Geoff Tennant - Promoting access to mathematics for all
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24-25/2/12: concert, air conditioning and others

./2Spent Friday morning preparing for a workshop to primary school teacher on measurement coming up next week.  Quite an interesting challenge - primary isn't my area, although lots of overlap between primary and secondary mathematics, of course. Alongside the workshop itself, I was thinking about the underlying rationale for what I'm wanting to do: give clear reasons for wanting to measure things, justify different units for different orders of magnitude, find ways of making mathematics, fun, active and interactive wherever possible, and also integrate the mathematics into a wider, problem-solving / cross-curricular approach.

In the early afternoon Debbie Devonish, who is a science lecturer working at UTech (University Technology College) close by to University of West Indies and one of the colleagues who came to Reading in 2011, came to see me and then took me across to UTech - great to meet more people and also to get asked back to talk about my 'algebra as object' project - very happy to explain to anybody reading this who hasn't already heard me foam at the mouth at the CRIME - the CRIME - that 'algebra as object' commits against all good mathematics and mathematics teaching and learning.

And then had a most enjoyable evening having dinner with Scott Genzer, his wife Kim, and daughters Sarah and Katie.  Scott is the principal of the middle and senior sections of the American International School in Kingston (AISK).  We first met two years ago having been put in touch by a mutual friend, Douglas Butler, who is one of the leading experts in the field of mathematics meets ICT in the world.  Really interesting to hear of the work he is doing, and also his willingness and that of his colleagues at AISK to engage in dialogue with schools in Jamaica about learning and teaching to mutual benefit - I very much hope they will be taken up on this offer!

Horrified to discover just how expensive electricity is here and how much is consumed by air conditioning systems - so in a medium sized home, an electricity bill can easily go up by US$200 a month if using air conditioning regularly.  And then realised that I'd left the air conditioning on when I came out....  Similar feeling as two years ago when, being about nearly a week into the trip and about to come away, discovered that there was a major water shortage on and the only reason we had a water supply overnight is because it was being delivered in lorries.  Had I known I would have been considerably more careful.

Saturday morning and afternoon spent doing my laundry and catching up on assignment marking from Reading.  And then in the evening got taken by Michael Wilson, a colleague of Debbie's at UTech, to a concert at the Seventh Day Adventist Church to which they both go.  Close to Devon House - see the post for tomorrow!  Great variety of music, from traditional choral to blues and jazz.  A great evening!

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