The Mathematics Colloquium is a presentation series offered by the Program for mathematics teachers, professors, undergraduate and graduate students, and those in the larger community who wish to follow recent advancements in the field of mathematics education. The invited speakers, from throughout the world, are leading authorities in their fields.
The Colloquia are open to all who are interested. If you'd like to receive Colloquium announcements and updates, please subscribe to our listserv.
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February 18, 2013
Professor Daniel Chazan
University of Maryland
Abstract: Word problems, a long-standing tool in mathematics teaching, have been described as part of the “peculiar tribal culture of the American classroom” (Greer, 1997, p. 298). The Thought Experiments in Mathematics Teaching (ThEMaT project) is aimed at better understanding the rationality of teaching practice in US classrooms, including aspects of teaching that have frustrated reformers. We argue for the importance of understanding ways in which mathematics teaching is an interaction that takes place in a particular institutional context and that is shaped by the particular mathematics being studied and taught
March 11, 2013
Professor Jeremy Kilpatrick
University of Georgia
Abstract: The issue of leadership in mathematics education—always a matter of some contention—has been complicated by developments in the field over the past half-century or so. When mathematics education began to emerge as an academic field at the beginning of the twentieth century, so few people were seriously concerned with either its practice or its study that virtually all of them could be considered leaders of some sort. That situation prevailed until the new math era, when a new and larger generation of mathematics educators appeared in colleges and universities. Since the new math era, mathematics education people and programs have proliferated to such an extent that leadership has become much more diversified and identifying leaders much more difficult. Today we need attention not only to the nature of leadership in our field but also to a serious study of that leadership.
April 1, 2013
Professor Robin Todd Wilson
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Abstract: Over the past three decades the Algebra Project has worked to demonstrate that with the right support students from the lowest quartile of academic achievement, economic, and social status can be successful at achieving a level of mathematics education equivalent to that of their college bound peers. Recently, the Algebra Project has been working to develop four years of curricular materials designed to accelerate the learning of the lowest performing high school students in the United States.
April 22, 2013
Professor Bernd Sturmfels
University of California at Berkeley
Abstract: Bernd Sturmfels received doctoral degrees in Mathematics in 1987 from the University of Washington, Seattle, and the Technical University Darmstadt, Germany. After postdoctoral years in Minneapolis and Linz, Austria, he taught at Cornell University, before joining UC Berkeley in 1995, where he is Professor of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science. His awards include a National Young Investigator Fellowship, a Sloan Fellowship, and a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship, a Clay Senior Scholarship, an Alexander von Humboldt Senior Research Prize, the SIAM von Neumann Lecturership, and a Sarlo Distinguished Mentoring Award. Recently, he served as Vice President of the American Mathematical Society. A leading experimentalist among mathematicians, Sturmfels has authored ten books and over 200 research articles, in the areas of combinatorics, algebraic geometry, symbolic computation and their applications. He has mentored 35 doctoral students and numerous postdocs. His current research focuses on algebraic statistics and computational algebraic geometry.
September 17, 2012
Professor Uri Treisman
Dann Center, University of Texas
Abstract: This lecture will concentrate on big projects and the ways in which they capitalize on current research. Three examples are the design of prototypes for CCSSM assessment for (PARCC), the implementation of CCSSM in five large urban districts, and the redesign of math pathways in two-year colleges in TX, IN, and GA.
October 1, 2012
Dr. Werner Blum and Dr. Rita Borromeo-Ferri
University of Kassel, Germany
Abstract: Mathematical modeling is one of the topics in mathematics education that has been discussed most intensely during the last few decades. There are many reasons why modeling, that is translating between the real world and mathematics, ought to be an integral part of the mathematics school curriculum from the first to the final grade.
October 29, 2012
“Implementing Programs that Capture and Nurture Imaginations and Talents”
Professor Carol Greenes
Arizona State University
November 26, 2012
Professor Margaret Kidd
California State University at Fullerton
Abstract: Dr. Margaret L. Kidd is an alumna of Teachers’ College. She is presently an Associate Professor in Mathematics at California State University, Fullerton, but has taught all levels of P-20. Dr. Kidd is the Coordinator of the Single Subject Credential in Mathematics at CSUF.
February 13, 2012
Chief of Content-'Museum of Mathematics
Abstract: The Museum of Mathematics will open in New York City in Fall 2012 with original exhibits, class trips, special programs, teacher development, and innovative resources to support and enrich classroom mathematics education.
This talk will be a very visual survey of exhibits currently planned along with many cool physical models to play with. For more information on the museum and our progress towards opening, see http://momath.org.
