Zsolt’s seminar

Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Old Paint (Chris LeDoux)
Topic: Seminars

So, I went up to Manchester to see Zsolt’s presentation. It was entitled “The investigation of the integration of Computer Algebra Systems into University-level Mathematics Teaching” which is really similar to my work.

In his presentation he is describing a piece of qualitative research he did with 22 lecturers in US, UK and Hungary. It is quite surprising he is also looking across countries. Now, he is going to proceed to do a quantitative survey of 3500 lecturers in these three countries through the use of an inventory to look at their conceptions of mathematics, conceptions of mathematics teaching, conceptions of CAS, conceptions of CAS in mathematics and lastly the conceptions of CAS-assisted teaching and learning. The items in his questionnaire is from previous literature and from his qualitative study.

What is interesting is that he is doing his research in the opposite manner to what I did – although granted I wasn’t aiming to develop a questionnaire so that could be the reason.

I really enjoyed this seminar – because not only that Zsolt’s talk is very near my research so don’t feel as if I’m swimming alone in this research area. He, himself, confesses that there is not much literature into the teaching with software in maths at the higher education level. I wonder how much is there in the learning side. I mean Pierce and Stacey did a lot of research into CAS and learning – some is in higher education but recently their research have focused in secondary schools. Probably, they’re more likely to go there since its kind of ‘compulsory’ and hence have a better chance of finding samples.

Anyway, that wasn’t my point when I started the last paragraph. What I wanted to say, is that I finally feel as if I’m networking. Because when I went to the BSRLM conference I felt pretty lonely by myself -and the people who I spoke to were the PhD students … but, strangely enough, I had completely forgot that those students I met at the BSRLM conference were from Manchester University, and I met them again at this seminar! So, I actually had people I could have talked to. And one student (well then she was!), Maria, who had just completed her PhD when she went to the BSRLM conference is now doing research on how students think about mathematics before then enter into universities – I think if they perceive they’ll be doing it again.

It must be true, what Doug said, the contacts you build are actually from the PhD students who evolve and become important hopefully.

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