Mathematics Teachers Conference 2022
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8:00 to 8:30 Opening and Presentation of Excellence in Mathematics Teaching Award
8:30 to 9:30 Lecture 1 (Plenary)
Prof Michael Dorff
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9:30 to 9:40 Break
Primary Track Secondary Track JC Track
9:40 to 10:40 Lecture 2:
Dr Yeap Ban Har
Lecture 3:
Prof Manuel Santos-Trigo
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Lecture 4:
Prof Roberto Araya
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10:40 to 10:55 Break
10:55 to 11:55 Lecture 5:
Dr Ng Kit Ee, Dawn
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Lecture 6:
Dr Yeo Boon Wooi, Joseph
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Lecture 7:
Prof Chan Heng Huat
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11:55 to 12:00 Closing

Lecture 1 (Plenary): 8:30 - 9:30
Students solving BIG problems
Prof Michael Dorff, Brigham Young University, USA, a job search website, ranks the top jobs each year. One occupation is almost always in the top 5 and some years is the #1 job -- that occupation is a mathematician! Unfortunately, many students and people don't know that there are hundreds of companies in business, industry, and government (BIG) hiring students who are good at math. What are these companies? What type of BIG problems do they want math students to solve? During this presentation, we will answer these questions and present a new model for a math class that prepares students for careers in BIG.

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Michael Dorff is the past President of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and a professor of mathematics at Brigham Young University in Utah, USA. He is interested in promoting mathematics to the general public, in math careers in industry, and in mentoring beginning students in research. He co-directs the MAA PIC Math program (Preparation for Industrial Careers in the Mathematical Sciences) and is the director of strategy and implementation for TPSE Math (Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics). Also, he is a member of the steering committee for the East African Centre for Mathematical Research in Uganda

Lecture 2 (Primary Track): 9:40 - 10:40
Mathematics Instruction in Primary Classrooms for the Future
Dr Yeap Ban Har, Pathlight School (Singapore)/Anglo-Singapore International School (Thailand)

In this lecture, the speaker raises questions on the roles of the (human) teacher in the learning process. By delineating key learning experiences and alluding to teaching for big ideas, we will envision how learning should look like in the early stages of learning mathematics and learning how to learn mathematics.

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Yeap Ban Har is the director of curriculum and teacher development at Pathlight School in Singapore since 2010 after a ten-year stint at the National Institute of Singapore. He holds a similar position at Anglo-Singapore International School in Thailand. He travels the world to conduct professional development courses for teachers. He is the author of think! Mathematics for primary grades which is presently available in six languages. Ban Har holds PhD in mathematics education as well as MEd and MA (Southeast Asian Studies). He started teaching in 1992.

Lecture 3 (Secondary Track): 9:40 - 10:40
Characterizing and Supporting Hybrid Learning Scenarios to Foster Students' Development of Mathematical Concepts and Problem-Solving Competencies
Prof Manuel Santos-Trigo, Centre for Research and Advanced Studies, Cinvestav-IPN, Mexico

The social confinement that was imposed worldwide to control the spread of the pandemic COVID-19 led individuals to rely on digital technologies to carry out both daily activities and school tasks. What changes in mathematics curriculum and learning scenarios are important to support a flexible learning environment that combines remote students' work and face-to-face interaction? I propose a conceptual framework to structure a problem-solving approach that integrates the coordinated use of digital technologies and an online supporting system for students to work and discuss mathematical tasks. To introduce the framework, a task that involves the construction of a rectangle based on its given perimeter and its diagonal will be discussed to illustrate that a dynamic model of the task might lead students to explore concepts related to the study of calculus and analytic geometry. download pdf

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Manuel Santos-Trigo is a Professor at the Mathematics Education Department, Centre for Research and Advanced Studies, Cinvestav-IPN, Mexico. He teaches graduate courses and does research in mathematical problem solving. His area of interest involves analysing and characterizing teachers and students' systematic and coordinated use of digital technologies in understanding mathematical concepts and developing problem-solving competencies. He completed his BSc in mathematics at the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico and a doctorate in mathematics education at the University of British Columbia, Canada. He did a post-doctorate research as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been a visiting professor in several institutions including Purdue University, l’université d’Orléans, and la Universidad de la Laguna (Spain). He has supervised doctoral and master students in mathematics education in México and abroad.

Lecture 4 (Junior College Track): 9:40 - 10:40
What and how to teach mathematics for the future?
Prof Roberto Araya, Universidad de Chile, Chile

We are experiencing a great acceleration in social change and a true explosion of knowledge of the natural and social world. It is natural then to ask whether we have to update school mathematics content. What we now teach was mainly developed in agricultural and previous commercial societies. Now we are globally interconnected. Every day, an increasing number of autonomous agents interact with us. Moreover, they are starting to decide for us.
I postulate 3 conjectures. First, the main challenge is trust. What agents should we trust? Here we have an evolutionary mismatch. Our brains evolved to trust a small group of people, not billions. Much less to trust in smart apps. We need to provide citizens with tools to solve this challenge.
Second, the solution is to know and master a core set of mathematical and computational models about agents and swarms of agents. It is a new form of computational thinking. It pervades biology and psychology with populations subjected to natural and sexual selection intertwined with cultural coevolution. It is the mathematics citizens need to understand how innovations and complex changes occur and propagate.
Third, I propose that to find effective strategies on how to teach them, the solution lies in teachers’ collaborative work. We need lesson studies 2.0. These are lesson studies enhanced with AI support. Recent advances in natural language processing, pattern recognition in videos, and machine learning provide us with a powerful microscope to analyze and rapidly adjust teaching practices to these new teaching challenges.

