Thomas Friedman writes:
As Low-Sim Ay Nar, principal of Xinmin Secondary School, explained to me, Singapore has got rote learning down cold. No one is going to outdrill her students. What it is now focusing on is how to develop more of America’s strength: getting Singaporean students and teachers to be more innovative and creative. “Numerical skills are very important,” she told me, but “I am now also encouraging my students to be creative – and empowering my teachers. We have been loosening up and allowing people to grow their own ideas.”
She added: “We have shifted the emphasis from content alone to making use of the content” on the principle that “knowledge can be created in the classroom and doesn’t just have to come from the teacher.”
Toward that end, some Singapore schools have adopted a math teaching program called HeyMath, which was started four years ago in Chennai, India, by two young Indian bankers, Nirmala Sankaran and Harsh Rajan, in partnership with the Millennium Mathematics Project at Cambridge University.
HeyMath’s mission is to be the math Google – to establish a Web-based platform that enables every student and teacher to learn from the “best teacher in the world” for every math concept and to also be able to benchmark themselves against their peers globally.