A key issue facing the UK is how to inspire the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians on which our future well-being and economy depends. A new report, published yesterday [8 Nov], examines how smart phones and other portable digital technologies could be used in the classroom to make learning more stimulating and engaging.
The report, published by the Joint Mathematical Council (JMC), set out to consider the role which digital technologies might and should have in mathematics education, now and in the future, following widespread concern about the UKs ability to meet the increasingly technological skills needs of major sectors of the economy.
The reports working group, led by Rosamund Sutherland, Professor of Education at the University of Bristol, has provided a number of recommendations aimed at policy makers and school leaders. These include:
-- School and college mathematics should acknowledge the significant use of digital technologies for expressive and analytic purposes both in mathematical practice outside the school and college and in the everyday lives of young people;
-- Curriculum and assessment in school mathematics should explicitly require that all young people become proficient in using digital technologies for mathematical purposes;
-- As the development of a technologically enriched student learning experience occurs at the level of the classroom, such change has to be supported by school leaders and accompanied by sustained professional development opportunities for teachers.
Professor Sutherland from the Universitys Graduate School of Education, said: There is a need to build on and improve the UKs capacity for technological innovation and creativity. Education at all levels has its part to play in engaging the interests and enthusiasm of young people so that they pursue education, training and career paths which contribute to the nations needs while themselves achieving satisfaction and reward.
Unless we can develop mathematics education in a more stimulating way, which takes into account the modern world and students interests we are in danger of turning mathematics into and increasingly dead language and alienating groups of students whose mathematical potential will remain undeveloped.
The report, entitled Digital technologies and mathematics education, from a working group of the Joint Mathematical Council (JMC), chaired by Professor Rosamund Sutherland at the University of Bristol and edited by Dr. Alison Clark-Wilson and Professor Adrian Oldknow from the University of Chichester and Professor Rosamund Sutherland.
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