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Re: [seul-edu] Looking for math curriculum

>     My question: does anybody have contacts or information about computer-based remedial math programs for at-risk high school students? We really need a comprehensive curriculum that starts from the basics such as number sense, counting and so on. Ideally, it should progress all the way through Algebra 1 and geometry. If it matters, the network runs Linux but can also access anything on the Internet. I don't have good enough hardware to run Windows emulation at any decent speed.
While being all four the use of computers in education, I am not sure 
that what you are trying to do is solvable via computer application.
Before I go on, let me say that I submit this in all humbleness, and not
as an attempt flame or belittle.

Where I am coming from is that there are several reasons various 
students do not excel in Mathematics, and lack of computer instruction
is not one of them.  Here are a few of those reasons:

	1)  The primary reason, IMHO, is that students see no use for
	    mathematics in _their_ world.
	2)  No teacher has had the time to really reach the children
	    in each's own individual way of learning.
	3)  Most students who do miserably in mathematics believe
	    that the concepts are beyond them (in short they lack
	    confidence in themselves to master this discipline).
	4)  They generally have a _very_ low self esteem.  Though,
	    related to three they are not the same thing.
	5)  They live in a culture that frowns upon excelling in 
	    things academic.
	6)  They do not have role models that deem things academic,
	    mathematics or anything else, to be of any particular
	7)  In many cases, their parents have no interest in mathematics,
	    and just as the parents did not do well with mathematics,
	    they do not expect there children to do well, neither do they
	    make they effort to try to really encourage their children
	    (in whatever way you like) to exceed in this area.

So, looking at these reasons, and I am sure we can find others, 
one has to come to the conclusion is what the non-excelling in mathematics
children really need is a TEACHER.  They need a teacher that inspires
that inspires them, helps them to see clearly beuaty and wonder (sorry
if I wax poetic) of mathematics.  They need a teacher that will spend 
the time they need with them.  They need a teacher that _believes_ in them,
and prove to them that this stuff is actually pretty simple and that
they these smart children can get this stuff.  They need a Teacher
that encourages them.  Beyond that though, they need role models 
that build them up rather than tear them down, and parents that build 
environments that foster discipline (and I mean the kind of discipline 
that leads one to attack a problem until it is solved, not the 
punishiment kind).

In short they need truly caring yet tough individuals to invest
their time in these children.  

Now I am not saying that you cannot use computers as tool to help
teach the children.  The problem is that until you get these children
excited about mathematics (and learning for that matter) then it
will in most cases only be a poor excuse for teaching.  For instance,
a graphics calculator in the hands of someone excited about 
mathematics, is a vessel for exploration of waters yet uncharted by
that student.  On the other hand a graphics calculator in the hands of 
a student disintrested in mathematics is the fastest way to get the
answer he has been compelled to provide.

OK.  I'm done.  Hope I did not offend anybody, but this is something
I feel very strongly about.  I see so many states pooring lots of money
into computer infrastructure thinking that this will somehow prepare 
these students for job markets of the future, when, personally, I would
rather see someone who has mastered Calculas, can express his/herself
cogently in paper and verbally, and can think logically, than 
10 certified in something dudes.