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Roberto Araya is a Full Professor at the Institute of Education, University of Chile. He is a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles. He obtained the Best Paper Award of 10th International Conference in Methodologies and Intelligent Systems for Technology Enhanced Learning MIS4TEL 2020, Italy; Best Paper Award of 10th International Conference on Web-based Learning - ICWL 2011, Hong-Kong; Best Poster Award of 12th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning - ECTEL 2017, Estonia. He has lead projects funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada, the Finnish Academy of Sciences with ANID Chile, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Education Endowment Foundation.

Lecture 5 (Primary Track): 10:55 - 11:55
Diverse Learners, Multiple Possibilities: Differentiated Instruction in Primary Mathematics
Dr Ng Kit Ee, Dawn, NIE, Singapore

Key to teaching is addressing the needs of the learner. Diverse learners in the classroom means multiple possibilities and learning pathways. Differentiated instruction sits on the premise that the most ideal form of student learning takes place when teachers integrate students' readiness levels, interests, and learning profiles during instructional planning to develop the potential of learners. This lecture will discuss how differentiated instruction can be incorporated into primary mathematics classrooms in Singapore.

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Dr Dawn Ng is a senior lecturer with the Mathematics and Mathematics Education Academic Group and the Assistant Dean for Postgraduate Diploma in Education programme at the Office of Teacher Education, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She teaches pre- and in-service courses as well as graduate courses in mathematics education and supervises postgraduate students. Her publication and research interests include the teaching and learning of mathematics at primary and secondary levels, and adult education, covering areas such as the use of real-world tasks (e.g. problems in real-world contexts, applications and mathematical modelling), metacognition, assessment literacy of mathematics teachers, and differentiated instruction in mathematics classrooms.

Lecture 6 (Secondary Track): 10:55 - 11:55
Fostering Disciplinary Thinking and Academic Practice through Inquiry-based Learning in Mathematics
Dr Yeo Boon Wooi, Joseph, NIE, Singapore

The central focus of the Singapore school mathematics curriculum has always been mathematical problem solving since the 1990s. But in the latest syllabus review, a new orientation has been added: learning mathematics as a discipline, in addition to learning it as a tool for problem solving. The idea of learning mathematics as a discipline refers to doing mathematics as a mathematician would do in his or her academic practice, e.g. posing problems to investigate and solve, understanding the nature of mathematical structures by searching for patterns, and forming and justifying conjectures. One way to teach mathematics students to think like a mathematician is through the use of inquiry-based learning (IBL), which is one of the areas of focus under SkillsFuture for Educators (SFEd). In this lecture, I will unpack how teachers can use IBL to help students learn mathematics by engaging them in disciplinary thinking when constructing their own knowledge and solving mathematical problems.

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YEO Boon Wooi Joseph is a senior lecturer in the Mathematics and Mathematics Education Academic Group at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is the first author of think! Mathematics textbooks (previously called New Syllabus Mathematics) used in many secondary schools in Singapore. His research interests are on innovative pedagogies that engage the minds and hearts of mathematics learners, which include the use of an inquiry approach to learning mathematics (e.g. guided discovery learning, investigation and teaching through problem solving), ICT, and motivation strategies to arouse students’ interest (e.g. catchy maths songs, amusing maths videos, witty comics, intriguing puzzles and games, and real-life examples and applications). He was the recipient of the NIE Excellence in Teaching Commendation in 2012, 2017 and 2019, the NTU Nanyang Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012, the NTU Nanyang Education Award (School) in 2020, and the NTU Nanyang Education Award (College) in 2021.

Lecture 7 (Junior College Track): 10:55-11:55
"Primes of the form x2+y2". My tour guide in the land of Number Theory
Prof CHAN Heng Huat, NUS, Singapore

In 2009, I was asked by my department to design a third year module "Introduction to Number Theory". This module is different from "Elementary Number Theory" as it requires a first course in Abstract Algebra as a pre-requisite. Since then, I have taught the course eight times and the notes evolved throughout the years. There are about 11 to 13 chapters in the notes. I soon notice that I could apply the different results learned in each chapter to give a classification of primes representable as sums of two squares. In this talk, I will discuss some topics discussed in the course and their relationship with my ``tour guide''.

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Chan Heng Huat earned his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1995 under the supervision of Bruce C. Berndt. He spent nine months at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton after graduation and worked for a year at National Chung Cheng University from 1996 to 1997. Since 1997, he has been teaching at National University of Singapore.