# About

My name is Robert Talbert, and I’m the proprietor of this blog. Here are a few things you might like to know about me. (You can also check out my Google profile.)

I have a Ph.D. in mathematics from Vanderbilt University. My dissertation was on generalized homology theory with a strong flavoring of category theory. I haven’t done much work in that area since, well, the year after I finished. In more recent times my technical scholarly interests have revolved around cryptology, number theory, and finite fields/coding theory. I’m also very interested in the scholarship of teaching, particularly at the undergraduate level with respect to anything involving problem-solving and the use of technology.

I am a tenured associate professor of mathematics and computer science at Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana. It’s my second “real” job since graduate school, with my first being at another small (Christian) liberal arts college in the Midwest. But I’ve been teaching ever since I was in high school. My first teaching gig was tutoring Latin to a classmate of mine who had to miss six weeks of school due to illness. In college I was a tutor for students taking Psychological Statistics. In grad school, I taught various calculus courses at Vanderbilt, was adjunct faculty at Nashville State Technical Institute, and tutored through a private Sylvan-like learning center.

Teaching undergraduates is my life’s calling, and that’s what this blog ultimately is all about. When I was in college, I really needed a professor in my field(s) of interest to come alongside me, help shape my mind to make me a strong thinker, and help me navigate my way through those crucial years. Fortunately, I found a couple of those professors. And my vocational goal is to be that kind of professor to the students I have now.

I’m married (since 2000) and have three kids (Lucy, 6; Penelope, 4; Harrison, 1). I am also a professing Christian of the Lutheran (Missouri Synod) persuasion.

I maintain a professional page here that serves as a portal to all professional and online activities I do.

If you’re wondering what “casting out nines” is, click here.

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Dr. Talbert, I am adding you to my blogroll.

Kind regards,

Hi, Robert. I noted your comments about Saxon Math curricula on the Veith blog. I’d be interested in hearing what math curricula your _successful_ math students used in middle school / high school.

As the headmaster of a couple K-8 schools in the past 12 years, I’ve found that Saxon works very well in the early elementary grades, mastering math facts. But by the upper middle school level, I find that I have to supplement the materials with more of a conceptual approach to mathematics. I’d like to find something better which I don’t have to piecemeal.

So, I don’t find Saxon Math “horrible” at the younger ages, but I think it could become so by the middle-school/high school materials. I’d appreciate your suggestions.

If I hadn’t gone into the ministry, I’d likely have done a PhD in mathematics, likely in number theory. So I’m going to link to your blog and live vicariously through it. š

I enjoy your blog – keep up the good work!

Best,

Hi Robert

Firstly – Thanks.

I am starting a Maths Education Masters dissertation on Visualisation and Mechanics at the UK’s post 16 level and your site has given me some new ideas and helped me to start to plan my work (I hope).

Thanks again

Brian Elloway

Neat! I was searching on voice recorders and came upon this blog. I would rather be studying math and philosophy but must pursue an engineering career for now. But my interests in these areas include hyperreals (infinitesimals), kalam arguments and infinity, and metamathematics and logic. For example, what kind of substance is a circle or number? Is math discovered or invented? (Both silly!) Must mathematical ideas have touchpoints with physical reality in order to be legitimate, and so on. So anyway, let’s rumble…

I was searching for “Casting out Nines” to tell people who had never heard of this method. It was taught me by a 6th grade SUBSTITUTE teacher and proved of lasting value, providing me with a speedy way to check my answers to math problems. I have a Ph.D. in English and am math disadvantaged! This method was a god-send and should be taught in all elementary schools!