LearnX.ca is an idea and research dissemination project, on teaching & learning about math, coding/making, AI and science.
A significant part of the development work for this project is funded by the Ontario Research Fund: Research Excellence, led by Ontario Tech University in partnership with Western University. A condition of the funding is to transfer knowledge into application, to create and disseminate Ontario-based products and services as they relate to teaching & learning in order to benefit students and ultimately the Ontario economy. When we collaborate with school districts in outreach or research settings, we share these materials at no cost. For other schools and school districts, the materials are available at minimal cost with revenue used to cover costs. Any profits are shared with the institutions, authors, and students who develop our coding and other apps in line with institutional policies.
At the same time, we make many of the core ideas publicly available. For example,
- For the Understanding Math + Coding + Making resource, we have posted freely-accessible self-learn workshops for each of grades 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 & 7/8. Feedback: “This looks pretty awesome! Thanks to you all for supporting teachers!” — “Great resources to take back to our class communities” — “Check these out. Resources are amazing. Straightforward, easy to follow, and you’ll learn along with your students!”
- For the upcoming Math + Coding Teams resource, we have posted sample activities.
- And the apps we create are freely available (such as Density).
- We are planning free workshops for grades 7-10 teachers (and maybe some for students too) in July/August 2021.
Some of the background knowledge for this project comes work supported by a variety of sources:
Leads: Janette Hughes (Ontario Tech) & George Gadanidis (Western)
Support: Laura Dobos (MA candidate, Ontario Tech), Lisa Anne Floyd (PhD candidate, Western), Molly Gadanidis (undergrad, Ottawa), Zeynep Gecu-Parmaksiz (post-doc, Ontario Tech), Li Li (PhD candidate, Western), Margie Lam (MA candidate, Ontario Tech), Laura Morrison (EdD candidate, Calgary), Chris Yiu (MSc, Western)
George Gadanidis: firstname.lastname@example.org
PUZZLE TO SOLVE
Here is the puzzle we are trying to solve:
How do we share a good idea — with wonder & insight — so others may want to also share it?
Our design principles is based on what we have learned from our work in mathematics education and research.
- Math is big. Children’s minds are bigger. We want to teach the content of grade-specific mathematics expectations. And we want students to experience this content (1) in a context of big math ideas, (2) with opportunities to model and investigate, (3) through mathematical beauty and wonder, and (4) while developing social-emotional learning skills.
- Math is worth doing. Math is worth talking about. At least once each unit of study, students should experience mathematics that (1) is worthy of their attention, worthy of their wonderful potential, and (2) can be shared beyond the classroom as a story or experience that offers mathematical surprise and insight.
We have been using and researching these principles in Ontario classrooms, and classrooms in Brazil, for many years. We are excited to build on this experience and expertise through this project.
We believe that occasional, well-designed aesthetic mathematics experiences “that are immersive, infused with meaning, and felt as coherent and complete” (Parrish, 2009, p.511), and the associated experience of complex, surprising, emotionally engaging, and viscerally pleasing mathematics, can serve as “a process of enculturation” (Brown, Collins and Duguid, 1989, p. 33) with lasting impact on students’ (and teachers’) dispositions, living fruitfully in future experiences (Dewey, 1938) by raising expectation and anticipation of what mathematics can offer, and what the intellectual, emotional and visceral rewards might be when quenching a thirst for mathematics.Gadanidis, G., Borba, M., Hughes, J. and Lacerda, H. (2016). Designing aesthetic experiences for young mathematicians: A model for mathematics education reform. International Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 6(2), 225-244.