Exciting news! Maths Pathway has been selected from a group of amazing applicants to be part of the first HundrED Victorian Spotlight. We’re one of 10 innovative education products that will be part of a travelling showcase around Australia, during which HundrED will share the amazing results Maths Pathway partner schools are achieving. We hope the showcase will inspire more schools to join our community, and the revolution to improve maths education for all Australian students.
Who is HundrED?
HundrED is a not-for-profit organisation from Finland that aims to ‘seek and share innovations in education’ around the world. They want to improve education by promoting educational innovations that are pedagogically sound, and that are helping drive a revolution to bring education into the 21st Century.
In the first line of their manifesto, HundrEd points out that the purpose of education is to help every child flourish, which is something we identify strongly with here at Maths Pathway. We believe that every child has the right to an amazing maths education, and that having a good maths education opens a multitude of doors for students as they move through their lives.
This year HundrED are running two ‘Spotlights’, one focused on Sustainability (based in California), and one in Australia to showcase the amazing education innovations that are coming out of Victoria (in partnership with Education Changemakers). You can learn more about the spotlight, and HundrED at https://hundred.org/en
HundrED announced that Maths Pathway is included in the Innovation Spotlight last night, to a packed room at the Hundred Spotlight Summit as a part of the EduChange Festival. It was a great night, and great to see some of the other awesome education innovations coming out of Victoria!
Our Head of Learning Michaela Epstein shares the Maths Pathway story at the HundrED Innovation Summit
Nicole Dyson, Director of Future Learning at Education Changemakers talks to the crowd about finding the right idea for innovation in education.
If your school doesn’t currently use Maths Pathway, but you’re looking for a way to deliver truly differentiated mathematics education to your students from a provider with proven impact, check out our 2018 Impact Report to see data that shows the incredible outcomes our partner schools are achieving. Alternatively, book a chat or demo through our website so that we can show you what we have to offer! mathspathway.com
Number and Dinosaur Discoveries, a Nanoscale Nativity Scene, and an Education Pop Quiz For You.
January is a wonderful time for reflection and existential questioning. These articles give precisely that:
“Is algebra/calculus/trigonometry necessary?" Well, apart from maple syrup, very little in life is. But is mathematics bursting with potential to inspire and to enrich students’ mental lives? Of course. Ben Orlin ponders mathematics’ role as a gatekeeper in education.
These six questions dig to the heart of maths education and what purpose it should serve today.
What’s the number one unexpected wow moment you had when learning maths? Check out other people’s responses in this lively twitter thread.
There’s something special about symmetry in mathematics, from geometry to algebra to number properties and beyond. Read on.
Pedagogy and practice:
At face value mathematics can be starkly authoritative. But, as Junaid Mubeen argues, we do students a favour when we tear up the rule book and let them, just like mathematicians, pull apart ‘truths’ and follow intuitions.
The ‘Matthew Effect’ “ describe[s] the process of cumulative advantage, basically, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”. Here’s what it looks like in the maths classroom, and how it can be minimised.
Word problems are notoriously challenging for students. Numberless word problems aim to help students make sense of relationships that exist in the problem, before they proceed with any computation.
“Familiarity and proficiency with the basic times tables are an essential building block in math.” This article explains why, and outlines strategies for developing understanding with times tables.
What do you notice? What do you wonder? What’s going on in this graph? Three simple, but illuminating questions posed by the NY Times each month to students. Here’s January’s feature:
Early Childhood Through To Tertiary Education
Let’s talk teacher education:
“How much education does a preschool teacher need?” An important discussion on how these educators contribute to young children’s development.
What should initial teacher education look like? Ok, so that’s a big question. But here’s a blog that’s laying out a plan for just that, and it comes with an open invite for feedback.
On the topic of play…
Finnish education expert Pasi Sahlberg has observed that play is being squeezed out of Australian classrooms. According to professor of psychology, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, the United States is facing the same situation.
Perth’s Kings Park has just launched Naturescape, where “ kids can problem solve, build resilience and practise enquiry-based learning through nature play”. It looks very cool.
“Can a “sandbox approach” of combining self-directed learners in playful, authentic and often digital environments yield the academic and personal growth educators require and families deserve?” Some loaded words here, but the sentiment of technology’s role in enabling self-direction is worth exploring.
What’s the difference between checking for knowledge and understanding? Why does this distinction matter? And how do you assess for understanding? Read on.
What’s stopping more women from getting into STEM careers? According to the CIO of Tabcorp, maths should be made more fun, general maths courses at a senior level should be compulsory, and greater parental education on career possibilities is required. The missing piece here though, is making changes to the STEM-industry itself so that it’s more attractive to women. What are your thoughts?
A Window Into Some Schools & The People In Them
Chances are, the name Eddie Woo is not new to you. The YouTube-ing maths teacher has just been named Australia’s Local Hero. Listen to or read the speech he gave in his Australia Day Address.
Teacher, Karen Nottingham, on the challenges schools face and the policy implications: “ I started my working life in the Australian Regular Army in the mid ’90s and I did a stint as a police officer in far north Queensland. … But, I’ve got to admit, teaching high school in the suburbs of Sydney is a tough gig.”
What do St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School and Dapto High School in N.S.W. have in common? They are the first two Australian schools to be powered solely by renewable energy.
The CSIRO is partnering with Victoria’s Tech Schools to “help develop new Tech School programs, offer specialist expertise and, where possible, provide access to CSIRO equipment, researchers and educators”.
