Posts Tagged ‘maths’

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my robot is better than your robot…?

August 16, 2011

Check out the new video from www.iamfirst.com, an American initiative to encourage more students to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects at school and beyond. It features various celebrities highlighting the importance of science, including Justin Timberlake, Steven Tyler, will.i.am, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Jack Black.

While I think that trying to engage young people in STEM subjects (or any academic subjects at school) can only be a good thing, this video is all wrong for several reasons – which are outlined in my resulting questions from the video, listed below.

  • Why is will.i.am wearing a blood pressure cuff?
  • Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber don’t even go to school!
  • Reciting names of elements does not make one a scientist.
  • What is a Doctor of Thinkology, and what scientific careers value this qualification?
  • Phones and pianos are made of science! Ergo geeks are great and you should become one!
  • WHERE ARE THE ROBOTS? I certainly don’t have a robot. I didn’t see any of these celebrities’ robots!? So how can their robots be better than my robot?
  • I am quite confident that Einstein was not a rockstar.
  • How shiny is will.i.am’s chest? Surely that’s not natural. Perhaps HE is the robot?
  • So people should take jobs in science, engineering, maths and robotics because there are more jobs there than in basketball (which I thought was obvious)? Not because they might be any good at science, or want to study it further? Surely we should be encouraging young people to follow their dreams and make use of their talents and aptitudes, not just advise them to choose careers based on which sectors have more jobs?
  • Robotics and science is the future, because robots are all futuristic and shit… yeah.

I agree with will.i.am that if every school has a basketball court, then they should also have a science programme. That is perhaps one of the few sensible suggestions to come out of this video. Also, he says that educating our youth and getting them equipped for tomorrow is important, and I wholeheartedly agree. My issue is that this video is not educational – they have basically thrown a bunch of celebrities at the screen, told them to say “Science is cool!” and hope that kids buy it. How does this equip them? What concrete knowledge does this video share? Our youth is surely not naive enough to buy into something without concrete reasoning of why science is important – saying that scientists made an iPhone is not enough! I would suggest that emphasising the importance of STEM subjects in order to go into a range of careers, increasing earning prospects, mentioning specific job fields where vacancies and progression are available would have been the way to go. Young people need and crave this kind of information when they’re making their subject choices, university and college applications, and so on. This video is a bit nothing-y, at the end of the day.

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dream. (f/ Mr. Clarke & Tenerife (nearly))

August 31, 2009

At first I was in some sort of computer game with a red blob where I had to collect coins around this gothic castle.  Mario much?

Then I was packing my suitcase to go on holiday to Tenerife with my father.  My mother and father were wandering around the house trying to help me, but I was doing an okay job by myself.  We were also watching television at the same time, and I remember the weather in Bristol was pretty nice – sunny and picturesque in the view outside over our patio.  I then had visions of walking around Spain taking photographs (which reminded me of another dream I’d had when I was staying at a hostel in Spain with schoolfriends, which began collapsing around us as we ran around inside looking for things to collect / explore).  Anyway, my father informed me that I would have to make my own way to the airport (I guess maybe he wasn’t coming with me after all?), which pissed me off somewhat.  But I was sitting in front of the television, which sometimes showed a programme and at other times would be off.

Then I remember I was sat in the back corner of the school classroom I was in in Year 7 (aged 11-12) in the middle of a maths lessons with Mr. Clarke.  Mr Clarke was my maths teacher for 4 out of the 5 years that I took maths in secondary school; he was pretty nice (we organised gifts for when he returned to school after paternity leave) and also very sexy – my mother had/has a big crush on him (he was gorgeous, to be fair).  So he was teaching this maths lesson, and I was sitting the back corner, and I had somehow acquired a dark blue napkin, which I was folding like origami.  Somehow, I made a paper aeroplane (which I can never do in real life) so I held it in my hands, but the temptation was to great so I let it fly.  It sailed across the classroom and landed in the opposite front corner of the room.  Mr. Clarke stared at it, then pretending to ignore it, while I went to the front of the room to pick it up and put it in the bin. I then sat down in a seat at the front corner, behind one of my friends Ben Conrad (who was a skinny boy I was pretty good friends with around that age).  We were trying to copy things off the board, and Mr Clarke had written a list of things. However, my eyesight made them really blurry, and he’d written them in a green pen which meant that I couldn’t read his writing properly.  I asked Ben what the penultimate word said, and he replied “it’s hydration”.  I thought that he was wrong and told him so, as I could make out too many loops in the word for it to be “hydration”.  Mr. Clarke heard us disagreeing and said “instead of asking him, why don’t you put your glasses on?” and pointed at the glasses sitting on the edge of my desk, which I hadn’t noticed until this point.  So I put my glasses on, and I saw that the word said “H500000”, and Ben had been right. (Apparently, in my dream, “H500000” was equivalent to “hydration”, because that’s obviously the correct formula!)  I just remember Mr Clarke looking at me and smiling, and then I woke up.