I agree with your two observations, though we may disagree on how foundational those problems are (especially the politicians … their involvement is a consequence, not a root problem). The anti-connection topic approach is a bigger problem, though not a ‘doom’ on its own; after all, we do the same thing in pre-calculus (in general). ]]>

While I do not disagree with your observations, I have two other thoughts. One is that politicians got in the way, and the other is that developmental math continues to rely on the unconnected topics-based approach. Further, adding the glitz of the Internet cannot possibly improve learning because the content is still topics based. The glitz gets the attention of the students, but not to the math – mainly just the glitz. My focus has been on teaching math using function as a connective theme. To find out why this is important, please Google “laughbaum.6” to get to my academic home page. Of course, the solution to learning algebra is not just daily connections through function representation and behaviors, but also using pattern building, visualization, … found on my academic page.

Ed

]]>“History” is an interesting word. Many would advocate for getting ‘mathematics educators’ out of the curriculum; in other words, folks whose PhD is in math ed … who frequently have a decent mathematics background but who learn too little about cognitive science. Math Ed folks come to our conferences to suggest we employ the philosophy or method they prefer (constructivism, flipped, whatever). Very little science involved.

Mathematicians, on the other hand, have a great mathematics background and little pretension that they understand how students learn. Some get locked in to a point of view, but most will respond to information on (1) improving curriculum and (2) improving instruction.

I would rather have mathematicians involved, and not math ed professors. ]]>

Thanks for the question. I’ll make a short post, with the little information I have on AL books. [QL books are ‘everywhere’ :)]

You’ve got a good point about the Sobecki/Mercer text. Many of the problems were imported from other material (not only their QL text). However, we find their Math Lit book a good match for our current curriculum … we connect our Math Literacy course to a “intermediate algebra with review” course (Math109). Math109 is a one-semester, 6 contact hour course which is meant to fill in the gaps of Math Lit especially with respect to procedural skills. ]]>

I have sample copies of all three MLCS texts, and it’s hard for me to envision a student successfully transitioning from the Almy/Foes book to our Martin-Gay Intermediate Algebra book. So to my mind, adopting MLCS with these texts necessitates implementing QL and/or AL as well. I have yet to see any AL materials on the market and the Sobecki/Mercer QL book is really just their old Math for Liberal arts book structured around more group work. It was rather disappointing.

My large, adjunct-heavy institution is reluctant to create new courses if they cannot be scaled. Having off-the-shelf texts (preferably with online homework systems) is a necessary (though not sufficient) precondition to adopting New Life-style courses.

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