Date: December 15, 2017
Location: North West Regional College, Derry/Londonderry
Theme of the workshop: “Supporting students, raising standards in maths at secondary and Higher Education level”
- Ciarán Mac an Bhaird (Maynooth University)
- Chris McCallion (Letterkenny IT)
- Jonathan Cole (Queen’s University)
- Terence McIvor
- Maeve O’Kane
The 11th Annual Workshop of the Irish Maths Learning Support Network (IMLSN) took place on December 15 2017 in North West Regional College, Derry/ Londonderry.
The theme of the workshop was “Supporting students, raising standards in maths at secondary and Higher Education level” and delegates included second level teachers, tutors and lecturers involved in mathematics and statistics support in further and higher education and more generally in third level mathematics education.
The keynote speakers were Ciarán Mac an Bhaird (Maynooth University), Chris McCallion (Letterkenny IT) and Jonathan Cole (Queen’s University).
In his talk “ Evaluating Maths Learning Support Provision: What is the point?”, Ciarán Mac an Bhaird discussed the issues involved in gathering and analysing usage / feedback data and its usefulness in evaluating the effectiveness of Maths Learning Support Services. He focused on the vast experience of the Maynooth MLC in this regard.
“Open Source Freeware as a Tool for Learning Support” was the title of both a paper and practical demonstration given by Chris McCallion. They related to a teaching project underway as part of an Access Programme at LYIT, in which open source and freeware products are being used to provide both student learning support tools and assessment tools.
The paper “Formative assessment in mathematics using log books, peer assessment and reflection”, presented by Jonathan Cole considered the effectiveness of incorporating log books, with weekly worksheets, reflections and peer feedback. These were introduced as part of the redesign of a core mathematics module for first year Engineering students. The impact of which was represented by improvements in the student experience, exam performance, preparedness for second year and overall confidence in their academic ability.
Over the course of the day there were three additional talks which detailed the impact of maths learning support services on student progression at UL (Olivia Fitzmaurice, Aoife Guerin and Richard Walsh UL), highlighted the important socio-cultural role played by maths support centres (Kirsten Pfeiffer UCG) and outlined the observations of the first full-time maths learning support tutor in Ireland (Peter Mulligan MU).
In addition, the afternoon session included three TEL related parallel workshops. These practical sessions focused on different technologies and how they can be used to the enhance teaching and learning of mathematics. They were:
- Open Source Freeware as a Tool for Learning Support (Chris McCallion LYIT );
- Enhanced Technologies Interactive Classroom Delivery ( Martin Peoples NWRC)
- Developing Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills for Mathematics (Franz Schlindwein, Founder of Qubizm Ltd).
The workshop provided delegates with an opportunity to share experiences, discuss challenges and find potential solutions to issues encountered in maths 1support provision. The organisers are grateful for financial support from the Irish Mathematical Society.