2009/01/28

Tools of American Mathematics Teaching, 1800-2000

The last issue of TCRecord includes a review of a book that I wasn't aware of before, but that certainly looks interesting: "Tools of American Mathematics Teaching, 1800-2000", by Peggy Aldrich Kidwell, Amy Ackerberg-Hastings, and David Lindsay Roberts. The book was published last year. Here is a taster of Alexander P. Karp's excellent review of the book:

In today’s classrooms graphing calculators have become routine, yet thousands of teachers can easily recall a time when they did not exist. Not so with the blackboard, which seems to us something that is almost as old as the idea of education itself. This, however, is by no means the case. Two hundred years ago, and for several decades afterwards, blackboards were a novelty in American classrooms and their use was regarded as a particular feature of teaching style. And indeed, the transition from small tablets made of slate to a large blackboard for the whole class went along with a transition to working simultaneously with a large group of students—a transition that can hardly be viewed as anything other than fundamental.

2 comments:

montgorp said...

If only more of us could see the long view like this. Perhaps less of us would cling to old technologies as if they were god-given.

Only yesterday, I was almost attacked by colleagues for suggesting that we did not need paper resources anymore.

Reidar said...

I totally agree!

I think it is very useful to look to history sometimes! I guess that's part of the reason why I have always been interested in the history of mathematics (and mathematics education). It helps me to see the situation of today in a different light. And I think your example illustrates that in a very nice (and somewhat horrifying) way!

-r