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News & Press
Author Aims to Teach Real-Life Math Skills
by Dionne Soares Palmer
Longtime professor and textbook author Ron Larson has dedicated his career to mathematics education. After receiving his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1970, Larson began working as an assistant math professor at Pennsylvania State University, earning full professorship in 1983.
His textbook authoring career began with Calculus, which was coauthored with Robert P. Hostetler and published in 1978. Since then, Larson has written 55 textbooks to date, almost all of which have multiple editions. His textbooks range from the high school to the university level, and he has also developed tutorial math software for K-8 students. Larson has won several awards for his work, including a 2010 TAA Texty Award for Big Ideas Math, a textbook series for middle school students.
In 1984, Larson founded Larson Texts, a textbook company that now has over fifty employees who work to develop and produce Larson's books.
Currently, Larson is working on a free online textbook called Math & YOU that seeks to teach adult students everyday math skills and help them develop a liking for mathematics. Math & YOU teaches 7th and 8th grade math skills through scenarios and problems that are appropriate for college-level adult learners.
Math & YOU is not an open textbook, so instructors cannot modify content, but the online version of the book allows students and instructors to comment on the content of the book and interact with each other as a community of learners and educators. Students can also access data in interactive spreadsheets and graphs through the online version of the book in order to further understand solutions and experiment with the numbers themselves.
The first several chapters of Math & YOU are currently available online, and the remaining chapters will be available in November of 2011.
Of the hundreds of books Larson has written, he is most proud of Math & YOU.
"I think the most compelling thing [about the book]," Larson said, "is that this is real, non-algebra mathematics for adults, and I don't think there is much of that anywhere else. This is not math for dummies. This is math for smarties."
Copyright © 2011, Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)