Rethinking maths for the 21st century

From Research News on the University of  Cambridge website:

An exciting new Maths Education Programme is being launched by the University of Cambridge which aims to provide innovative, rich and stimulating materials to help support and inspire teachers and students of advanced post-16 mathematics.

The Project will receive £2.8 million from the Department for Education over the initial three years of the five year project, with a review after three years.

It will be led by Professor Martin Hyland, head of the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics, and Lynne McClure, director of NRICH, part of

the University’s Millennium Mathematics Project.

The programme will seek to reconsider and rethink how changes in our understanding of maths impact on the mathematics which is studied at school level. The past few decades have seen advances in our understanding of core mathematics, major developments in areas such as probability and the emergence of new disciplines, including mathematical biology.

It will provide rich resources for advanced post-16 mathematics which will augment and support current teaching, be published online and be freely accessible to all. The emphasis will be on simple underlying mathematical ideas, helping students to explore connections between different areas of mathematics, and supporting the development of key mathematical skills and clarity of thought. The impetus for the programme comes from a belief in the importance of dialogue between schools, higher education and research.

Building on the University of Cambridge’s long history of working with schools, for instance through the Millennium Mathematics Project, researchers will consult widely with teachers during the development of the programme. While individual students will also be able to work through the resources independently, the project will provide extensive teacher support material to encourage classroom use. In addition, the programme will include professional development summer schools for teachers. The University of Cambridge programme will also work closely with other organisations supporting advanced post-16 mathematics.

It is anticipated that pilot versions of material will begin to be published next summer, with development continuing over the following two years.

Professor Hyland says: “We are very grateful for this opportunity to share thinking about the major themes in mathematics with teachers. One of the key aims of the project is to provide material to support inspirational and committed teachers in exploring the subject beyond curriculum boundaries, leading to a richer educational experience for all.”

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