[Blindmath] Math in your head

John G Heim jheim at math.wisc.edu
Mon Dec 14 18:07:51 UTC 2015


Louis, note the change in subject line. Nobody in this thread was suggesting that a math student didn't need to learn braille.


On 12/14/2015 11:41 AM, Louis Maher wrote:
> Laura,
>
> Doing math in your head is a policy guaranteeing failure.  It simply does
> not work for any problem having any complexity.  Sometimes you might hear
> this from people who do not know how to do mathematics, or who do not have
> the resources for providing the blind with accessible material.
>
> You must learn the Braille Nemeth code to be able to perform college-level
> mathematics.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Regards
> Louis Maher
> Phone 713-444-7838
> E-mail ljmaher at swbell.net
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Blindmath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Laura
> Etori via Blindmath
> Sent: Monday, December 14, 2015 11:26 AM
> To: jheim at math.wisc.edu; Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
> <blindmath at nfbnet.org>
> Cc: Laura Etori <letori.etori6 at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] Math in your head (was: alternative methods of
> learning college algebra)
>
> well I am the student asking for the input
>
> but I get that' its good to apply technology and probably in the long run it
> would do me good to learn math code coz honestly I sometimes find it tedious
> to do math in my head all the time but, it would be a good practice to
> cultivate
>
> thanks a lot for the input I will be sure to use it and if anyone else has
> more input I am open minded to workable suggestions
>
> thanks. <div id="DDB4FAA8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2"><table
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> On 12/14/15, John G Heim via Blindmath <blindmath at nfbnet.org> wrote:
>> Maybe I'm getting my responders mixed up but weren't you the one
>> originally advocating doing everything in your head?
>>
>> You're totally wrong about what you say below though. Arithmetic is
>> only a very small part of mathematics and you can do the vast majority
>> of the arithmetic in your head faster than you can with a calculator.
>> No exam is going to ask a student to calculate the cosign of a 45
>> degree angle by whipping out their calculator.
>>
>> But I'm not even talking about doing arithmetic. I'm saying that most
>> math students, if asked to calculate the cosign of a 45 degree angle
>> would have to take out a paper and pencil, draw the unit circle, write
>> down the Pythagorean theorum, and  work it out on paper. If you can
>> develop an ability to do all that in your head, you're way better off.
>>
>> I pretty regularly come across students who have told me that they
>> have been told they can't be mathematicians because math is
>> essentially a visual thing. Quite honestly, I think not only is that
>> wrong, it's backward. Relying on vision to do mathematics is a drawback.
>>
>> On 12/14/2015 09:14 AM, Jeremy wrote:
>>> Though I can understand your perspective as a blind person, just
>>> about every human being in the modern world carries a cell phone, and
>>> all cell phones have calculators. Why trust or tax your memory when a
>>> device which can compute far, far more than your brain will ever be
>>> able to calculate is right in your pocket. Why walk across the
>>> country when a technological advancement such as an airplane will
>>> take you to your destination in hours with no effort on your part.
>>>
>>> Those who know math well such as professors and opt to make
>>> calculations using paper and pencil are probably doing so because
>>> they have long become aware of the human brain's computational
>>> weaknesses and simply solve problems in this way to eliminate the
>>> possibility of error.
>>>
>>> The reason we as humans have seen an incredible jump in our
>>> technological advancements is due to computers. If we didn't invent
>>> computing machines we would be stuck using slide rulers and taking
>>> all day to compute relatively simple calculations which would overall
>>> hinder technological advancements.
>>>
>>> I can imagine making calculations in your head gets some "wows" from
>>> others, but it is not reliable if your goal is accuracy. One will
>>> have to weigh the pros and cons of learning and practicing mental
>>> math over the amount of time necessary to learn such a skill.
>>>
>>> If you want to see some amazing stuff, look up videos with Asians
>>> competing against one another using the abacus. These guys are
>>> multiplying and dividing 6-digit numbers in seconds, which would not
>>> normally be possible without such an instrument.
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Blindmath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of
>>> John G Heim via Blindmath
>>> Sent: Monday, December 14, 2015 6:25 AM
>>> To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
>>> Cc: John G Heim
>>> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] alternative methods of learning college
>>> algebra
>>>
>>> I would hesitate to say that you absolutely have to learn braille math.
>>> But I'd be even more hesitant to say you don't need it either and I
>>> would put a different spin on doing everything in your head. Being
>>> able to do math in your head is an extremely valuable skill to have
>>> -- if you can develop it. That's actually true for any math student.
>>> Personally, it amazes me how some really good mathematicians have to
>>> write everything down. It strikes me as primitive. But I'm sure
