David Wees

Mathematics Teacher, Stratford Hall
Vancouver , B.c., Canada

About David

Bio

My life since I graduated from teacher training in 2002 has been an never ending adventure. I have lived in 4 different countries since then and have met the love of my life and we started our family. I wouldn't trade a moment of it, despite some of the difficulties I have faced.

First it was clear that getting a full time job in British Columbia was going to be a difficult task, so I packed up my bags and moved to Brooklyn, New York. Here I learned classroom management and basic lesson planning and organizational skills in a difficult inner city school called The School for Legal Studies. The experience was generally a good one, and the most serious issues in that school could have been fixed with better training for all of the people who worked there. Nearly everyone I worked with was dedicated to the success of the students, but not everyone had the tools to cope with the stress of the position.

One of the highlights of living in New York was meeting Vasilia, the woman I plan on spending the rest of my life with. She and I are a good match, since we complement each other's strengths well.

After three years there, I moved with my very new wife to London, England, and started a job in an international school called Southbank International School. During our first year in London, Vasilia and I both worked very hard and spent a lot of time getting to know each other better. We had to rush our wedding a bit because my visa to stay in the United States was about to... well anyway it's a long story.

We both really enjoyed our time together and I loved the school I worked at. However we found London to be a rather busy place, and very impersonal. We tried our best to have Londoners as friends, but it turned out that all of friendships ended up being with ex-pats or former ex-pats.

Our favorite moment in London was when our son Thanasi was born on September 11th, 2006. It is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life, it was amazing.

The big problem with living in London was the cost, and when my son was born, we were stuck for a year in London living off of a single income. I had to work extra hard and moonlight as a freelance web programmer in order to make ends meet. After a year of this, we had enough and packed our bags after I accepted a job in Thailand at Ruamrudee International School.

Thailand is a beautiful place to visit. It is warm all the time, and has gorgeous beaches and wonderful happy people. We met many very friendly people who have been very curious about our son. We went on quite a few trips in Thailand but unfortunately not as many as we would have liked.

During our first year in Thailand, I wrote a textbook for the International Baccalaureate Mathematical Studies course. Along with my co-author, Ron Carrell, I put many, many hours into the production of the textbook.

Two years ago I was busy with the website design business Vasilia and I started but have now ended. I also started my Master's degree in Educational Technology online through the University of British Columbia. That combined with side projects like writing articles for the Bangkok Post, an English language newspaper, kept me busy.

In June of 2009 we all moved to Canada. My wife and son are getting used to living in Canada for the first time and I'm enjoying being home. This past fall I started working at Stratford Hall, which is a great place to work at. I really like it, the students are easy to get along with, and the staff is motivated and talented. I'm now the learning specialist for information technology, which means that along side my reduced teaching load, I assist staff in using educational technology

Languages

English

Areas of Expertise

education, technology, Mathematics

An idea worth spreading

Instead of representation by population, we should have a system where each person is granted a weighted vote, the strength of which is determined by your participation in the Democracy. Think "representation by participation".

I'm passionate about

Education, mathematics, technology, my family.

Universities

UBC

People don't know I'm good at

I sang for 8 years in various different choirs. I don't have an outstanding voice, but it's not bad. :)

