As phones, laptops and radio stations united, the voice of Shane Goodwin, mathematics faculty member, ignited speaker systems across Rexburg and throughout the world.
With his opening lines, he expressed the appreciation he has for the joy and pressure that comes with learning.
“My intent is to share some simple examples of joy that may come through finding connections and making deep dives,” Goodwin said. “Spoiler alert: there will be some mathematics, but it should be relatively pain-free and may even bring you a small measure of joy.”
As multiple graphics appeared across the screen, each graphic came with a lesson to be learned from it.
A list appeared on the screen that showed the different resources that help us learn or want to learn such as, calendar deadlines, grades, financial aid, scholarships, graduation requirements and employment opportunities.
Goodwin explained these motivation factors help us to keep steady on our educational careers even during the times when the 14-week semester feels like a full-distance sprinting marathon.
“I believe we can find joy in our learning, both in spite of and because of these accompanying pressures, as we make steady progress one semester, one class, even one assignment at a time,” said Goodwin.
The intrinsic motivators for us involve finding connections between other branches of our field of study and finding the beauty and pattern in what we are studying. He followed this lesson up by connecting the geometrical series of infinite sums with discovering the why.
“Now, mathematicians like to say that it isn’t always about finding x, but sometimes it’s about discovering why,” Goodwin said.
When Goodwin’s son was born, his mother gave him a baby gift, which included a colored pencil sketch of the tesselation of birds and elephants that she created in an art class.
While she was explaining what it was, she became happy and surprised when Goodwin already knew what it was: geometric tilings of figures in a plane that neither overlap nor create any gaps.
“We experienced a little bit of joy when we found something in common to discuss and saw how beauty and pattern can blend the disciplines of mathematics and art together,” said Goodwin.
Goodwin ended his talk explaining that the glory of God is intelligence and we can find joy in learning through the internal and external motivators. The full address can be found on the BYU-Idaho devotional website.