Dr. Alan H. Schoenfeld

Professor of Cognition and Development

Elizabeth and Edward Conner Chair in Education

University of California at Berkeley 

The Challenges of Observation

Suppose you think certain classroom actions lead to improved student understanding. How would you go about examining that hypothesis? Well, you'd build (or, preferably, steal) a measure that captures the frequency of the things you think support learning; you'd build (or, preferably, steal) a measure that captures the depth of student understanding; you'd sample lots of classrooms, and see if the correlation between "lots of good classroom things" and "doing well mathematically" holds.

Simple, right? Not in practice. Despite the fact that I have some pretty good ideas about teachers' decision making and how to model it, what counts in classroom activities, and student assessment, the closer we looked the more complicated things got. The purpose of this talk is to unravel the complexities and show just why such "simple" ideas are a real challenge.

Dr. Chris Rasmussen

Professor of Mathematics Education

San Diego State University & Center for Mathematics and Science Education 

An Expanded Framing for Characterizing Mathematical Progression

Learning Progressions (LPs) in mathematics and science education specify levels of sophistication marked by conceptual waypoints. While LPs offer a tool of a certain grain size for instructional design and assessments, they neglect some of the complexities and realities of teaching and learning. In particular, LPs ignore mathematical progression in terms of mathematical practices and they only consider progression in terms of individuals. In this talk I argue that mathematical progress is more completely seen as a progression in an ecology of ideas and ways of reasoning for individuals and their classroom community. In service of this goal, I develop and illustrate an expanded version of Cobb and Yackel’s (1996) interpretive framework that coordinates sociological and psychological perspectives. This expansion focuses on the following four analytic framings for characterizing mathematical progression: collective disciplinary practices, classroom mathematical practices, individual participation, and individual, acquisition.

Dr. Lara Alcock

Lecturer in Mathematics Education

Mathematics Education Centre Loughborough University, UK 

Reading processes and proof comprehension

In this talk I will present a series of studies designed to investigate the processes associated with reading mathematical proofs. First, I will establish that the format in which a proof is presented causes differences in students’ comprehension levels. Second, I will use eye-movement data to demonstrate that experts and novices exhibit different behaviours while reading proofs. I will discuss these results in relation to the opportunities offered by multimedia learning technologies, and in relation to prior theoretical claims about proof comprehension and about expert mathematical behaviour.

Dr. Cynthia Atman

Director, Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching 

Director, Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education

Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering 

Mitchell T. and Lella Blanche Bowie Endowed Chair 

University of Washington

The engineers in your math classes: What are they thinking?

Mathematics is an essential component of engineering and as a result is a fundamental element of engineering education. Engineering students learn mathematics along with many other sets of knowledge and skills as they prepare to enter either the engineering profession or continue in graduate studies. The Academic Pathways Study (APS), part of the NSF-funded Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education, conducted in-depth research on the engineering education experience from the engineering student’s perspective. Qualitative and quantitative data were gathered from multiple cohorts of undergraduate engineering students using a multi-method approach including surveys, structured and semi-structured interviews, and written design tasks. In addition, APS researchers used data from the National Survey of Student Engagement to compare with APS results and gain further insight into the engineering learning experience. This talk will present a sampling of findings from different components of the research, focusing on mathematics and design in undergraduate engineering education.


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