Summer School Report

Well…I’m back (just).

I had approximately 5 days breather between coming back from Armidale NSW, where the inaugural Australian Government Summer School for Teachers of Mathematics was held, and returning to work at my school.

It was a very packed program (9 to 5 every one of the 10 days except the Sunday afternoon when we could choose to stay in the residential college and ‘do our own thing’ or partake of one of several excursions that had been organised for us).

Overall, a terrific experience. 200 mathematics teachers, a stimulating and well thought-out program, many leaders in the field of mathematics education presenting and lots of ‘stuff’ to read about and investigate further (the reading materials amounted to approx. 6 kg in weight so you can imagine how many pages this is!!)

It will take me a while to sort all this through and I’ll blog about aspects of what I learnt in the months ahead. To start, however, I will give you the links below to sites that got my neurons all excited.

 (1)There is a free software package called Zamzar (http://www.zamzar.com/ ) that converts YouTube video clips into files you can use if YouTube is banned in your school. You get the url of the clip you want to convert then go to the above site. You give it your email address and it sends a link from where you can collect your converted files within 24 hours.  

(2) Jing – a software package that enables you to take a video (+accompanying audio) of what you are doing on the computer screen..with the view to giving it to kids as an instructional tool. Easy to use but creates very large files. Have a play  http://www.jingproject.com/ 

(3) GapMinder (http://www.gapminder.org/ )- a great site with fantastic visual presentations on the state of nations in the world over time…good for civics? History? I can certainly see the potential for using stats involving different countries in maths. Have a look at the video-lectures section…fascinating!! 

(4) John Hattie from NZ is a legend. Have a look at his PowerPoint (under Conference Presentations on his website at http://www.education.auckland.ac.nz/staff/j.hattie/ ) on the effect sizes of various aspects of schooling on student achievement – great stuff! 0.4 is the average effect size so you are looking at anything above this to be a ‘significant’ effect. Evidence-based research that really says something to teachers – a huge wake-up call. 

(5) Barry Kissane from Perth in WA has spent some time putting together a website that has categorised various websites from around the world according to their purpose and usefulness in mathematics classes. He would appreciate any feedback and additions to this list so feel free to contact him. His website can be found at  https://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~kissane/ 

My very best wishes for a great start to the new school year to you…remember that mathematics education is about Ideas…..Imagine what you and your students can do and Inspire them!

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About Linda

I have been involved in secondary mathematics education in Victoria, Australia for over 25 years.
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