March 5, 2012
Margaret Cozzens, Ph.D.
Rutgers University, Research Professor DIMACS
Abstract: This talk will discuss introducing interdisciplinary curricular materials into high school classrooms from picking the topics, writing the drafts, to teacher preparation for the use of the materials, and research on their effectiveness in classrooms. The Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) at Rutgers University has been funded by the National Science Foundation to develop modular materials and books for two interdisciplinary projects, and has submitted a third such proposal.
March 26, 2012
Professor Susanna S. Epp
De Paul University, Chicago IL
Abstract: The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics ask teachers to prepare students to reason abstractly and to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Yet much of what we say and write in our mathematics classes assumes that our students understand linguistic and logical conventions that have never been made explicit to them. What problems does this cause, and what do teachers need to know to be able to address them?
April 30, 2012
Iolani, Honolulu HI
Director, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston, VA
Abstract: There are many distractions in the mathematics classroom, which hide potential incandescent moments of discovery and realization - not the least being testing, bureaucracy and educational theory. What happened to the fascination with shapes and numbers? Let's get back to the sheer joy and wonder that mathematics provides to people of all ages by asking (and answering) the following questions in this hands-on colloquium: What do pinecones have to do with speedometers? Why has the number 15 become the new number 14? What do you get when you cross a stop sign with a one way arrow? etc.
September 26, 2011
"Mathematical Modeling in the School Curriculum"
Zalman Usiskin-'University of Chicago
Abstract: Despite its importance, mathematical modeling is mysterious to many a of mathematics, viewed as arcane, difficult, and complex if it is viewed at all. In this talk, I will discuss the modeling process with the goal of dispelling this view. I argue that one of the reasons students have difficulty with applications is that we do not approach them in classrooms in a systematic way, and I will offer suggestions for making things more systematic. The discussion will cover all grade levels, with examples involving arithmetic, algebra, functions, geometry, and discrete mathematics.
October 10, 2011
"The Developmental Math Challenge in Community College"
Abstract: Dr. Katherine K Merseth, Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Associate at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching will discuss a new pathways initiative at the Carnegie Foundation that focuses on the challenges of developmental mathematics courses in Community Colleges. Community Colleges in the United States are two-year post secondary institutions that serve over 44% of all higher education students. The Pathways initiative seeks to address the alarming failure rate of community college students in developmental mathematics courses.
November 7, 2011
"Behind the Scenes at NCTM School Journals."
Abstract: This talk will have three distinct sections. The first will take the audience through what happens to a manuscript from submission to publication. The second segment will explain how mathematics teacher and graduate students can get involved with the school journal. The final segment will bring up current issues facing NCTM and in particular the school journals today. The audience will be invited into the act. To prepare for this presentation audience members asked to read one journal from before March 2009 and another journal afterward.
December 5, 2011
"Do We Have an Achievement Gap?"
February 7, 2011
"Implications of advanced concepts in elementary mathematics and collaboration between mathematicians and educators to tease them out."
Dr. Mark Saul, The Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University
Abstract: Elementary mathematics is made of the same stuff as advanced mathematics. The structure of the field betrays itself on every level. I will talk about my collaboration with research mathematicians which bring their insights to bear on classroom mathematics.
March 7, 2011
"Applications in US Undergraduate Mathematics in the 20th Century"
Dr. Walter Meyer, Adelphi University
Abstract: There has been considerable variation in the attention to applications in the last century or so. This talk will outline some of the evidence of the ups and downs of applications and provide hints that the return of applications in the 1970's may have been influenced by factors that went beyond purely curricular considerations. Our information about the first half of the century is, so far, sketchy. To help fill in this gap, some colleagues and I have undertaken the Cajori Two Curriculum Project. A short description of this project will be given.
April 4, 2011
"Visualizing Mathematics in the YouTube Era"
Dr. Jonathan Rogness, University of Minnesota
Abstract: Advances in computer graphics have provided mathematicians with the ability to create stunning visualizations, both to gain insight and to help demonstrate the beauty of mathematics to others. As educators these tools can be particularly important as we search for ways to work with students raised with constant visual stimulation, from video games to MTV. We will explore these ideas and take a tour of elegant visualizations of high level mathematical ideas. For an in-depth case study, we will examine "Mbius Transformations Revealed," a short film that illustrates the beauty of Mbius Transformations and shows how moving to a higher dimension makes them easier to understand. After winning an award from the National Science Foundation and Science magazine the video went viral, with unexpected and entertaining results as YouTube users discovered the visual allure of mathematics.
