Nature by numbers

11 July , 2010

Teaching mathematics in mathematics education, I now and then have lectures on the mathematics found in nature. I rather like this subject and enjoy finding new ways of attacking the problems in there. I must say, that I don’t think I have seen a nicer illustrations of the phenomena og Fibonacci numbers and golden sections, than can be found in the video below. It has been circulated from YouTube for some time and I hope you will enjoy it too.

My guess is, it serves nicely as a kind of repetition of the concepts for students already familiar with them.

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The problem with PowerPoint

19 August , 2009

From BBC News (shouldn’t this be rather old news?) comes a nice look into the 25th anniversary of PowerPoint.

The semester just started, and soon the freshmen and later-hopefully-to-be teachers are pouring in by the hundreds. Sitting on the lawn, knocking on our office door, asking good and dumb questions (they are human beings, almost like us!) and equipped with volleyballs and beer cans. Ready to take on the world.

These students are approx. 19 yrs old. They are to become teachers in four yrs time. They haven’t lived a day of their lives without PowerPoint existing in their world. And still we find teachers trying to pretend the whole PowerPoint thing never really caught on. (Hard to argue with the number of presentations held every minute…)

Personally, as a mathematics lecturer, I tend to appreciate that linear thinking is reeeeeeeeeeeally not the way stuff happens inside our brains. Textbooks and teachers try to persuade us to think this is the way mathematics came about. Not so. Hence, I have gotten into the habbit of having a slide no.1 stating just that “Where do we go from here”, equipped with a mindmap or something similar.

So Happy Birthday PowerPoint. May you NOT try to change our thinking in linear, often bad, ways, but rather help us convey ideas in meaningful and creative ways.

Read the article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8207849.stm


Fantastic presentation tools

9 March , 2009

Ah… now where are the limits!? Take a look at the video below, and see for yourself. Johnny Lee has hacked a wii remote in ways that makes him able to simulate a smartboard/interactive whiteboard. Even better – what some of us have felt lacking in the smartboards – he’s made it possible to use multitouch on the computer screen… Cool! Check this out.


Pedagoguery Software: Poly

21 January , 2009

A great little freeware to show off today! As a mathematics teacher, and frequent user of whiteboards/smartboards, I am always

looking for nice programs or web sites to use interactively. This is one particularily good program that does just one thing, but does it good. It shows you the most common and a lot of the uncommon geometric solids. You can (use your hands on the smartboard to) zoom in and out on the solids, open them up and crunch them back together again. You can print the layout nets for each solid if you want to make your own physical model. For instance, have your students make footballs (I am talking soccer, not the “other sort” of football, where they mostly cheat by using their hands) from pentagons and hexgons. Solids can be shown transparent or…well..solid.

Go download a free version at http://www.peda.com/poly/


A practical approach to GeoGebra

13 September , 2008

Just attended the 4th European Workshop on Mathematical & Scientific e-Contents here at NTNU in Trondheim. We had a short overview on our Practical pedagogy for GeoGebra. The abstract can be found in

Amdal, A., Gjøvik, Ø. (2008). A practical pedagogy for GeoGebra. In Amdal, A., et. al., Book of Abstracts, 4th European Workshop on Mathematical & Scientific e-Contents, PPU-serien, Programme for Teacher Education, NTNU