Erasmus International Conference

International maths conference multiplies knowledge

Teaching problem solving in technology rich environments was the focus of an international maths conference that took place in Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College on Tuesday 20 August 2019.

Leading academic Dr Alison Clark-Wilson, Principal Research Lead, UCL EDUCATE Project, UCL Institute of Education, UCL Knowledge Lab, discussed how technology can support the teaching and learning of problem solving, given that problem solving is a key skill sought by employers.

Hosted by the Controlled Schools’ Support Council (CSSC), the conference was the final event of a two-year 140,000 euro Erasmus+ strategic partnership that involved partners from Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Denmark and Finland, as well as local controlled schools Kilcooley Primary School and Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College.

Jayne Millar, CSSC’s Head of Education Support said,

“We were delighted that Dr Alison Clark-Wilson was the keynote speaker.

“A teacher turned researcher, Dr Clark-Wilson is widely known and respected in maths education.  She has authored several books, undertaken extensive research in digital pedagogies for mathematics teaching and has led government and industry-funded curriculum projects.

“Dr Clark-Wilson is passionate and enthusiastic about bringing research, teaching and technology together to enhance learning.  A dynamic speaker, she certainly inspired the audience.”

Ms Millar also highlighted the success of CSSC’s Erasmus+ programme, saying,

“CSSC was pleased to be awarded a significant resource for this project which I believe will support and enhance pupil’s problem solving skills.

“The international dimension has enabled participants to learn from the expertise of partner organisations through the sharing of best practice and interactive workshops.  Today’s conference was important to enable the further sharing of this knowledge with Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 teachers of maths from across Northern Ireland, impacting on thousands of controlled school pupils.”

Funding for Erasmus+ is coordinated by the British Council, and CSSC had the support of British Council Northern Ireland.

Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, said:

“We’re delighted to see even more schools in Northern Ireland benefitting from Erasmus+ funding thanks to innovative consortia projects delivered by organisations such as CSSC.

“For schools, Erasmus+ is a crucially important programme, as it aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning from pre-primary through to secondary level through international connections.

“It’s also vital for actively raising the awareness among teachers and students about the importance of implementing an international dimension in their school activities – enabling young people to understand issues of worldwide importance, gain a sense of social responsibility and develop the skills they need to succeed in a global economy.”

Conference delegates also heard from Raymond Caldwell, Assistant Chief Inspector. He highlighted the importance of teaching problem solving and providing children and young people with opportunities to develop their problem solving skills.

A choice of professional learning seminars led by the international partners of the Erasmus+ project and Dr Alison Clarke-Wilson included:

  • Problem-solving approaches
  • Using Geogebra to enrich problem solving
  • Engaging parents in children’s learning of problem solving
  • Using technologies to develop problem-solving activities
  • Using technologies to present problem-solving activities
  • Teaching problem solving in technology rich environments

Photograph caption:

The Controlled Schools’ Support Council hosted an international problem solving conference on Tuesday 20 August 2019 attended by over 100 maths teachers – both local and international, as part of its 140,000euro Erasmus+ project.

Keynote speaker Dr Alison Clark-Wilson (right) discussed how technology can support the teaching and learning of problem solving.  Raymond Caldwell, ETI Assistant Chief Inspector (left) highlighted why problem solving should be taught.  Also pictured are Jayne Millar, Head of Education Support and School Support Officer Jill Brown of the Controlled Schools’ Support Council.