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Highlights from AAMT 2019

AAMT 2019 in Brisbane was an excellent conference and very worthwhile. Here are some of my highlights:

James Tanton

James Tanton is an amazing (Australian) educator in the US who is always inspiring. In his keynote he stated the first two steps in problem solving are 1. Be human (have an emotional reaction) and 2. Do something (anything!) He then listed five natural principles of mathematical thinking, which are (paraphrased) 1. Don’t answer the question in front of you, 2. Utilise the power of visualisation, 3. Work hard to avoid hard work, 4. Seek the story behind the topic, and 5. Walk into hazy thinking.

MathsCraft

MathsCraft is a maths program developed by ACEMS for problem-solving like research mathematicians. Excitingly, they are developing a Years 5-10 curriculum for use in class from 2020.

Financial Basics Foundation

The Financial Basics Foundation is a non-profit organisation for promoting financial literacy to students. They have lots of great resources on their website. They also provide the ESSI Money game for teachers to use with classes of students to develop financial literacy, and is a very engaging tool.

Dr. Sara Herke

Dr. Sara Herke had an incredibly engaging keynote on Graph Theory, on both its theory and applications. She has an excellent YouTube channel on this topic (plus others) which is educational for students and teachers alike. Dr. Herke also talked about applications of Graph Theory to Rock-Paper-Scissors, and various extensions to the game.

Artificial Intelligence

Yoni Nazarathy presented a double session to explore artificial intelligence in a way that mathematics teachers could understand. One great takeaway was the Neural Network Playground which allows us to explore and understand what they do.

Dr. Catherine Attard

Dr. Catherine Attard is a leading researcher from WSU into engagement and the role of technology in mathematics education. She presented on the effective use of technology in mathematics, and proposed the Technology Integration Pyramid. There was too much valuable information to relay in just a paragraph, but it will be in her upcoming book (due early next year).

Australian Signals Directorate

Dr. Andrew McCallum, director of cryptology at the ASD, highlighted the enormous amount of maths that is needed at the directorate. One cool resource that came out of the talk is CyberChef, a fantastic tool for cryptology that would be useful for the classroom.

International Mathematical Modelling Challenge

The IM2C is an international competition for Years 7-12 that Australia has done quite well in. Its aim is to promote mathematical modelling to solve real-world problems. It would be a great activity to develop modelling skills in maths students, and the Australian site has a lot of great resources.

EquatIO

EquatIO is a nifty system for writing mathematics that is incredibly useful (especially for those who use LaTEX). It costs money, unless you’re a teacher!

Manic Math

Finally, my biggest highlight was actually a product (!), Manic Math. This is a Kahoot-style game for arithmetic (and algebra, coming soon). It also has an app, and is extremely engaging.

There were countless other interesting things that came up during the conference, and a lot of them were posted on the Twitter feed.