May 1, 2013 at 1:00 am

Compass: How Math Literacy Can Improve Quality of Life

“Before studying math education at Ohio University, Daniel Showalter spent five years teaching and backpacking all over the world. On one trip, he witnessed something that sparked his passion for using math to help people,” writes Taylor Evans in Compass.

Showalter was working in a remote area of India when he saw moneylenders take advantage of a tribe. After the lenders convinced the tribe to purchase clothing in local markets, they demanded to be refunded with interest. The tribe owed the lenders four times more than what they borrowed and wound up doing hard, physical labor to pay them back.

The moment served as turning point for Showalter, as he felt that the tribe could have benefited from a greater understanding of consumer mathematics. He’s now involved in various research, scholarship, and teaching projects that strive to improve quality of life through math education. A lack of understanding of math can impact people in many common life situations, he says, such as successfully earning a GED, understanding bank interest rates, or running a business.

Read Taylor Evans’ article. 

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