This Cisconian is Making Math Fun!
On May 5, 2005 I joined the fast-growing Cisco family in Bangalore. 5/5/5 – a mathematically pleasing number, indeed. That’s right, I’m a “numbers person” and a passion of mine is teaching math as a way to give back to society, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
I am sure the second you saw the word “math” you had one of two reactions – but, please bear with me because I know that math is fun, visual and playful. Typically, we begin to fear or dislike math in our early years. It is very important for math to be taught and learnt in a visual, playful and joyous way at the primary level for it to remain this way into adulthood – and this became my mission.
I took my passion and infused it with Cisco’s religion – giving back – and decided I would work to change this perception of math.
On New Year’s Eve, December 31st 2015, I made a resolution like everyone does. I wanted to share my joyful experience with math, and so I promised myself that I would write a book. It was already all around the house – on sheets of different sized paper, scribbled, jotted and sketched. I decided to make it a book of joy – a book of math.
Still, I knew that writing a book was a daunting task. At Cisco Engineering, we adopt the Agile Methodology to achieve customer success by executing the most daunting of the tasks first. So, I decided to go with the “Agile” way for creating my book as well. In my resolution that year, I said I would write just one page a day starting from the New Year.
Well, this was one of the resolution that worked really well for me. And behold, after 5 months, I had a manuscript in my hand ready for publishing!
I knew this was the beginning of an exciting chapter in my life. At Cisco, I have enjoyed, and still enjoy, the perfect ecosystem that balances my professional work with my personal passion. This effort was no different, and the impact has been mutual.
I work on the wide gamut of Cisco Collaboration products. So, while my mathematical thinking skills helped me handle the exciting technical challenges at work, my collaboration skills that had been nurtured at my work place helped me greatly while interacting with organizations, volunteers, teachers, students and parents in uplifting mathematics.
My first book “Mathematical Approach to Puzzle Solving” was published in August 2016. It was around this time, that I came across Exploding Dots – a revolutionary concept that changes the way we learn and teach mathematics. The idea and vision exactly matched the one I had when I created my first book – Make Math Fun!
I made an instant connect with James Tanton, the creator of Exploding Dots and one of the founders of the Global Math Project (hosted by the American Institute of Mathematics – a nonprofit organization).
I donned the role of Global Math Project India Ambassador and took it upon myself to spread this joyful math of Exploding Dots to a larger audience. My weekends became occupied with sessions at libraries, cafes and education centers. The joy it brought to the students, parents and teachers was magical.
At around the same time, our entire team at Cisco visited a government school as part of a giving back opportunity. After an interesting interaction with the students during lunch, I decided to share the experience and magic of Exploding Dots with the students – I just couldn’t resist – and they loved it!
With this new-found passion for Exploding Dots, new ideas started bubbling up on how Exploding Dots could be used as a visualization tool in many different areas – from basic to advanced mathematics. Yes, it was magical to see all the dots getting connected!
I also started to get asked quite frequently, “Is there a book on Exploding Dots”? There was not, but in my next conversation with James – the foundation for the book was laid. In all our sessions on Exploding Dots, we had seen participants spellbound by its magic while experiencing joyful math. This next book was aptly named “The Magic and Joy of Exploding Dots”.
The book was released during Global Math Week in October 2018. We truly saw it as a gift from us to all the students as we wanted them to experience the uplifting joy of math anew.
This is just the beginning. Our sessions, videos and book on Exploding Dots continue to reach wider audiences and have already touched 5+ million students all over the world. More initiatives and ideas are constantly popping up – and we’re excited to expand upon them.
With strong support from Cisco, we now look forward to inspiring billions of people all over the world, transcending borders, and elevating mathematics as a fundamentally joyful human activity.
Will you join us, and be a part of the joyful math revolution?
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