Mathematics teachers… what kind of creatures are they?

1 December , 2013
Math teachers – what about math teachers? from Øistein Gjøvik

13 August , 2013

“There is one comforting conclusion which is easy for a real mathematician. Real mathematics has no effects on war. No one has yet discovered any warlike purposes to be served by the theory of numbers or relativity, and it seems very unlikely that anyone will do so for many years.”

 G.H. Hardy i A mathematician’s apology


9 September , 2012
Officeporn (but #sfw 🙂

I consider myself at least slightly environmentally concerned, but this stapler without staples would make sense and fun no matter how much you care about your carbon print. Press the magic button and presto! The magic machine makes a hole in your paper corner and inserts a tab into it for holding it all together. I must admit, this is not strong enough to survive an air crash or a strong wind but it is still fun!

Oral Exams

15 June , 2012

Or, the art of writing so ugly that the student doesn’t understand what is written about him.

Hundred students, thousand study credits and a pile of wood from four days of writing.


Creating Positive Classrooms (book)

8 May , 2012

I am not sure whether this should be called a book, because it is just slightly bigger than my passport! It is written by one of my favorite authors within Mathematics Education, Mike Ollerton. You can see his published books on Amazon here, and also listen to him on YouTube.

This little book, reminds me of a handbook for conducting classroom experiences although he actually HAS a book entitled The Mathematics Teacher Handbook as well. Mostly he writes about what it means to be a teacher, and in particular, a mathematics teacher. (You won’t find much math in this book, but many good activities are presented in the Handbook!)

I find it hard to disagree with Ollerton, but he does cover som rather unexpected topics. There’s a chapter on prizes, one on smoking and one on detention. His view is that prizes and award systems in general are unnecessary, and he argue quite a bit on that.

The reason he covers smoking as a separate chapter seems to be the size of the problem in UK. He claims that a huge fraction of the fifteen year olds smoke, although it is not legal for them to purchase tobacco or cigarettes.

In short, he writes about what he means about topics most teachers sooner or later will face.

In particular, I liked the relatively simple and perhaps rather idealistic view about way he doesn’t reward helpful students with golden stars or the like:

Because that is the way civilized people should behave towards each other.

It’s a short read, but I always find something to ponder in Ollerton’s books.

The known universe

10 February , 2012

Such a nice video. Never seen it and neither had NRKbeta, who caught my eye here. Linking it onwards:

The known universe

Finding the right driver home for X-mas

7 January , 2012

Going home for X-mas… to me it means family, most likely the extended family. People you might not spend so much time with anymore, in my case. I try to visit a couple of times every year, but X-mas is special. It’s a tradition, just like the annual airings of Donald Duck on X-mas morning. And another tradition is “Can you fix and/or update the computer(s)?” It’s not such a drag, but fixing computers is not the funniest thing to play around with either. Although finally we academics can make ourselves useful for something. More often than not, it’s a bit difficult to “fix” stuff. Is it drivers, errors, hardware, software, modems, firewalls, whatnot.

Of course, the owners of the computers are not that likely to be interested in maintaining their own computers, hence, the returning son is up for it. I have found a few useful things to help me out with things like this. 

I usually install CCleaner (former crapcleaner), so that it’s easy for my parents or siblings to do a medium thorough clean-up. In addition, I install Ad-Aware and maybe Search & Destroy. They attack spyware, adware, and things like that. Another program I like is Revo Uninstaller – it’s very thorough and removes stuff other uninstallers don’t.

But what happens when you are not there…

When home, I go to and make a tailored installfile (very easy!) for my relative. Just tick the software you want them have and what you know they already have. You download a small file, and tell your relative to run it once pr. month! This will then fetch the newest and updated versions of everything you have chosen, it skips toolbars and other crap, and just update what is needed. Pure genius. This is extremely handy when someone in your family gets a new computer! 

On other occations it might be handy to control the computer of your relative remotely. Many options exist, Teamviewer LogMeIn etcetera. I landed on the free Crossloop Connect. Very simple to use. Your relative calls you tells the code the program gives you, and you input it on your computer. You then get their screen on your screen and can control their computer almost as if your own. (And head to, because that is always were my relatives refuse to pay an interest! 🙂

So off we go, into 2012, hoping I can fix some more problems, and not only when I visit my parents 🙂 Happy new year!