Silicon Valley has its perks. The birthplace of the personal computer and global hub of the software industry now plays host to a major innovation in math education -- interdisciplinary math-CS education for college-prep students.
A quiet revolution
In the software industry, a quiet revolution has taken place in applied geometry problem-solving. This paradigm shift is being driven by the advent of semi-automated problem-solving – where math problems are solved by programming an algorithm in software. The power of this approach is that one’s past mental work is available in automated form to plow into in solving today’s problem. Working with this external math-brain, algorithmic
geometry is highly leveraged. The ability to automate and reuse solutions has fundamentally changed the way math is done in the real world. Even the math concepts are morphing for ease-of-use writing algorithms.
Echoes of Sputnik
Envisioning the possibility of teaching young people how to do geometry this way, biotech computer scientist Pierre Bierre began formalizing the concepts and methodology of algorithmic geometry in 2003. The first teenagers completed a proof-of-concept pilot course in 2005. He is trying to bring over NSF and Dept. of Ed. to his mission of modernizing geometry in our high schools. Pierre was a “Sputnik” generation kid, benefitting from the science course revolutions of in the ‘60s.
“The US won the space race and high-tech domination in the ‘80s by throwing out the old textbooks 20 years earlier. Global competitiveness in this century requires that same feisty, forward-leaning bias. The “standards-based” crowd put in charge of Johnny’s education is too fixated on raising test scores, oblivious to the greater impact content revolution offers.”
How will my student benefit?
The ability to think through spatial problems, sketch out solutions on paper, and program algorithms to solving them permanently is a highly empowering skill for 21st century scientists, engineers and inventors. It’s what we teach. This course will leapfrog your child ahead of their peers and grownups who only know paper and pencil math. Because we focus on vector-based geometric properties and vector processing, your child will emerge well prepared for college-level engineering / science / math. The confidence of having Java programming experience will give an extra added edge, no matter what field your child settles on. We strongly believe that infusing programming into non-CS topics (math, sewing, architecture, etc.) is a viable strategy to shake off the “geek” label and allow kids to get their hands dirty without having to commit to Computer Science.
Since Algorithmic Geometry is brand new on the education scene, some thought should be given to your child’s comfort level as an early adopter. All our students are getting in on the ground floor of a significant educational innovation.
Will my student be successful?
As a general guideline, students we are looking for are math-accelerated, scored at east 600 on the SAT-I M, and have at least talked about a career in science-tech-engineering. They need the ability to draw passable-quality sketches, and have demonstrated some ability generating complex creative output (writing, poetry, art, music, sewing, drama, choreography, filmmaking, foreign language, etc).