Vacancies for two Associate Professors/Senior Lecturers in Mathematics Education at Stockholm UniversityPaul Andrews, Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Mathematics and Science Education, would be happy to field any informal enquiries.

# Author Archives: Alexandre Borovik

# Job opportunity at the Cambridge Mathematics Education Project

From Julian Gilbey:

We are currently looking for somebody to join our team at the Cambridge Mathematics Education Project. The appointee will be working with us to develop Educational Resources for our website which is aimed at 16+ mathematics.

More information about the project is available from

http://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/cmep Details of the job are available here:

http://www.jobs.cam.ac.uk/job/5301/

# The beginning of the end?

Is this beginning of the end of the traditional model of mathematics education?

This advert for PhotoMath gone viral: and enjoys an enthusiastic welcome.

Mathematical capabilities of PhotoMath, judging by the product website, are still relatively modest. However, if the scanning and OCR modules (“OCR” here refers to “Optical Character Recognition”, not to the well–known examination board). of PhotoMath are combined with the full version of Yuri Matiasevich‘s “Universal Math Solver“, it will solve at once any mathematical equation or inequality, or evaluate any integral, or check convergence of any series appearing in the British school and undergraduate mathematics. Moreover, it will produce, at a level of detail that can be chosen by a user, a complete write-up of a solution, with all its cases, sub-cases, and necessary explanations (with slight Russian accent, but that can be easily fixed).

In short, smart phones can do exams better, and the system of mathematics education based on standard written examinations is dead. Perhaps, we have to wait a few years for a formal coroner’s report, but we cannot pretend that nothing has happened.

In my opinion, a system of mathematics education which focuses on **deep understanding** of mathematics and treats mathematics as a discipline and art of those aspects of formal reasoning **which cannot be entrusted to a compute**r is feasible. But such alternative system cannot be set-up and developed quickly, it is expensive and raises a number of uncomfortable political issues. I can give an example of a relatively benign issue: in the new system, it is desirable to have oral examinations in place of written ones. But can you imagine all the complications that would follow?

PhotoMath gives a plenty of food for thought.

# Two & Two

An embedded link to YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHAuGA7gqFU :

# An Open Letter: To Andreas Schleicher, OECD, Paris

## An Open Letter: To Andreas Schleicher, OECD, Paris

*Heinz-Dieter Meyer and Katie Zahedi, and signatories – 5th May 2014*

Dear Dr. Schleicher,

We write to you in your capacity as OECD’s director of the

Programme of International Student Assessment(PISA). […]

Read **the rest of the letter** in the **Global Policy** journal.

To signt the open letter please go to **http://oecdpisaletter.org/.**

# The Imitation Game Cryptography Competition

From Charles Walkden, University of Manchester:

**The Imitation Game Cryptography Competition: ** www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/cryptography_competition_the_imitation_game

`The Imitation Game‘ is a biopic of Alan Turing starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role (also starring Keira Knightley, Charles Dance,…) and will be released in cinemas on Nov 14th.

The film’s distributors asked us to get involved in the publicity and promotion for the film by running a one-off on-line `Imitation Game Cryptography Competition‘, www.maths.manchester.ac.uk/cryptography_competition_the_imitation_game.

# Rebecca Hanson: National Assessment Reform – Where are we now?

R. Hanson, National Assessment Reform – Where are we now? The De Morgan Gazette 5 no. 5 (2014), 33-39.

This short report summarises the pending changes to national assessment at 4/5, 6/7, 10/11, 15/16 and 17/18. It attempts to list the key concerns about the reforms and to describe the likely imminent calls for modifications.

It can also be downloaded as a word document here:

National Assessment Reform Where are we now 1 Sept 2014

If you have any questions you can contact the author.

# Mobi Snoodles: an example of mathematics promotion activities

**Mobi Snoodles, September 2014 Newsletter**

**Pinterest | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ **

Hi, I am Moby and I bring you the news about Natural Math. Send me your questions, comments, and stories of math adventures at moby@moebiusnoodles.com

In this newsletter:

- Math coloring pages and other activities to try
- Math Future live online meetings for teachers, parents, and teens
- Math Storytelling Day stories

**Math coloring pages and other activities to try**

BugFest is a big annual celebration of insects and crustaceans at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, attracting some 35,000 visitors to its hands-on learning centers – for example, to explore fractals in nature at our table. We miss you already, BugFest friends, and hope to see you again next year! Huge thanks go to the amazing kids who liked our activities so much that they taught them to others. The two most popular activities at the BugFest were insect-themed coloring pages and origami.

# Is it really a Hong Kong Elementary School First Grade Test?

As it happens with most viral stories in social media, the provenance of this picture (at one point published in chinaSMACK) is hard to trace:

# Ofsted: Low-level classroom disruption hits learning

From BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29342539 :

Low-level, persistent disruptive behaviour in England’s schools is affecting pupils’ learning and damaging their life chances, inspectors warn.

The report says too many school leaders, especially in

secondary schools,underestimate the prevalence and negative impact of low-level disruptive behaviour and some fail to identify or tackle it at an early stage.

Source: Poll conducted by YouGov for Ofsted, http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/news/failure-of-leadership-tackling-poor-behaviour-costing-pupils-hour-of-learning-day

This is one of many low-level school issues that affect undergraduate mathematics teaching. In a mathematics lecture, weaker students are more prone to “loosing the thread” than in most other courses. Also, students for whom English is not the first language, in particular, most from overseas are more sensitive to the signal-to-noise ratio than natives, and, at a certain level of background noise, their understanding of the lecture becomes seriously degraded. In my opinion, this is one of many neglected issues of undergraduate mathematics education. I in my lectures always insist on complete silence in the audience (and usually start my first lecture with a brief explanation of the concept of signal-to-noise ratio).