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International Graduate Centre of Education

Numerical and non-numerical aspects of mathematics: A case for mathematical sense making through digital technology

  • IGCE symposium

Abstract: Human sense-making is a useful construct through which to examine some of the processes intrinsic to the teaching and learning of mathematics. Unlike sense-making of conversation where meaning-making is prominent, sense-making in mathematics can be a complex process that may not make sense in terms of the natural world we know, and therefore, has an impact upon the choice of abstractions used in teaching. Mathematical curiosity proceeds with logic yet also works with insight in discovering new mathematical horizons. In my recent research, I focus upon the broad scope of human sense-making in mathematics. We consider theoretical and pedagogical issues and raise questions with regards to the effective use of digital technology in teaching and proposes a research agenda. I also would like to talk on the issues resulting from a lack of clarity in understanding the nomenclature of numeracy in mathematics education at the school level and consider some of the underlying foundational structures of mathematical thinking. The purpose is to open a conversation about shifting the focus from the narrower conceptual boundaries concerning numeracy by considering theoretical perspectives that describe mathematical thinking as a form of intelligence on the one hand, and as a skill within the paradigm of 21st century skills, on the other. We identify a number of questions to be considered in teaching mathematics and specifically in the contexts where digital technology is utilized.

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