From technophobe to polymath

I’m not a polymath yet, but I’m on the right way (at least I’m not technophobe) after Dr. Tony Houghton’s presentation at the Hungarian Geogebra Institute.

Tony took his first degree in psychology from University of Cambridge, his second one is in System Analysis and he gained his Eng.D in Communications Engineering. He started his career as a teacher, moved to a French human factors consultancy in Paris, then BT with whom he worked for many organizations in a consultancy role ranging from Essex County Council to Coventry University, University College London, Specialist Schools Academy Trust, Eurescom, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), AT&T, MCI, Nationwide, Pepsico, DHL, Microsoft, CISCO, Chunghwa Telecom, and Sony in Singapore.

Now he is Educational Development Director at CCITE (Cambridge Centre for Innovation in Technological Education). It was a real pleasure to attend his presentation and to ask some questions after it.

To combine psychology with maths and engineering at first could sound strange but at the end of Tony’s presentation I understood how the two things strengthen each other. What I always felt in our educational system (in a language class of a Hungarian high school) was also proven: engineering and science aren’t championed in the schools. Checking the statistics, the first 4 most popular faculties at universities are: business, law, sociology and art (in the UK, but I’m sure the Hungarian statistics are quite similar) It’s nice that students are interested in these beautiful subjects; the petty is that technology is missing – said Tony.

I remember in the high school we were scared about the math and physic lessons. These subjects were considered extremely difficult studies with absolutely no fun and enthusiastic within. Trying to learn these subjects without understanding them, can be a torture for everyone. I was faced so many challenges during my 17 years of studies also (e.g. there was no internet and not even telephone ;)) and if I didn’t understand something after our teachers’ explanation (it happened many times after math lessons) I had to wait with my questions until the next opportunity to ask them. Now students luckily are more open minded (and their teachers as well) and with internet and with a global and complex tool like Geogebra they can share their ideas from different places of the World, they can work like a real team. Tony’s opinion is that the personal interaction and the global side of Geogebra are as important as the maths.

During the presentation of a flying paper plane in Tony’s presentation I was so impressed that I would like try Geogebra in tango dancing as well, and finally I’ve recognized that there’s so much fun in math and engineering now! I’ve seen cca. 30 open minded young people attending the presentation, full with enthusiasm, some of them even ready to dance in the room 😉 I’m sure they are brave enough to ask questions and to try and prove their ideas with Geogebra. What was emphasized by Tony also, together we go still far. Engineering and math is not an alone career. You can try whatever you want as many times as you want.

You can come up with your own ideas at http://www.geogebra.org/cms/en

We can focus on what we know and we have the opportunity to be more spontaneous and creative.

– A Guest post by Edit Lovas.

A short video of the presentation:

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