April 25, 2011
"Formative Assessment and Testing. What they aren't. What they are. What they can do."
Dr. Hugh Burkhardt, University of Nottingham
Abstract: There is a mass of evidence that "formative assessment", when done properly, is a very effective way to forward student learning. However, it is often taken to mean "more frequent tests", which can have the opposite effect. Tests, too, are important levers for changing teaching and learning - for better or, more often, for worse. This talk will attempt to sort out the confusions, discussing design principles and illustrating good practice with examples of both test tasks and teaching materials that support formative assessment, all focused on the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.
September 27, 2010
"Examining Mathematics Examinations: The New York Regents System"
Dr. Eileen F. Donoghue, College of Staten Island/CUNY
Abstract: Curriculum standards in mathematics have received sustained attention over the past two decades. A current initiative, the Common Core State Standards, may well lead to a series of standardized mathematics achievement tests administered by schools nationwide, an unprecedented event. Notably, New York has a long history of statewide secondary school mathematics tests, referred to as Regents examinations. In this colloquium we will examine the little-known origins of the mathematics Regents, trace the stability of selected topics across its history, and consider how the New York Regents experience may inform current efforts to institute a national mathematics curriculum and testing regimen.
October 11, 2010
"The Mathematics Teacher: Between solving equations and the meaning of it all"
Dr. Shlomo Vinner, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Abstract: An attempt is made to suggest some ultimate goals for education beyond the narrow framework of the mathematics curriculum. On the other hand, there is an attempt to tie mathematics education to these goals by pointing at some principles which direct mathematical behavior as well as educated behavior. The main claim is that both mathematical behavior and educated behavior are supposed to be directed by rational thinking.
November 15, 2010
"The Common Core State Standards, Now Assessment: What's Next? Our Interpretations"
Dr. Henry Kepner, University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee
Abstract: Over the last two years, the standards movement has been dominated by an approach to standards building which differs from the professional organizations creation through NCTM in the late 1980's. A look at this process as it has evolved along with the challenging efforts to win engagement of the professional education community in this effort. The first round focused on standards; the second moved to a thrust into student (and teacher?) assessment. An update with participant involvement - in reporting experiences across states and federal initiatives. For all of us: THE NEXT ROUND.
December 6, 2010
"Research, Algebra and Technology: Helping Teachers Shape Their Practice to Enable Learning"
Dr. Gail Burrill, Michigan State University
Abstract: What have we learned from past experience and research and how have we used what we learned? Research about teaching and learning algebra offers suggestions that we have not incorporated into the way we design curriculum nor used to help teachers think about instruction in their algebra classes. New tools and ways of thinking based on this research have the potential to make a difference in enabling all students to learn.
February 22, 2010
"What drives math outcomes in the high achieving countries? It's probably not what you think."
Dr. Jim Milgram, Stanford University
Emeritus Professor, Department of Mathematics, Stanford University;
Member of the National Board for Education Sciences
Abstract: Dr. Milgram will start his discussion by pointing out that there have been considerable doubts on the part of math educators about the utility of fractions. Then note that as a member of the NASA Advisory Committee, it became clear that there really needs to be some sort of high school course that gives students some idea of what's involved in engineering. Then he will talk about the Antikythera Mechanism, and the fact that gears are - of necessity - a representation of fractions and some of their uses. This could be used as a lead-in to what really interests Dr. Milgram these days - the reasons that the curricula of the high achieving countries work in the early grades, and why ours does not and cannot any longer.
March 8, 2010
"Making Great Teachers and Making Teaching Great"
Math for America
Abstract: Before joining Math for America, Ewing served as Executive Director of the American Mathematical Society for more than 13 years. The AMS represents more than 32,000 research mathematicians and publishes books, journals, and databases, employing a staff of over 200 in its Providence, Ann Arbor, and Washington offices. He previously was professor of mathematics at Indiana University from 1973-1995, where he also served as Chair of the department. In 1966, Ewing received his B.S. from St. Lawrence University, which also awarded him an honorary degree in 1996, and received his M.S. and Ph.D. from Brown University in 1971. This talk will give a mathematician's perspective of secondary school teachers and teaching - the perspective that underlies Math for America, which I currently head. The talk is not primarily about Math for America, however, but rather it's meant to address the larger issues of teaching that have been in the news in the past year: What is the real value of good teaching? What is a great teacher? What needs to be done to make teaching great?
