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A dynamic program has been developed designed to explore the theme of Teachers Creating Impact. MAV is pleased to profile a few of the Keynote presentations.
Professor Tom Lowrie
STEM-FOCUSED ENGAGEMENT AND IMPACT: CAPACITY BUILDING THROUGH NATION-WIDE AND LOCALISED LEARNING PROGRAMS. (Keynote F3)
The presentation outlines two professional learning programs that describe teacher impact across national and local programs. The first program, the Early Learning STEM Australia Pilot is a play-based learning program that includes a series of apps to explore STEM learning. The second program is a spatial reasoning intervention program implemented in primary- and secondary-school classrooms. Both programs included the professional development of teachers however the approaches required differed, with two models of teacher engagement developed. The first model, a national model, for teacher engagement reflected the needs of a large group of teachers across geographically and contextually different areas of Australia. This approach for approximately 300 teachers across 100 preschool sites included delivery of resources, communications and a Community of Practice online as well as limited face-to-face professional development. The second model, a localized model, was able to include more input from classroom teachers in order to develop an intervention program that abreast of local contexts and needs. This model relied more heavily on face-to-face engagement and the reinforcement of established local learning communities. Teachers will continue to develop understandings on: Teacher impact in STEM-focused learning • Building teacher capacity through learning programs • Different models of professional learning • Research and professional learning for improving practice.
Tom Lowrie is a Centenary Professor, the Director of the STEM Education Research Centre (SERC) at the University of Canberra, and the current President of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA).
WHAT GOES AROUND DOESN’T ALWAYS HAVE TO COME AROUND… (Keynote- A3)
Whatever year you choose, you can usually find a country that is rethinking the maths curriculum. It may be as part of the regular planned reform which take place every so many years, like Japan. It may be because there is a dissatisfaction with international league table positions, or maybe because the political situation has changed, heralding a different educational philosophy or pedagogy. Designers borrow from countries they see as successful and to a large extent what goes around comes around. At Cambridge we are trying something different. We are designing a tool which will allow policy makers, designers of curriculum, resources, assessment and PD to benefit from the maths education research that has been done over the past years, to embed the affordances of technology to expose students to ways of working that weren’t hitherto possible, and to explore making that content relevant to the 21st Century. Come and see what we’re up to!
Lynne is the Director of Cambridge Mathematics, a University-wide programme bringing together the expertise of the University’s Mathematics and Education Faculties, Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press to develop a research-based tool to design connected curricula, classroom tasks, assessments and professional development.
LIFETIME IMPACT: PLAYFULNESS AND CURIOSITY – (Keynote F5)
My observations of early childhood teachers is that they quite naturally foster a strong culture of playfulness and curiosity in their classrooms. Parents expect it - students revel in it - Teachers deliver it! As a community of teachers, we have to actively work to continue this classroom ethos on into the later years of students’ learning. Many barriers exist! With the relentless demands on classroom teachers, we have to work quite hard to ‘make space’ for ourselves and our students to engage with mathematical ideas that interest us, in a playful and curious way. Despite playfulness and curiosity being the essence of what mathematicians bring to a problem, I contend that ‘school and system demands’ pose many barriers to teachers and students behaving in a similar way. Using some interesting problems as a vehicle, this keynote will share some practical classroom and whole-school approaches that can be used to develop a sense of community between ourselves and amongst our students. In time, strategies relevant to your setting will nudge the disposition of your students towards their mathematics learning. As teachers, we hope to have an impact on their learning, drawing on the thinking and approaches that is in the DNA of mathematicians. Bring your playfulness and curiosity to bear on a problem or two. And before I forget, please bring your ‘iThing’ to participate in the ‘workflow’, to have an impact in your classroom.
Matt Skoss is an experienced classroom teacher, having taught for over 30 years at Alice Springs High School, Centralian Senior College and Centralian Middle School. He has enjoyed several curriculum roles with a Maths and ICT focus for NT Department of Education.
Professor Nicola Yelland
MAKING EARLY MATHEMATICAL EXPLORATIONS COUNT – (Keynote A6)
Young children are naturally curious and want to explore their world in order to make meaning about the experiences, objects and ideas that they encounter. Mathematics and the concepts inherent to it, can provide them with the language and skills to support explorations, document their discoveries, and to communicate and share their findings to an audience. Knowing, and using these skills enables numeracy, and literacy, which then act as the foundation for problem posing, problem solving contexts, and all future investigations, that contribute to satisfying a curious mind. What ‘counts’ as mathematical knowledge is outlined in the Australian National Curriculum, and in the preschool years the Early Years Learning Framework sets the scene for how young children might embark on such investigations as confident, competent learners. In this presentation Nicola will highlight some of the ways that early childhood teachers (birth to 8 years of age) can create contexts for learning the mathematical skills and knowledge that we hope will be useful in their lives. She will illustrate the main ideas with examples from research projects in which empirical data from Australian early childhood centres and classrooms and contend that early explorations in authentic contexts are fundamental to understanding mathematical ideas and using them to become fluent and numerate.
Nicola is the Professor of Early Childhood Studies in the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia.
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