18 March 2014
A supportive community of mathematicians from across the region has been established as an initiative of the University of the Sunshine Coast.
More than 50 mathematicians, including teachers from 20 schools, USC academics and university education students, gathered for the first meeting of the MATHS (Mathematics Teachers Hub on the Sunshine Coast) community recently.
USC Senior Lecturer in Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation Dr Aaron Wiegand said the group aimed to connect everyone involved in the teaching and development of mathematics.
“We want to see a community of people talking about, sharing and enjoying, mathematical knowledge and concepts,” he said.
“Our inaugural guest speaker, Michael Jennings from the University of Queensland, spoke about his research showing an increasing uptake of Maths C by school students in Queensland, in contrast to the rest of Australia.
“Two USC academics also presented some intriguing mathematics, which was aimed to inspire debate and excitement about mathematics itself.”
Dr Wiegand said he hoped USC students would take a central role in organising regular MATHS meetings, once every school term, to gain greater access to current school teachers and to discuss issues surrounding mathematics education.
He said the group would discuss interesting mathematics and debate various education topics, ranging from the use of calculators in the classroom to the differences between Queensland’s current mathematics syllabus and the planned national curriculum.
“Mathematics is a vital study area, which can lead to jobs in professions as varied and diverse as computer programming, science, insurance, teaching, engineering, climate modelling and logistics,” he said.
The MATHS community initiative has been organised and spearheaded by USC academics Associate Professor Peter Dunn, Dr Wiegand, Dr Margaret Marshman, Dr Rob McDougall and Peter Antrobus.
— Julie Schomberg