseppe zanotti, http://www.giuseppezanotti.com.co/
mac cosmetics, http://www.maccosmetics.net.co/
instyler, http://www.instyler.in.net/
mizuno running, http://www.mizunorunning.net/
handbags outlet, http://www.handbagsoutlet.com.co/
hilfiger outlet, http://www.hilfigeroutlet.in.net/
ed hardy, http://www.edhardy.in.net/
levi's jeans, http://www.levisjeans.com.co/
bcbg max azria, http://www.bcbgdresses.net/
bebe outlet, http://www.bebeclothing.net/
harrods, http://www.harrods-london.co.uk/
gucci outlet, http://www.guccishoes.com.co/
polo ralph lauren outlet, http://www.ralphlaurenoutletonline.us.org/

by wiwi yoyo on 06/30/15

Add comment