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David Harris

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About David Harris

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    Maths aside, I love playing with my Kids. What little time/energy I have left, I try to spend on Digital Art, Cleaning my VW Newbeetle and supporting Fife's greatest football team, Dunfermline Athletic.<br>I've also had a lot of fun over the last few years developing my own site http://www.planetqhe.com
  1. I worked with Richard from the very start of IST in August 1999 until July 2006 and I would like to add to the forum my impressions of him as a colleague over the years. His students have supplied superlatives galore so far and that is no surprise to me. Watching the way Richard was able to make his passion for History so infectious for his students was fascinating and inspiring. Every IST teacher will have overheard corridor conversations - sometimes heated! - between students about the opening of the Eastern front or the treaty of Versailles. Richard has a gift for getting his subject under the students' skin. Richard's contribution to the curriculum is not limited to History - he consistently pushes the envelope with technology and he is generous with his time not only with his students but with his colleagues. I have benefited from picking his brains on many occasions, be it on how to draw parallels between the way he teaches students to structure an essay and the needs of structure in Maths projects, or in how to edit digital videos. I recall in the first year of the school I asked Richard to help me with a cross-curricular project about population growth. The task was for his Geography class to predict the population of the world at a specific time. Richard was able to guide his class to do this using statistical software that I gave him at short notice and he typically achieved a result that added value to the mathematical objectives I had for the task. This was not the only time in the seven years I worked with Richard that he went out of his way to help so effectively. I have consistently been amazed at not only the quality of Richard's ideas over the years but the sheer volume of school trips he has conceived and executed, the Extended Essays he has supervised, contribution to TOK, the Professional development he has given through E-Help and so on. IST is still young and has evolved from a much smaller school than the one we know today. We opened in August 1999 with students in years 1 to 11 and only around 150 students - sorry I have forgotten the actual number! - this was before the IGCSE and IB classes were established. Richard was the first teacher to put a class through IGCSE - in 2000 - for his subject and get a great set of results. At the very start of the school's existence, I remember thinking that we were always talking to parents in the future tense about what the school could offer. Richard has been prolific in turning potential into reality; instrumental in fulfilling the potential of his fledgling department and taking full advantage of the exciting opportunities that IST gives to all its teachers. He has always applied energy, passion, commitment and courageous innovation. So, I 'd like to add to the comments of Hannah T and Grace B and their retrospectives of his contribution to IST and attest to the fact that his prolific work is recognised by his colleagues as well. David Harris Head of Maths IST 1999-2006
  2. I have experimented with the great piece of freeware here http://reglos.de/musinum/ You can create a list of random numbers in excel, paste them into MUSINUM and then listen to 'random' music. I also attended a fantastic workshop in Rome last month as part of the CABRIWORLD2004 conference - it was entitled "Visual analogies of auditory illusions". The illusions in question were generated by the French Composer Jean Claude Risset. D
  3. I thought this poll might give us some quick, easy data to create discussion with. What subjects are more 'popular'? Why? What can we do to 'discover' the potential in any topics we do not like, or try to avoid! Can technology help us do this? David
  4. I am typing this with one hand due to a broken wrist - I will therefore not be up to my usual prolific typing and contributing rate on this forum. I have noticed however a lot of views so i'd like to ask all teachers who are browsing to contribute....we really do need to get this maths forum off the ground! D
  5. Thanks Andy! I read the 'debate' and enjoyed it....some lively banter going on there, the wit and the eloquence comes through despite the technology! Disappointed with some of the sweeping generalisations though, I'd have thought that those would be frowned upon by any Historian who appreciates logic! Yes, maths has to justify its high profile in the scheme of things, as does any subject. Yes, maths can seem irrelevant - but so can any subject if not taught well. Yes, students' logic skills could be developed through cross-curricular links not just with History, but other subjects. I'm going to play this one safe though - (a) I think all subjects are as important as each other ( that’s why I think the IB curriculum model is the way to go. David
  6. I confess I’ve been busy hence the lack of posts, but I suppose everyone who contributes to this site is busy, so what does that tell you? I’ve been thinking recently about what exactly makes teaching and learning mathematics different to that of other subjects? Actually I have been thinking about this for a while – some of you might recall the Cockroft Report, published in the 1980’s in the UK. It was a government report on the teaching of Maths, wittingly called “Mathematics Counts”. There was one entry that made the statement “Mathematics is a difficult subject to teach and to learn” When you read a showstopper like that you then expect a qualification – how do you compare and contrast the learning process between different subjects? But I can’t recall finding any evidence or argument in the report to back up that statement. If anyone is interested I can supply the page number etc of this quote. The classroom is still a private, sometime secretive place in which teachers spend a lot of time teaching or pondering how to improve their teaching, but every now and then a student will say something like “you don’t really have to revise for English, but you do for maths” - these kind of comments make me wonder about the learning process across the wider curriculum. I guess students are the ones who understand it most since they experience the whole spectrum from Art to Science every week. So let’s pose these questions – · Is it true that “Mathematics is a difficult subject to teach and to learn” · How? Why? When? · If our students have a more developed understanding of the relative demands of the subjects they learn than we do, what is that understanding? · Is their understanding right? How can we learn from it? Are there ways to improve it? I am off on holiday now for two weeks. A warm welcome to all, and I hope to hear from anyone on my return! D PS the maths section of the forum is sparsely populated at the mo - newcomers welcome!
  7. Hi everyone. My Site is Planetqhe.com. A bit of a mouthful I know! it stands for Probabilistic Learning Activities NETwork, Question, Hypothesis, Experiment. It consists of over 30 probability puzzles, paradoxes and experiments mostly in the form of spreadsheets but there are also applets, fathom, cabri documents as well. I originally uploaded it in Jan 2001. My plan for development is to add another couple of activities, but more importantly to finally get rid of the pesky frames, -even more important to make the instructions better and make it more useful as a cross-curricular resource. It's mostly aimed at IB students, so integrating it with other diploma subjects and of course TOK would be great. All the best Davidh
  8. Hi Everyone and happy new year! I'm David Harris from the International School of Toulouse, where I am the Head of the Maths department. I've also taught in London, Cairo and Buenos Aires. I've worked at IST since our doors opened in 1999. Before that I was (briefly) studying for an M Ed in Bristol as a full time student which I have only just finished. A lot of my M Ed studies were related to probability theory, have a look at my site Probabilistic Learning Activities Network if you are interested. Here at IST we are really lucky because we operate a laptop programme in Primary and Secondary - each student has his/her own laptop computer and network space. internet and email. In the maths department we make a lot of use of Excel, Autograph, Derive and Cabri as well as Casio fx9750 calculators. D
  9. Hi Everyone and happy new year! I'm David Harris from the International School of Toulouse, where I am the Head of the Maths department. I've also taught in London, Cairo and Buenos Aires. I've worked at IST since our doors opened in 1999. Before that I was (briefly) studying for an M Ed in Bristol as a full time student which I have only just finished. A lot of my M Ed studies were related to probability theory, have a look at my site Probabilistic Learning Activities Network if you are interested. D