>>> humans vary greatly on their ability to do math in their head and
>>> some people are going to have a greater need to write things down
>>> than others. It strikes me as bad advice to tell someone to forget
>>> about writing stuff down.
>>>
>>> I do like the advice someone gave to learn latex. A knowledge of
>>> latex is considered so basic here at the Department of Mathematics at
>>> the University of Wisconsin that we don't even teach a mini-course in
>>> it any more.  We don't teach the alphabet either. If you are going to
>>> major in math, you're expected to know latex.
>>>
>>>
>>> On 12/14/2015 01:51 AM, Jeremy via Blindmath wrote:
>>>> Post the faculty website listing you as "college mathematics
>>>> professor at a community college." If this is not the case, I think
>>>> it may not be legal for someone to walk around playing pretend in
>>>> regards to professional academic credentials.
>>>>
>>>> Though you think you may have excelled at mathematics using your
>>>> technique, it is probably very likely that an objective comparison
>>>> of methods and outcomes may not be as generous to your
>>>> self-assessment of your mathematic ability.
>>>>
>>>> If you have truly worked with as many individuals as you claim, it
>>>> is likely you would know by now that people learn in very different
>>>> ways, and not everyone will be as fluent with mathematics as
>>>> another, so claiming no one needs braille and alike to complete math
>>>> assignments is the type of comment coming from an amateur and not a
> professional.
>>>> Surely you've heard of the normal distribution, if so, why would you
>>>> dare
>>> make such a comment?
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Blindmath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of
>>>> David Moore via Blindmath
>>>> Sent: Sunday, December 13, 2015 10:36 PM
>>>> To: Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics
>>>> Cc: David Moore
>>>> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] alternative methods of learning college
>>>> algebra
>>>>
>>>> Hi Laura,
>>>> I had sight until I was 15. By the way, my name is David Moore.
>>>> After I lost my sight, I learned how to do all the math I had done
>>>> up through high school algebra in my head the way that I had seen it
>>>> with my eyes. You can learn how to concentrate so well, that you
>>>> could be able to see the algebra in your head just how you would see
>>>> it written and do all of the steps in your head and obtain the
>>>> answer by seeing every step just like it is in front of your eyes. I
>>>> Majored in math by using this method. If someone reads you a
>>>> problem, you can learn how to keep every step straight in your head.
>>>> If you need some braille to write down, just make up any code you
>>>> want. No one else reads the Braille anyway, so as long as you know
>>>> what it means, you can just make up your code. Please email me,
>>>> Laura. Braille is not needed to do math and do not let these Braille
>>>> crazy people tell you that. If I do write math down in Braille, I
>>>> use some made up code, because I am the only one who reads Braille.
>>>> I will share my experience with you and teach you tricks of doing
>>>> all math in your head. Have a great one, can't wait to talk to you.
>>>> I will help you get an A in that class. I have tutored sighted and
>>>> blind alike just for fun. You will be fine and you can do it. I am a
>>>> college mathematics professor at a community
>>> college. I am also totally blind. You can do it, I am proof. Take care.
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Louis Maher via Blindmath
>>>> Sent: Sunday, December 13, 2015 10:11 PM
>>>> To: 'Blind Math list for those interested in mathematics'
>>>> Cc: Louis Maher
>>>> Subject: Re: [Blindmath] alternative methods of learning college
>>>> algebra
>>>>
>>>> You must learn Braille and Nemeth Code which is the Braille
>>>> mathematics code.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Regards
>>>> Louis Maher
>>>> Phone 713-444-7838
>>>> E-mail ljmaher at swbell.net
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Blindmath [mailto:blindmath-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of
>>>> Laura Etori via Blindmath
>>>> Sent: Sunday, December 13, 2015 7:34 PM
>>>> To: Blindmath at nfbnet.org
>>>> Cc: Laura Etori <letori.etori6 at gmail.com>
>>>> Subject: [Blindmath] alternative methods of learning college algebra
>>>>
>>>> greetings everyone
>>>>
>>>> I am a college student and i am not proficient in braille. that is
>>>> because i lost my sight recently.
>>>>
>>>> for my core curricular courses i am expected to take college algebra
>>>> and since i do not know math braille i would love to get suggestions
>>>> from all of you on how i can be able to go through my course using
>>> alternative methods.
>>>> i am totally blind and eager to take up any suggestions.
>>>>
>>>> your input is highly appreciated and thanks a lot.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> for it is Him who works in us, and works through us, and makes
>>>> everything beautiful and marvelous in His time and splendour.
>>>> Kind regards
>>>> Laura Etori
>>>>
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>>
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>
> --
> for it is Him who works in us, and works through us, and makes everything
> beautiful and marvelous in His time and splendour.
> Kind regards
> Laura Etori
>
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> Blindmath mailing list
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