International mathematics education seminar series co-launched by Brock prof shines online

Brock Univeristy Professor of Mathematics Chantal Buteau, alongside Professor and Chair of Curriculum Studies and Studies in Applied Linguistics George Gadanidis at Western University, are co-hosting a successful online seminar series on programming in mathematics education.

“We decided to launch the online seminar series this summer as a response to the cancellation or postponement of many scholarly events, such as the International Congress in Mathematics Education (ICME) 2020 in Shanghai, China, as a result of the pandemic,” says Buteau. “We decided to fight the confinement by instead meeting and sharing ideas online.”

The series is supported in part by funding from the Mathematics Knowledge Network and through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSRCH), drawing from Buteau and Professor of Mathematics Education Joyce Mgombelo’s research grant (2017-22) on students’ learning to use programming for authentic pure and applied mathematics investigations.

Faculty of Mathematics and Science Dean Ejaz Ahmed applauds Buteau’s initiative.

“We must continue to find new and exciting ways to educate online,” says Ahmed. “Our ability to reach and teach across the world is more important now than ever before.”

The series comes at an opportune time as the government has updated the Ontario math curriculum to include coding. The series also naturally finds a home at Brock with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics’ leadership in integrating coding for pure and applied math investigations through its unique MICA I-II-III courses since 2001.

The aim of the online seminar series is to provide a platform to discuss recent research on the integration and use of programming, or computational thinking (CT), more broadly in mathematics programs.

Research addressing related student learning, the nature of exemplary tasks, pedagogical models, instructional materials, and resources and assessment practices are some of the topics slated for discussion.

“We are delighted with the group of experts who accepted our invitation to the seminar series,” says Buteau. “They have already engaged us with insights into programming in mathematics education. Our first event brought Professor’s of Mathematics Education Dame Celia Hoyles and Richard Noss from University College London in the United Kingdom. They are both internationally acknowledged leaders in the field.”

As of publication, the seminar has 215 registrations from 27 countries.

All seminars are recorded, posted and accessible for free on the Mathematics Knowledge Network website.

The Mathematics Knowledge Network brings together diverse mathematics education stakeholders from across Ontario to mobilize evidence from research and professional practice in mathematics education, facilitate the use of evidence-based practices for mathematics instruction to support improved educational achievement, and contribute to the Ministry of Education’s Mathematics goals and priorities in partnership with educators, researchers and organizations across Ontario.

Buteau thanks Brock MEd student Sarah Gannon and Mathematics Knowledge Network Co-ordinator Arielle Figov for their great support with the co-ordination of this event.

The event is hosted by the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences with the next seminar happening Friday, July 17 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m EST. The event will feature Assistant Professor of Education Michelle Wilkerson and PhD candidate Edward Rivero from the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States on the topic of Computing with Data as a Window to the World.

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