“Don’t teach kids mathematics, teach them to be mathematicians.” (I believe it was Seymour Papert)
It was in the scoping phase of a new project where this came to mind, and I realized that, depending on your definition of ‘mathematician’, I don’t want them to be mathematicians either, but I want them to be mathematical problem solvers. That is, I don’t necessarily want them to be able to create mathematical theories any more than I want them to be able to recite math formulas; I want them to be able to solve problems with mathematics. And, as Jonassen tells us, the problems we give kids to solve in schools bear little resemblance to those they need to face in the real world.
My thoughts wandered further, however. I wondered if we could create rubrics around what a good math problem-solver looks like, and have students evaluate each other and assist one another in becoming good problem-solvers. Like Brown and Palincsar’s Reciprocal Teaching, they could take turns solving problems and looking at how they do it.
Of course, I want to generalize it, and find rubrics that define meaningful skills like searching, design, research, problem-solving, etc, even for adults (ala work literacy) that individual can use for self-evaluation, but also peer or guide evaluation (360; level 3, etc) and mentoring. Particularly for digital literacy.
What do you think; would you like a set of such metrics and a social support infrastructure to self-develop in the use of new technologies and skills for accomplishing your goals?