Changing the Culture Conference 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 09:00 - 10:00

Simon Fraser University Downtown Campus

Changing The Culture 2013

The annual Changing the Culture Conference, organized and sponsored by the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, brings together mathematicians, mathematics educators and school teachers from all levels to work together towards narrowing the gap between mathematicians and teachers of mathematics, and between those who do and enjoy mathematics and those who think they don't.

Conference Program

8:45 Opening Remarks

9:00 Plenary Talk, Aboriginal Students in Math and Science: A Personal Experience, Veselin Jungic, SFU

Over the last several years I have been a math instructor in the SFU Aboriginal University Preparation Program and the SFU Pre-Health Aboriginal Program, a volunteer in the Math Tutoring Programs at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre and at the Native Education College, and the principal organizer of the Math Catcher Outreach Program. I will address several questions related to this experience including the following. What have I learned? Which challenges have I been facing? What are the rewards? What would I like to do next?

10:00 Coffee Break

10:30 Workshops AB

Workshop A: #$@*! Puzzles for #$@*! Children, Gordon Hamilton, MathPickle, Calgary

This is a hands-on exploration through some of MathPickle's most beautiful puzzle designs.  Just because these puzzles are curricular for the school classroom don't expect this to be a kick-your-feet-back-and-relax sort of puzzling experience.  These puzzles are hard fun - capable of engaging both #$@*! children and the lone adult aficionado.  

Workshop B: The i of the beholder, Fok-Shuen Leung, UBC

In a 1935 letter to the editor of the New York Times after the death of Emmy Noether, Albert Einstein wrote: "Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas." In this workshop, we will explore what Einstein meant, and what we can do to convince our students that Einstein was right. 

12:00 PIMS Award Ceremony: Awarding of the 2013 PIMS Education Prize to Natalia Kouzniak, SFU

12:30 Lunch

13:30 Will we all be replaced with MOOCS?, Jamie Mulholland, SFU

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become a hot topic during the past year, and the hype hasn't been confined to just the educational community. Headlines stating that MOOCs are the answer to all educational woes are a weekly occurrence. So what exactly are MOOCs and what impact are they having in education?  These are some of the questions we will discuss in this session.  Rather that a "talk" this session is intended to be an open discussion with the audience.  The facilitator will also share some of his experiences both as a participant and a Community TA in some MOOCs.

14:30 Panel Discussion: What Are We Preparing Our Students For?

  Katharine Borgen, UBC & Columbia Educational and Psychological Services

  Brenda Davison, SFU

   Natalia Kouzniak, SFU

   Richard DeMerchant, St. Michaels University School

 16:00 Coffee Break

16:30 Plenary TalkTaking Inspiration from the Past for Changing The Culture: Some Few Steps in the Company of Euclid, Archimedes, Heron and al-Khwarizmi, Bernard Hodgson, Université Laval 

My talk is centred around the role that history of mathematics could, or should, play in mathematics education—especially in the education of school teachers—towards the goal of “changing the culture” so to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics.  Taking as a basis the requirement more and more widespread of integrating elements of culture and history in the school mathematics curriculum, I will examine how such a context impacts on the university programmes devoted to the preparation of secondary school teachers, as well as on the mathematics departments responsible for offering courses in the history of mathematics.  I will also present examples of mathematical topics with a historical flavour, taken from my own teaching to preservice secondary school teachers.  I will in particular stress the possible use of original sources, discussing examples from the works of Euclid, Archimedes , Heron and al-Khwarizmi. 

17:30 Concluding Remarks