March 29, 2010
"A Visual Approach to Calculus"
Donald J. Albers
University of Santa Clara and the Mathematical Association of America
Abstract: Calculus continues to be regarded as a difficult subject by many students, and applications are often singled out as significant stumbling blocks. In this talk you will learn how to solve some routine problems from calculus and some decidedly non-routine problems that will challenge students of advanced calculus. Using no more than a wee bit of elementary geometry and a few new, but powerful, geometrical ideas you and your students can master ideas that will increase your appreciation for calculus and afford an opportunity to compare and contrast some new approaches to problems that have usually been regarded as the sole province of the calculus of Newton and Leibniz.
April 26, 2010
"The Application of Statistical Thinking: Views from a Statistical Consultant"
The Artemis Group, LLC
Abstract: The purpose of this seminar is two-fold. The first is to explore the science of making effective use of data, which requires the marriage of in-depth knowledge of statistical methods with communication and managerial skills. From a statistical consultant's perspective, this seminar will walk through the common stages of a project: The second purpose is to present the results of a recent study by using it as a case study for the discussion on statistical consulting. In 2009, BET Networks sponsored AA Revealed-'"Understanding Today's Diverse Black Families, a survey of African American heads of households. BET Networks undertook a quantitative study to recognize the distinct voices of these families to help to shed light on the many different ways African American children are being supported, cared for and raised. This study demonstrates the importance of careful design of the questionnaire and sampling to deal effectively with complex questions similar to those studied by doctoral candidates. Susan J. Devlin is a founding partner of The Artemis Group, formed in1997 to provide analytical solutions to client problems. She has extensive experience as an analyst and manager of technical projects doing advanced statistical research and consulting, first at Bell Laboratories and then at Bellcore (now Telecordia Technologies). Ms. Susan Devlin is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and has a BS cum laude in mathematics from William Smith College. She has a MS in Statistics from Rutgers University and has published more than 30 papers in statistical and managerial journals or books.
September 21, 2009
"It's Time to Focus Less on the What and a Lot More on the How and How Well: The Critical Need to Attend to Instruction and Implementation"
Dr. Steve Leinwand
Principal Research Analyst
American Institute for Research (AIR)
Abstract: So much time and effort continues to be expended on the question of what mathematics should be taught when and so much of the math wars have been fought over matters that relate to a small proportion of the curriculum. Meanwhile, we have too often subordinated attention to elements of high quality instruction, effective assessment and the overall quality of implementation of our mathematics programs. This fast-paced, example-laden session will provide an opportunity to reflect on and discuss specific aspects of how we convey the mathematics to students and how well we support the implementation of quality instruction.
October 12, 2009
"Stealth Teaching: Lessons from Practice"
Head of School, Lincoln School
(Providence, Rhode Island), retired
Abstract: Perspectives on a career of 40 years in Mathematics Education and the art of teaching without teaching, or how I persuaded students that math was worth their time.
Joan Countryman retired in June 2005 after twelve years as Head of Lincoln School in Providence, a Quaker school for girls in grades kindergarten through twelve with co-educational infant and pre-school programs. In the fall of 2006, she came out of retirement to serve as Interim Head of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. In 2007-2008, she served as Interim Head of the Atlanta (GA)
November 16, 2009
Reception & Mathematics Colloquium
Honoring the 2008 -- 2009
Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology
Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient
William A. Brownell Collegiate Professor of Education;
Professor of Mathematics, LSA
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Abstract: Edward A. Silver is Professor of Education and Mathematics at the University of Michigan and Chair of the Educational Studies Program. He has taught at the middle school and high school levels in New York State and at universities in Illinois, California, and Pennsylvania. He received his Ed.D. in mathematics education in 1977 from Teachers College, Columbia University. Silver's scholarly interests include the study of mathematical thinking, especially mathematical problem solving and problem posing; the design and analysis of intellectually engaging and equitable mathematics instruction for middle school students; innovative methods of assessing and reporting mathematics achievement; and effective models for enhancing the knowledge of teachers of mathematics. His work has been published not only in major research journals but also in outlets intended to reach the educational practice community, especially K-12 teachers of mathematics.
December 7, 2009
"Slouching Toward a National Curriculum"
Regents Professor of Mathematics
University of Georgia
Abstract: Recent developments in U.S. mathematics education are bringing us closer to a national curriculum than ever before. They include curriculum documents from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, last year's report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, this year's educational policy white paper on science and mathematics education from the National Academy of Education, and the current Common Core State Standards Initiative of the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association to produce "college and career ready" standards and K-12 standards in mathematics. A discussion of these developments may help us see more clearly where our curriculum is headed. Jeremy Kilpatrick is Regents Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Georgia. He has also taught at European and Latin American universities, receiving four Fulbright awards. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Gothenburg, is a National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, and has a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the 2007 Felix Klein Medal from the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction. His research interests include proficiency in mathematics teaching, curriculum change and its history, assessment, and the history of research in mathematics education.
