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ICTMT 10 - Portsmouth

Monday 22 August 2011

This blog is a short reflection on my experience of the ICTMT10 conference in Portsmouth 5 – 8 July 2011. I will not attempt a complete review of the conference for two reasons. Firstly, it would be impossible because of the number of parallel sessions on offer and secondly because I would not do it justice. As a secondary school mathematics teacher, the most useful thing for me to do is record some of the highlights and, perhaps most importantly, the resulting points of action that I have. Rather than publish this all in one go, I will publish a series of blogs over the next few weeks on some of the main themes. The following serves as an overview of what may follow.

It is worth noting from the start that the conference is aimed at a mixture of educational researchers and practitioners from secondary and tertiary education and the sessions are a mixture of keynotes, presenting research and workshops. As such it is a rich mixture of possibilities for all kinds of people. I attended the previous conference, ICTMT9 in Metz, 2009 and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed that there were quite a few less secondary school teachers in Portsmouth and a considerably smaller North American presence. That said, there was a truly international feel to the conference and enough of my peers for some really rich exchange, not to mention some good company and good times.

There were keynote speeches from Richard Noss, Paul Drijvers, Colin White and Collette Laborde all of which were thought provoking. One theme that seemed to run through all of these was that there seems to be a general disappointment that progress with ICT in Mathematics teaching has not achieved the potential that was thought to exist 20 - 30 years ago. Having only taught for 13 years I am not able to comment on this, but do think I can reflect on some significant changes during those 13 years!

There was research presented on the benefits of using technology as a modeling tool and motivator, particularly in tertiary education. One example was given in the study of sports science where students did not necessarily have a strong mathematical background, but could make progress with modeling tools such as 'Matlab'.

There was a particularly interesting workshop on students making videos of themselves solving problems and using these videos of getting students to reflect on their 'working out' and the stages they went through.

There was much discussion of various electronic assessment tools and, in particular, their ability to give relevant feedback where mistakes were made. This technology is clearly advancing and does have a place in secondary schools.

Handheld technology, mobile apps, GDCs and screen sharing software were all on show and this has prompted me to think about how to move forward with this in my school.

Which CAS technology should we be embracing? This is a tough call but I became aware of some very interesting developments with Geogebra and Maxima, that may make this choice a little easier.

With London 2012 on the horizon, sport and mathematics was a running theme through the conference and without too many concrete ideas, I am determined to think about strengthening this link in my school.

We were treated to an excellent talk from Richard Noble about the 'Bloodhound project' that made me think about the whole land speed thing in a new way. As well as this we had dinner on the HMS Warrior - a 150 year old battle ship restored in all of its glory to round off an excellent week.

As I said, I could not do the whole conference justice in one blog entry and so only aimed to give a brief summary. Many of the issues deserve to be returned to in future weeks in more depth.

We, from the International School of Toulouse, offered 2 sessions during the conference, the details of which can be found here;

 Future curriculum 'Use of technology to significantly enhance the development, engagement and skillset of students in the third industrial revolution.

 Animated Questions 'New types of question afforded by developments in technology'

Tags: Conference, ICT


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