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Beyond the Blue Podcast: Jonathan Brendefur Discusses the Mathematical Mind

By:    Published 11:05 am / November 28, 2011

Most people believe that mathematics is numbers, symbols and notations, but there is much more. Jonathan Brendefur, a professor of mathematics education at Boise State, examines spatial reasoning and the mathematical mind in this week’s Beyond the Blue faculty podcast.

Listeners can access the website featuring a series of faculty podcasts at or go directly to Brendefur’s presentation. Visitors can listen/watch podcasts directly on the site or link to iTunesU, where they can download all podcasts and subscribe to receive automatic downloads of new content whenever they open iTunes.

In this podcast, Brendefur explains that mathematics also is about spatial reasoning — the ability to visually manipulate stimuli, to break apart and put together 2-D and 3-D shapes, to take these ideas and twist and turn them, or not to be confused when an object’s orientation changes. This ability is one of the best predictors of later success in mathematics, and can be learned through a variety of different methods and practices. It also helps people develop fluency with operations in arithmetic and strengthens measurement concepts.

The Beyond the Blue website has been developed to showcase the expertise and innovative spirit that exists in many fields at Boise State. Known for its unique blue turf and nationally ranked football program, Boise State is demonstrating creativity beyond the blue in faculty podcasts intended to introduce a variety of topics to casual listeners.

New faculty podcasts are being added on a regular basis, including:

The website contains bonus video and editorial content about the university, including its growth, research initiatives and student life. A related collection of faculty interviews also is accessible from the Reader’s Corner radio show hosted by Boise State President Bob Kustra on Boise State Public Radio.