Arman Simonyan: Children should enjoy learning math - Mediamax.am

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Arman Simonyan: Children should enjoy learning math


Arman Simonyan
Arman Simonyan

Photo: Mediamax

Arman Simonyan
Arman Simonyan

Photo: Mediamax

Arman Simonyan
Arman Simonyan

Photo: Mediamax

Photo: Mediamax

Arman Simonyan
Arman Simonyan

Photo: Mediamax

Arman Simonyan
Arman Simonyan

Photo: Mediamax


Mathematical modeling and computational biology go hand in hand in Arman Simonyan’s life. These two fields are connected by something common, something fundamental – love of mathematics. As for Arman’s favorite topic, it has always been Euclid’s Axioms.

“Euclid gives definition to geometric shapes that seem to have no definition to us,” says Arman Simonyan, a mathematical modeler. 

An intuitional choice

Choosing mathematics wasn’t conscious for Arman, but he is happy with his field.

“The high school my parents chose for me focused on physics and mathematics. I dug deeper into math there, and I was really interested in biology too, so I got into Yerevan State University and Peking University to study it. I applied to the American University of Armenia as well and that is where I continued my math studies,” tells Arman.

He is also involved in the bioinformatics research group at the Institute of Molecular Biology. In this line of work Arman directly applies mathematical knowledge in scientific processes.

“Looking back, it wasn’t really a conscious decision to choose mathematics for my occupation, but I always leaned in that direction subconsciously. Now, I see that mathematics is not just one field or one profession,” explains Arman.

Arman Simonyan Arman Simonyan

Photo: Mediamax


According to him, mathematics helps put your thoughts and ideas into order and develops critical thinking, which is not a common feature in Armenia’s education system.

“Math expands onto other fields as well and transforms science completely,” adds Arman.
 
Mathematics education

Arman describes mathematics education as an area where obtaining knowledge and teaching others are constant processes.

“Mathematics is a science that never stops developing dynamically. It doesn’t even have a final definition. You always go back to the fundamental definition of mathematics,” notes Arman.

He believes that math is actually one of the best taught fields in Armenian universities.

Photo: Mediamax


“I had conversations with people who continued their math studies in the world’s leading universities after graduating in Armenia. We all agree that we have great professors of mathematics in our universities, but the level of mathematics taught in school is a problem. It keeps many people from entering a university. The methods of teaching math in school have to be modernized,” says Arman.

According to him, mathematics is actually a delicate subject and children should enjoy learning it. It’s so easy to slip and fall into the dull spectrum of established limits, he says.

“For example, our teacher used to the whole lesson into a game: we had cards with figures, games for multiplying, games with prime numbers, etc. The correct method of teaching mathematics is actually through games. As you study math at a higher level, you see that even difficult notions occur in a game-like, abstract environment,” tells Arman.

Learning with Khan Academy

Arman’s love of mathematics doesn’t end here: he is involved in the e-learning platform Khan Academy, which offers exercises and video lessons.
Arman Simonyan Arman Simonyan

Photo: Mediamax


This platform was created years ago in the U.S. by Salman Khan, who made video lessons to teach his niece mathematics. The platform grew so much over the years that it has been translated into nearly 40 languages, including Armenian. The philosophy of the project is to enable everyone study mathematics and other sciences.

In Armenia, Khan Academy was launched in July 2017 by Ayb Educational Foundation. The entire math section was translated, from the 1st grade lessons to advanced mathematics course. Chemistry, art history and other courses are also available in Armenian.

“Having access to the platform and studying in Armenian is very important, because we don’t have that many online resources and we actually had no video lessons on math in Armenian at all before. The academy’s materials teach mathematics in an entertaining way and the users progress at their own speed, filling up the gaps in their knowledge and gradually advancing. We currently have over 2000 video lessons and more than 1200 exercises and articles on mathematics and other subjects,” tells Arman.

People were unaware of the platform at first, but the heavily increased base now allows the team to expanding the coverage: they are already conducting workshops in schools in marzes and border villages.
Arman Simonyan Arman Simonyan

Photo: Mediamax


“Khan Academy’s teaching method is decentralized. You can show teachers in the marz how to use the platform and they can enhance their curriculum with the academy’s materials on their own. That is how you make high-quality education accessible in both the capital and marzes,” notes Arman.

Armenia’s offer

Arman believes that Armenia can offer culture and science to the world, and for that the country needs to develop math and related sciences.

“It won’t take that much investment. With just a small team and a computer, we can achieve results of global significance. For instance, Estonia is a small country with limited investments, but it managed to take a leading place in the world’s computational and computer sciences. Armenia has a bigger potential, in fact, if we organize the process properly and take it in the right direction. Data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence – they are all part of mathematics and computation. I think we have big potential in this field and we are working to fulfill it,” concludes Arman.
 
 FAST Foundation is the general partner of the project 

Marie Taryan
Photos by Emin Aristakesyan




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