Comments & conversations

55448
David Wees
Posted about 2 years ago
Children's schools should have an "Imagination" period
What I see missing from schools in terms of an imagination time is the tools students for students to be creative, and the space to store the products of their labour. If you have seen the video about Caine's Arcade (see http://cainesarcade.com/) you'll see how a kid who is supported and provided the tools they need has the ability to be creative. Caine has space to store his stuff, a mentor to help him build it, an audience to see the results of his creativity, and the tools necessary to build. What is missing in schools is space for students to store their stuff, and the kinds of materials they can use to build things, whether these things are made of paper and glue, or with digital tools, kids generally just don't have unfettered access to these things. It unfortunately also rare for students to have access to these things at home. So what I think schools (or community centres) need to do is to build these spaces, provide the tools, and help mentor kids. It doesn't matter much what they build, or how they build it, just that they have space to do it. We could call these STEM clubs, or Arts clubs, or whatever, we just need to ensure that all kids get the chance that Caine had - a chance to build a piece of themselves into the world around them.
55448
David Wees
Posted over 2 years ago
How can computer models help us build intuition?
I agree James. Often someone designing a simulation has to make simplifying assumptions, and it can lead to a misalignment between what actually happens, and what is shown to happen in the simulation. However, if you can compare the simulation against raw data and there is a strong correlation, then the construction of a simulation may give you some insight into the mathematical properties of the phenomena you are simulating, even if you can't articulate those phenomena explicitly using a mathematical model. However, you do really need to ensure that you are thoughtful in your use, and you don't assume that what you have provided is an accurate measure of reality; you need to check.
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David Wees
Posted over 2 years ago
How can computer models help us build intuition?
I never finished it, but this is the beginning of a classroom simulation, relying on the notion that knowledge is transferred between different students in the room (or between the teachers in the room and the students). http://davidwees.com/classroomsim/ There is a lot of work that would need to be done to work on this simulation (it has some pretty serious bugs at this point). For example, it ignores the idea that given the right conditions, students can spontaneously discover ideas on their own (without relying on outside information necessarily) and the variables related to transmission of knowledge are incomplete. It is an unfinished attempt to look at information transfer theory as it would apply to education, and to see if we can gain any insights as to appropriate arrangements of classes (and pedagogical styles) based purely on information theory. Obviously, I'm sharing this example as a sample of something we could attempt to use the power of computing to solve (whether we would be successful is entirely a different matter).
55448
David Wees
Posted over 2 years ago
Clay Shirky: Why SOPA is a bad idea
Copyright law, at least according to Wikipedia, in something similar to its current form, was created in 1709. The original copyrights were not granted so that publishers could ensure sole right to create copies of their work, but so that what was published could be tightly regulated. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_copyright_law. This suggests to me that for many thousands of millennia of human culture, there was nothing in our society like the current copyright scheme. So now one wonders, what did the people who created content do to make a living before the invention of copyright? Presumably, they made a living by being the best person to perform their work, and by interacting more directly with their customers. Society changed to adapt to the introduction of the printing press, and so too must it adapt to the introduction of the Internet and the computer. I don't know exactly how artists will survive in the future. I recognize that it will change, but to think that the act of being an artist will disappear is, I think, mistaken. It will evolve.
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David Wees
Posted almost 3 years ago
Is the current direction of the web Democratic?
The question is Scott: are most users aware of this issue? Do they know how to avoid being in an Internet filter bubble? Net Neutrality is a huge issue as well. No disagreement from me here, we need to get that sorted out, and I don't see that we can rely on our governments to support Net Neutrality.
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David Wees
Posted almost 3 years ago
Is the current direction of the web Democratic?
Who said anything about bribes? I think you are putting words in my mouth. Have you actually tested your Google results and your friends Google results, and the difference between when you are logged in, or not logged in?
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David Wees
Posted almost 3 years ago
Is the current direction of the web Democratic?
One of the problems is, a bit of randomness in your search means that you occasionally get exposed to ideas to which you are not accustomed. When your search results are entirely personalized for you, you get results that are not as likely to expose you to the many different perspectives on how the world works. Instead of the various factions that inhabit the Internet being exposed to each other regularly, you bump into each other only very occasionally, and forget that other perspectives exist.
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David Wees
Posted almost 3 years ago
Is the current direction of the web Democratic?
Some observations from Richard Beaudry (@RBeaudryLTA) on Twitter: Democratic: Social media success - Examples: Elections in Iran, and people revolutions in the Arab world this year. unDemocratic: Internet Censorship still a problem in countries led by single political parties: China, Syria, Burma. US Sen. tried to overturn the FCC's rules on Open Int. intro. in 2010. Corp. interests over democracy. US Sen voted 52–46 to defeat S.J Res 6 which would have overturned the FCC Commissions Open Int Rules. Can you think of other examples in which the Internet is becoming less Democratic?
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David Wees
Posted almost 3 years ago
Roger McNamee: 6 ways to save the internet
The Internet has been once of the most Democratic tools for communications we've ever had on this planet. It's not itself Democratic, but it can facilitate it. Democracy is about conversation (and debate), and that will be curtailed if corporations control how we access the Internet.
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David Wees
Posted almost 3 years ago
Roger McNamee: 6 ways to save the internet
Where are those apps he's talking about going to be embedded? How will we access them? If we embed them in Facebook, aren't they subject to the algorithms Facebook uses to deliver information to us?