NXT #mathisdead

June 14, 2012
by Rose Manning


In a world where technology is omnipresent and information is only a few clicks away, memorization and facts have gone the way of the landline.

“Unlike literature, history, politics and music, math has little relevance to everyday life…All the mathematics one needs in real life can be learned in early years without much fuss. Most adults have no contact with math at work, nor do they curl up with an algebra book for relaxation. Those who do love math and science have been doing very well…Our graduate schools are the best in the world. The US] has produced about 140 Nobel laureates since 1983 (about as many as before 1983). As for the rest, there is no obligation to love math any more than grammar, composition, curfew or washing up after dinner” (Washington Post).

“In just a few years, technology has revolutionized what it means to go to nursing school…but the most profound recent change is a move away from the profession’s dependence on committing vast amounts of information to memory. It is not that nurses need to know less, educators say, but that the amount of essential data has exploded” (New York Times).

“It’s one thing to read and love a poem, and it’s another to carry the words with you all the time, ready at any moment to share them with someone else. This is all to say that when Heffernan mentioned the poetry-memorizing iPhone app VerseByHeart, I knew immediately that I wanted to try it out. I don’t even have an iPhone, but I borrowed one and got straight to work” (The NewYorker).

What do we lose when we stop memorizing? How can we take advantage of the “extra space” we’ve created in our minds by outsourcing memorization to technology?

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