Sent at the request of Charles Fadel
SEE http://eventus.trippus.se/21stcenturymaths for information
with respect to Registration, Programme and Logistics
22-24 April 2013 -- Stockholm, Sweden
Norra Latin -- Stockholm City Conference
21st Century Mathematics
"What should students learn in the 21st
A global conference of the CENTER FOR CURRICULUM REDESIGN in
collaboration with the
CONFEDERATION OF SWEDISH ENTERPRISE and the OECD CENTRE FOR
EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND INNOVATION (CERI)
What should students learn in the 21st century? This conference
will discuss top-level changes in the Math school curriculum, in terms
of what topics and branches should be added, and just as crucially,
what should be removed.
In the 21st century, humanity is facing severe difficulties at
the societal (global warming, financial stresses), economic
(globalization, innovation) and personal levels (employability,
happiness). Technology's exponential growth is rapidly compounding the
problems via automation and off-shoring, which are producing social
disruptions. Education is falling behind the curve, as it did
during the Industrial Revolution. The last profound changes to
curriculum were effected in the late 1800's as a response to the
sudden growth in societal and human capital needs. As the world of the
21st century bears little resemblance to that of the 19th century,
education curricula are overdue for a major redesign.
This is all the more true in Science/Technology/Engineering/Math
(STEM), where demand is outpacing supply worldwide. Math being the
foundation of STEM, and in turn innovation, the situation requires
urgent attention. Beyond STEM professions, we are seeing very
significant innumeracy in a very large segment of the population,
which has severe consequences on the ability to understand the world's
Key questions to explore:
1. What should the goal of mathematics be in the 21st
a. What are the reasons for teaching mathematics? (as a
tool, to train abstract thinking, to train logic and reasoning, the
ability to argue/as a way of expression?)
b. How have the goals of mathematics drifted over time?
(Priest class-- logic, merchant class--accounting, trade class--
measurement and geometry, and how this changed after the industrial
c. How does the present system achieve or fail to achieve
d. What is the role of Higher Ed accreditation in
perpetuating the status quo? e. What branches of mathematics
matter to the widest number of professions? Are they adequately
represented in the curriculum?
f. What is "math for the real-world"? How do most
professions use Maths? What could they use they are not
2. What are the best practices curricula from around the
world? How do these succeed or fail to achieve the needs and
possibilities of the 21st century?
a. When should math be a separate topic, vs just-in time
practice embedded in other disciplines such as Robotics?
b. In reverse and for instance, should financial literacy
be part of Mathematics?
c. When should we continue leading in formalism, vs
transpose and lead with examples and applications to guide students
d. How do we inject skills (Creativity, Critical Thinking,
Communication, Collaboration) into math knowledge acquisition?
e. How do we inject Character attributes (perseverance,
ethics etc) into math knowledge acquisition?
f. Are computers offering a radically different
approach that is underexploited? What is the difference between
computer-assisted and computer-based?
Uniqueness compared to potentially similar global
. Specificity, timeliness,
granularity, and action-orientation of recommendations, and in
particular what a 21st century Maths curriculum should be
. Consequences for education
agendas short/medium/long term. Setting the stage for extensive 2013
global Math curriculum redesign program, eventually including seminars
for policymakers and educators.
. Factoring in technology's
dislocative role to its full extent for explicit linkage between
technology progress and Math education
. Consequences on innovation
agendas in general
for conference details.
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
625 Wham Drive
Mail Code 4610
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610
Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O]
(618) 457-8903 [H]
Fax: (618) 453-4244