University Outreach The impact of computers and the internet on globalising mathematics education

Toni Beardon

University of Cambridge

mmp.maths.org

Content of talk

Introduction

Outreach from universities to promote mathematics around the world

Advances in ICT - consequent changes in society and work

Need for different skills and effects on education

The Digital Divide

Some statistics about access to education worldwide

How can we use ICT to narrow the gap in educational opportunities?

Examples of collaborative learning and web-based technologies

Experiments in using ICT for academic collaboration at all levels

PAL - Peer Assisted Learning

Interactive web-publishing

Videoconferencing

Multilingual thesaurus

Problem posing and problem solving as a shared activity

Two inter-related programmes AIMS and AIMSSEC

Both projects based in Muizenberg, serving Africa

Partnership between Universities:

The Western Cape, Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Cambridge, Oxford, Paris-Sud-XI

AIMS – residential institute, one year masters level mathematics course

50 students – started September 2003 - students from across Africa.

Teaching philosophy: enquiry based learning, discussion and problem solving in a collegiate atmosphere …

AMINET – similar institutes being set up in Uganda, Ghana and other African countries.

AIMSSEC - interactive school mathematics programme

Strong local management and roots (but drawing on MMP/NRICH)

Professional development courses for teachers

Motivate videoconference masterclasses linking schools around the world

askAIMS - African online mathematical forum

Learning resources distributed on CDs with links to SA school curriculum

Distance learning and online community

AIMSSEC Now and Future

Legacy of Apartheid in SA Education

“My department's policy is that Bantu education should stand with both feet in the reserves and have its roots in the spirit and being of Bantu society... There is no place for [the Bantu] in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour... What is the use of teaching the Bantu child mathematics when it cannot use it in practice? That is quite absurd. Education must train in accordance with their opportunities in life, according to the sphere in which they live.”

Verwoerd 1953

Shortage of teachers with mathematics and science qualifications a serious problem in UK and USA as well as in developing world

“The shortage of competent teachers results in less qualified and inadequately prepared teachers assuming teaching roles. The negative consequence hereof manifests as a vicious cycle of low quality teaching, poor learner performance, and a constant undersupply of quality teachers”The South African Government National Strategy for Mathematics Science and Technology 2005-2009

The backlogs from so many years of apartheid education

Percentage of population over 20 years old with high school or higher qualification: 65% of whites, 40% of Indians, 17% of the coloured population and 14% of blacks

Teachers in rural & township schools are poorly trained

South African learners achieve poor results in international comparisons behind other African countries. In The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS 2003), SA learners scored 264 points for mathematics and 244 for science compared to international averages of 467 and 474.

Advances in

Information Communication Technology

Global school and university campus

No age, gender, social or racial barriers

How can we best use new technology to

promote public understanding of mathematics

improve the quality of mathematics education

at school level – to raise standards of university intake

at undergraduate level for full and part time students

at research level for academic collaboration

Speed of penetration of ICT and expectations of change

In the developed world has ‘education’ failed to deliver?

What is expected?

What improvements in academic performance should arise from access to ICT?

Technology has changed the role of people in the workplace and in society.

We have easy and free access to information sources.

e.g. http://www.quickmath.com/ http://mathworld.wolfram.com/

http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/

Independent learning skills and skills in finding, analysing, understanding and communicating knowledge score over more traditional ways of learning and over learning by rote.

How do we judge success in education?

Are the assessment standards of the last century appropriate today?

Statistics on access to the internet

and access to education worldwide

Internet Usage – The Big Picture http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm Updated June 2007

The Digital Divide Internet penetration- percentage of population

Sweden 75.6% (highest in Europe)

USA 69.7%

Hong Kong 68.2% (highest in Asia)

UK 62.3%

China 12.3%

South Africa 10.3%

India 3.7%

Sierra Leone 0.2% (lowest in Africa)

Access to Higher Education

Average for 30 OECD countries

is 47% of 18-30 age group

New Zealand 76%

Finland 71%

UK 45%

USA 43%

E-learning and distance learning extend access and opportunities

Changes in student demography in developed world

increase in proportion of age cohort in higher education

student fees, student debt

majority of students in employment while studying

Can educators use ICT to close the gaps in educational opportunities?

…. not a level playing field

The internet is a cheap way to distribute learning resources and provide adult education

Government and local education authority networks distribute learning resources and enable sharing of ideas – including downloads and caches.