Schools of Opportunity is a project that recognises “public high schools [in America] that work to close opportunity gaps by creating learning environments that reach every student.” Here are the 2017 awardees.
Education Policy & Politics
What better way to celebrate the end of 2017, than with an Education Pop Quiz? Go on, I’m not stopping you.
And now, looking ahead in 2018, what can we expect in education policy? Read on.
Some N.S.W. news:
The Government has axed funding for the Reading Recovery program. In its place, $50 million annually is being redirected towards other literacy and numeracy programs.
For the first time last year, students who did not achieve minimum literacy and numeracy standards in NAPLAN, will be required to resit tests before they are eligible for their HSC. At least 87% of Indigenous students fall into this group, compared with 59% of non-Indigenous students, prompting concerns that the new requirement will widen the Year 12 completion gap.
Well-being grants are being provided to Principals in the N.T., as part of the N.T. Principal Well-being Framework which was launched in 2017.
What does the year ahead look like for Principals in S.A.? Read on.
The minimum ATAR needed to study undergraduate teaching in Victoria has been raised to 65. Previously, the ATAR needed for some education courses had been as low as 30. This year has seen a 22% decline in the number of first-round university offers made.
In late 2017, the W.A. Government announced budget cuts to education including closing down the School of The Air. Following a backlash, this decision has now been reversed.
An incredible amount is spent each year by Australian families with children at private schools. Of 500 families surveyed in a recent study, only half are paying for fees using disposable income. See the chart on left for a breakdown of how parents pay for fees.
U.S.A.: The United States is ranked 35th out of 40 O.E.C.D. nations in addressing child poverty. However, two recent actions by Congress are not helping to turn this around.
The World:The World Bank has released its first ever report focusing on education. A critique by Pasi Sahlberg suggests that its analysis falls short in “ its use of the human capital view to analyze teachers’ work; its narrow view on teacher policies; and the mixing of facts and myths about Finland.”
Evaluation & Research Practices
What’s the attrition rate for early career teachers in Australia? Well, funny you should ask…
“Quoting a single, overall proportion of attrition suggests that it is possible to have an overview of the entire teaching population. …It would be disingenuous to claim that any single figure could refer to teachers leaving the profession because data are available which show that teachers move between states and sectors, and also leave and return”.
“ [T]he simple problems I like don’t require much background to get into them. I like things where I can just start working. I’m impatient….I like to just get my hands dirty and start right away.” — mathematician Richard Schwartz.
On the mathematics of decision making:
A sucker bet is “ a wager on something that seems like a good idea, but for which the odds are actually against you, often very much against you”. Here’s how maths can help you to avoid one.
Machine learning and biology #1: Google is applying machine learning to the biology of the eye and making health predictions from it.
Machine learning and biology #2: Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay won the Engineering and Computer Science Infosys Prize in 2017. Through her work, she has “identified a genetic marker for breast cancer, determined the co-occurrence of HIV and cancers, and helped understand the significance of the brain’s white matter in Alzheimer’s disease”.
Ok, so I’ve saved one of the best pieces of news til last: a NEW PRIME NUMBER has been discovered. It has more than 23m digits. That’s not 23 digits — but 23 million digits. Oh, and it was found by Jonathan Pace, a 51-year old electrical engineer from Tennessee as part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search. My pleasure.
Mathematical Feasts, Report Cards & the Twitter Thread of the Year
This list of mathematical headaches is more appetising than it sounds. The document, compiled by Dan Meyer, presents knotty questions and problems designed to compel students and create ‘intellectual need’. Speaking of the mathematically culinary, these geometry snacks from Alex Bellos are something to feast on.
When language and mathematics combine:
This small change to how mathematical formulas and their descriptions are presented, has a massive influence on how easily you interpret them.
A study with bilingual speakers has found that the way you think about and solve maths problems, changes when using your mother tongue versus the second language. When problem solving in a second language, there is a greater reliance on visuo-spatial, rather than verbal pathways.
United Nations: Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Underlying this is a challenge to ensure that quality and comparable data is collected at national levels. A new report describes what countries can do to make this possible.
Evaluation & Research Practices
Education research is complex and not at all static. So how can schools use research to better inform teaching practice? Read on.
Maths, Science & Tech
Greater Data Science: There’s a difference between statistics in practice and statistics in teaching and learning. As this blog explains, the former includes data exploration, data transformation, computing, modelling, visualisation, and science of data science. The latter generally does not.
You thought ‘Chief Visionary’ was an interesting job title? An IT services firm has identified 21 occupations of the future. Amongst my faves: Ethical Sourcing Manager, Master of Edge Computing, Genomic Portfolio Director, and Fitness Commitment Counselor. Eat your heart out.
The case of the ‘cursed curve’: A team of mathematicians has just “identified the rational solutions for [this] famously difficult Diophantine equation”, a culmination of over 40 years of work.
We could all do with more Islamic art in our lives. Meet Engare, “a game of motion and geometry which draws on the mathematical principles of Islamic design”.
Looking for some summer holiday podcast listening? Intrigued by the idea of extraordinary stories from the world of numbers? Sum of All Parts is your one-stop shop.
The 2017 prize for the nerdiest, cutest twitter thread goes to @solvemymaths, who asked “What’s the coolest / rarest mathsy thing you own?” Please enjoy.
From the succinct and witty Ben Orlin, ‘Epitaphs in the Graveyard of Mathematics’: