MathEd Forum

January 23, 2018


Theme: Research Day
31, 2015 at 10 am-2 pm
Fields Institute, 222 College Street, Toronto

10:00-10:10AM Reports: OAME, OMCA, OCMA, CMESG, CMS, and other.

10:10-11:10AM Ann Kajander (Lakehead University, recipient of the Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award for Innovation and Excellence in Promoting Mathematics Education):
Tears, trials, and transformations: The requirement of deep teacher knowledge development in mathematics education.

Abstract: Appropriate mathematical knowledge as needed for elementary classroom teaching has been an important research topic during the last decade. Data from the most recent two years of a longitudinal database related to prospective teacher mathematical understanding will be presented. Support for recommendations for program changes in teacher education programs will be provided via quantitative and qualitative data, including the participants' own voices.

Bio: Ann Kajander, winner of the 2014 Margaret Sinclair Award, is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University. Her research is aimed at supporting the development of mathematical content knowledge as needed for teaching at the elementary level, and recently she co-authored a mathematics textbook for elementary teachers based on this work. Ann will be introduced by Walter Whiteley (The Chair of the Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award Committee).

11:10 - 11:50 Joyce Mgombelo (Brock University):
Rethinking the use and availability of resources in mathematics teaching and learning

Abstract: It is very clear among mathematics educators that resources are part and parcel of mathematics teaching and learning processes. Not surprising, the issue of resources is more prominent in any mathematics education reform or innovation. Yet, despite of the importance of resources in mathematics teaching and learning, the issue of availability and use of the resources is far from being clear. For example studies have shown that more resources or less resource does not necessarily mean better or worse mathematics teaching practice. In this presentation, I will discuss the issue of resources in mathematics teaching and learning. I will do so in the context of international projects that aimed at researching possibilities and developing capacity for mathematics teaching and learning in rural and remote areas in a developing country.

Bio: Joyce Mgombelo is an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education at Brock University. Her research program focuses on: mathematics cognition; identity; and ethics- based on principles of human cognition. This work is developed from the theoretical perspectives of enactivism, complexity science and psychoanalysis. Mgombelo's most recent work includes the SSHRC funded research project, "Partnership Development to Research Possibilities for Primary Mathematics Teacher Development in Rural and Remote areas" and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) development project, "Capacity Development for mathematics teaching in rural and remote communities in Tanzania" with Simmt and Glanfield (University of Alberta).

11:50-12:00PM 1st short oral: Yasmine Abtahi (University of Ottawa):
"A quarter wouldn't be that": Mathematical tools and the emergence of ZPD.

Abstract: Although mathematical tools have an important role in the learning of fractions, the extent to which they are useful (or not) depends on how the child interacts with them. In my study, I focused on the physical properties the mathematical tools like, for example, the ways in which beads and rods are organized in an abacus. More specifically, I looked to see if the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) emerged as children interacted with the mathematical used. To investigate, I performed a meta-analysis of 52 activities drawn from the literature, as children used mathematical tools to solve fraction-related tasks. My preliminary analysis shows that in the interaction of children with the tools, children used the guidance provided by the tools to solve the fraction tasks. This finding suggested the possibility of the emergence of the ZPD in children's interaction with the tools.

Short Bio: I am a PhD student at University of Ottawa. I am interested in "things kids think with"; that is mathematical tools that kids interact with to learn mathematics. My research looks at tools, both ones that are designed in a way that carry mathematical meanings, such as an abacus, and ones that are not necessary designed that way, such an apple or a piece of paper. To analyse children's interactions with these tools, I look at both children's perception and the physical properties of the tools.

12:00 -1:00PM LUNCH BREAK (Light refreshments provided)

1:00-1:10 PM 2rd short oral: Chester Weatherby, Douglas Woolford, & Donna Kotsopoulos (Wilfrid Laurier University): Streaming protocols for university level mathematics: The effects of placement tests on first-year calculus achievement.

Abstract: There is a growing concern that post-secondary students are under prepared to meet the demands of post-secondary mathematics. Recent Statistics Canada data reports that 32% of university students are underprepared for university mathematics (Statistics Canada, 2014). Similarly, data emerging from the Ontario College Student Achievement Project reports that 31.5% of students are at risk during their first year of studies (College Student Achievement Project, 2014).
In an attempt to align students' mathematical abilities with an appropriate first-year course (Calculus), many universities use a placement test streaming protocol. In this talk, we will discuss placement tests and their effectiveness and also present some results from the most recent cohort of first-year Calculus students at Wilfrid Laurier University. In particular, we will present some preliminary exploratory analyses which reveal that the score on our own placement test does not appear to be a strong predictor of a student's success in first-year Calculus. We will also discuss how these results fit in with an ongoing longitudinal study examining the factors that contribute to success in first-year mathematics.

Bio: Chester Weatherby is an Assistant Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University where he began in 2013. He obtained his PhD in 2009 in Number Theory from Queen's University, and held postdoc positions at the University of Delaware (2009 - 11) and Queen's (2011 - 2013). After teaching a large number of Calculus classes, he became interested in exploring what contributes to student success. Joining the department at Wilfrid Laurier has provided a great opportunity to explore this issue further as a new direction in his research. Chester will present the project that is joint work with Donna Kotsopoulos (Wilfrid Laurier University) and Doug Woolford (Wilfrid Laurier University).

1:10-1:20 PM Questions and Discussion of short orals

1:20-2:00 PM Richard Barwell (University of Ottawa).
Researching language in mathematics education

Abstract: Since the mid-twentieth century, the linguistic turn in the social sciences has led to an increasing interest in and focus on the role of language in organising and producing social life. This linguistic turn is apparent in research in mathematics education, with a growing interest in language and discourse from the 1980s onwards. In this presentation, I look at how a focus on language and discourse contributes to understanding various different aspects of mathematics education, including mathematics classroom interaction, mathematics classroom texts, public mathematical discourse and the research process itself. Drawing on examples from various research projects, I highlight different ways in which language is a crucial dimension of the social organisation of mathematics in different contexts.

Bio: Richard Barwell is Professor of Mathematics Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa and current editor of For the Learning of Mathematics. His research interests include linguistic and discursive issues in mathematics education, teaching and learning mathematics in bilingual or multilingual contexts, and environmental sustainability and mathematics education. His work has been published in journals of mathematics education, applied linguistics, and general education.


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