Across Digital Divide, CD’s are a cheap substitute for internet

Satellite links spread connectivity to rural areas

Simputer http://www.simputer.org/ and solarpc http://solarpc.com/

Free Software - http://www.opensource.org/

The Digital Divide Network – http://www.digitaldivide.net/

Some examples of collaborative learning and web-based technologies

Peer Assisted Learning

askAIMS

Ask-a-Mathematician service

from the African Institute for

Mathematical Sciences in

Muizenberg South Africa 2003

http://www.aims.ac.za/askaims

Carl’s Question to askNRICH

Carl. 12.27pm 3 June:

Hi, With less than 4 days to go before my A level maths exams, I really should be able to do this, and so I'm quite annoyed at myself. Please could someone help?

Find, in terms of π, the complete set of values of θ in the interval: 0 ≤ θ ≤ 2 π for which the roots of equation (1) are real:

x2 +2x sin θ +3cos2 θ = 0 (1)

Now show that the roots of the equation:

x2 + (5cos2θ +1)x + 9cos4 θ = 0 (2)

are the squares of the roots of equation (1)

See askedNRICH

The response from askNRICH

James. 2.00 pm 3 June Gives first response, advising on how to proceed

Carl 12.16 am 4 June Hi James, I'm going to try it myself now, I'll post a message to let you know how I got on. I think I'll be able to solve it now.

9 more messages with discussion of the concepts and method

Carl 12.18 pm 5 June That makes it very clear, thanks very much. It must have taken you a while. If you're doing uni exams, good luck to you too!

…. See Onward & Upward on askNRICH

Please Explain

By Woon Khang Tang, age 17, to askNRICH

Thank you!!! Even though I don't really understand at first glance, but I'll print it out and read it again until I understand. I'm sure I'll understand, and a million thanks for your detail explanation.

I'm really desperate after I've gone through dozens of books and my teacher didn't explain why.

I was really surprised when I asked my friends and they told me just memorize the formula. As long as you know how to apply the formula, it's ok. I really hate to memorize formulas without understanding and proving them. Without understanding the formula, when I apply the formula, it's like you can find the right answer easily, but you don't know what the heck are you doing, and that's really really stupid!!!

http://thesaurus.maths.org

The Motivate Project motivate.maths.org

provides maths and science videoconference lessons linking schools in UK, India, Pakistan, Singapore South Africa

school teachers learn along with their students

enriches the mathematical/scientific experience of school students of all ages

VCs led by Dr Lisa Jardine-Wright, from the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge and the Greenwich Observatory

A short clip:

Global-campus e-learning for school students

“NRICH has helped spread the idea that maths can be something the world can do together. It has increased awareness that there is maths going on everywhere. We have fun doing these problems.”

(Secondary teacher, NRICH Evaluation 1997/98)

Problem Solving A Gateway to Research

Moving forward from teaching and learning

about mathematics

to include more teaching and learning

how to do mathematics

how to communicate mathematics

We’ll look at a selection of problems from the NRICH website and think about how they might be useful in developing mathematical understanding and skills.

Differs Investigating Spotting patterns Making and proving conjectures

Why 24? Proving

Keep You Distance Working systematically

Basket Case Using trial and improvement

Vecten Making and proving conjectures

Thank you

AIMSSEC needs funds to continue its work in South Africa and every little helps:

£2.50 pays for a learner in SA to take part in a video-conference masterclass linking SA & UK schools. This pays for the bus to take the learners to the Science Centre in Cape Town and for all the expenses connected with the video-link. Usually 120 South African children take part in each video-conference.

£10 pays for a resource pack of learning materials for teaching mathematics.

£300 pays all expenses for a teacher for a 10 day residential professional development course followed by 3 months distance learning. This includes travel, tuition, accommodation, food, stationery and a package of teaching and learning materials to take back to school.

£15,000 is the total cost of a 10-day residential course for 50 teachers followed by 3 months distance learning.

The AIMSSEC account is administered by the University of Stellenbosch.

For details of how to make a donation through the Stellenbosch Foundation Charitable Trust see: http://www0.sun.ac.za/stigting/make_a_donation_give.html

Please send a covering letter saying that the donation is to AIMSSEC and what you would like the money to be used for. Cheques should be made payable to: Stellenbosch Foundation -AIMSSEC Cost Centre R268