News from the STEM Networks
Many projects have taken place and resources been developed in Phases 1 and 2 of the LSIS STEM programme.
Thinking Through Mathematics was originally developed as part ofthe Maths4Life project for non-specialist teachers of mathematics, based on Improving Learning In Mathematics, originally available as hard copy plus CDs, and now available online. It has been very well received by teachers and teacher trainers, particularly those involved in Skills for Life, but also across the sector and in other phases. It supports teachers to develop their personal mathematical skills alongside their teaching skills, as well as providing resources for use with learners.
Improving Learning in Mathematics has had significant impact across a wide number of areas (it formed the basis of many of the LSIS engineering materials and of Learning Mathematics in Context), and continues to be widely used across mathematics and numeracy in colleges and other providers, because it is based firmly in research and is focused on developing teachers of mathematics, regardless of phase or setting. It is also used right across initial teacher education in all phases. ILIM also formed the basis of many of the materials produced by the Functional Skills Support Programme, for example Teaching and Learning Functional Mathematics. Improving Learning in Mathematics is also available to secondary schools, and can be ordered direct from the NCETM; it is also available online via the Excellence Gateway.
Mathematical Moments, published by LSIS, recognises the need for teachers to improve their personal mathematical skills and their teaching skills. Through a series of short exercises it supports teachers to deepen their understanding of topics which they or their learners might find challenging, offers them learner materials embodying active learning strategies, and supports them to reflect on how successful these strategies have been.
Leading Mathematics in the Learning and Skills Sector, published by LSIS, supports learning provider staff who have a leadership role in mathematics or numeracy. It explores aspects of leadership in mathematics, presents some of the challenges that mathematics subject leaders might face, and prompts readers to reflect on these challenges and find ways of addressing them. It includes sections which invite leaders / managers to become aware of the many areas (including ‘academic’ and ‘vocational’ programmes) where mathematics is taught, to develop a vision for the shape of mathematics teaching in their organisation, to work on practical ways of embedding mathematics into a wide range of learning activities and programmes, and to see mathematics as part of a wider STEM agenda.
The FE Magazine (produced and published by the NCETM after LSIS funding ended) offers bite-sized hooks and tasters for mathematics teachers across the learning and skills sector. It flags up new resources and CPD events, outlines the latest developments and initiatives in mathematics education, draws teachers’ attention to a variety of opportunities through which they could undertake research and development projects, and tempts teachers to improve their personal maths skills by offering them engaging challenges.
Practitioner-produced resources, available online and in CD format, offers practitioners resources produced and trialled by their peers to deal with topics which they have found particularly challenging to teach, or which have challenged their learners.
Action-research projects: the LSIS STEM programme funded and supported teachers to research local mathematics teaching issues, develop solutions, and share their insights with colleagues across the sector. You can find out more on the NCETM Taking Action Measuring Impact microsite.
Mathematics Vignettes: in these short videos and the accompanying discussion materials, mathematics subject learning coaches describe their personal journeys as they develop and then use the skills needed to make changes in their organisations.
Mathematics in the Care Workplace (due for completion March 2010) supports the development of mathematical skills among people employed to provide care for elderly and/or vulnerable adults. It will include a guide for learning providers who work or wish to work with care staff. The guide will provide:
- essential background information about the care sector,
- insights into the mathematical demands of care workers’ jobs, and the attitudes to mathematics among care managers and staff, and
- strategies for supporting active on-the-job learning.
An accompanying project report will describe the action-research that led to the guide and frame the project in a wider body of research and in the wider employment and skills agenda.
Managing STEM in the learning and skills sector, due for completion March 2010, is aimed at middle and senior managers in the learning and skills sector with responsibility for STEM subjects. It builds on the Talking STEM resource and on a range of other Phase 1 projects and resources, identifies crucial success factors in each subject area, offers strategies for addressing these key issues, and supports the reader to make plans to develop local solutions.
Brain Games offers, in an online quiz format, opportunities to practise mathematics skills at Level 2 and Level 3. Although designed primarily for the ‘end’ learner studying on Diploma programmes, and focussing on the relevant mathematics at Level 2 and Level 3, it will be of interest to teachers who want to develop their own subject knowledge at this level. Practitioners will also be able to join a workshop in March at which they will be supported to develop further batches of questions; creating such questions certainly challenges and develops the mathematics skills of the quiz setters as well as quiz ‘competitors’.
Practitioner-produced resources: as a follow-up to Phase 1, a further set of practitioner-produced resources is being developed and trialled. As in Phase 1, the practitioners have focussed on topics they have found particularly challenging to teach, or which have challenged their learners.
Action-research projects: as in Phase 1, the Phase 2 LSIS STEM programme funded teachers to research local mathematics teaching issues, develop solutions, and share their insights with colleagues across the sector.
Note 1: Unless otherwise specified, information about these projects and resources is available (or will shortly be available) on the Excellence Gateway.
Note 2: Phase 1 of the LSIS STEM programme ended in July 2009; Phase 2 ended in March 2010.