January 26, 2009
"Probability, Decision Theory, and Education"
Dr.Daniel L. Goroff
Harvey Mudd College and The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Abstract: Empirical studies of common attitudes and behaviors in risky situations reveal systematic inconsistencies, exaggerations, and misconceptions. Some of these examples are harmless or amusing, but some also involve grave financial, medical, or other consequences. That makes educating students about probability and decision-making an important part of the mathematical curriculum. Moreover, applying these same ideas about conditional probability and Bayesian analysis to the didactic decisions that teachers make in their classrooms yields new insight into precisely how the "pedagogical content knowledge" of teachers can and should go beyond what we usually think of as content knowledge among mathematicians.
February 16, 2009
"Don't Be Alone - Join aQueue!"
Prof. Jeff Griffiths
School of Mathematics,Cardiff University, Wales
Abstract: The speaker will present a short overview of some of the main results of Queueing Theory, and then show how he has used the theory in a number of high profile real-life situations.
March 30, 2009
"50 Golden Opportunities!"
Concordia College Chicago, Illinois
Abstract: Acknowledging false dichotomies, enhancing instructional settings, selecting instructional strategies, analyzing research results and embracing storytelling provide 50compellingopportunities for success in the field of mathematics education. The speaker's 50 recommendations are inspired by children and teachers, rooted in an old Chinese proverb, derived from philosophers such as Diogenes and deBono, based on research conducted by Bloom, Hunter, Good, Grouws, and Marzano, or embedded in ancient stories from the history of mathematics as well as modern stories told by Polya and Gladwell. The 50 principles, practices and proposals are golden opportunities for mathematics educators to engage their students, enrich their careers, and enhance their profession.
April 13, 2009
"The Tree in Pythagoras' Garden"
Prof. John M. Mack
University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Abstract: I would be happy to offer a seminar on a geometrical approach to the structure of all primitive Pythagorean ordered integer triples. The method used goes back to Fermat!
September 29, 2008-'
"Mathematics Biology,Technology, Cognition, and Pedagogy: Opportunities and Challenges in Mathematics Education"
Professor Paul Kehle Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Abstract: I will share insights from an NSF-supported curriculum development project focused on introducing high school students to mathematical biology, and I will draw upon collaborative work with K-12 teachers and students to provide an overview of exciting aspects of contemporary mathematics education. In particular, this colloquium will highlight interdisciplinary curriculum and pedagogy, the role of technology in supporting empirical experimental approaches to mathematics, and the impact of such approaches on K-12 students' engagement in learning mathematics. We will consider some mathematical problems and reflect on excerpts of student work as a means of identifying possible research projects for in-service teachers and mathematics education scholars.
October 27, 2008
"Conceptualizing the learning of Algebraic Technique: Role of Task and Technology"-'
Professor Carolyn Kieran, Universit du Qubec Montral-'
November 10, 2008
"A Mathematics Education Travelogue in Asia - Dispelling Myths and Opening Dialog."-'
Steve Rasmussen, Key Curriculum Press
Abstract: This mathematical travelogue draws from experiences in a dozen Asian countries. The pictures are personal, the experiences are singular, the observations are idiosyncratic. But the human face of mathematics education that emerges helps dispel myths and stereotypes about the conditions and work of our colleagues in Asia who struggle with issues not unlike our own.
December 15, 2008
"The Reasonable Ineffectiveness Of Research In Mathematics Education Revisited."
Prof. Frank Lester, Indiana University.
Abstract: More than a quarter of a century ago, Jeremy Kilpatrick wrote an article that appeared in the journal, For the Learning of Mathematics, in which he asked: "Why is research in mathematics education so ineffective?" In answering his question, he suggested that: (1) "much of the ineffectiveness is more perceived than real," and (2) "most of the ineffectiveness is reasonable." The current emphasis in the United States being placed on so- called scientific research in education and the demand for researchers to determine "what works" make Kilpatrick's question just as relevant today as it was in the early 1980s. In this lecture, I will revisit Kilpatrick's claims to see if the state of mathematics education research has changed over time. I will also suggest how we might move toward developing more practical wisdom about questions practitioners care about, while at the same time increasing our understanding of important problems of learning and teaching mathematics.