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Fluency in math?

MIT web project aims to increase student fluency in mathematics

... "We're always getting questions from faculty like: 'Do you really teach complex numbers in your courses?' because students claim they've never seen them. Whether the students have forgotten or just don't recognize them in another context, we don't know. It's complicated because things often appear in slightly different language further downstream...."

Could this be a sign of change in how math is taught? Will emphasis be on understanding concepts instead of memorizing mechanical steps? Will students apply concepts? I'm eager to see the learning tools this produces.

[via Online Learning Update]