From Math to Mayor

The mayor of Woodstock, Ontario isn’t called the “Coolest Mayor East of the Rockies” for nothing. Elected in 2014 by a sizable margin, Mayor Trevor Birtch is a champion of inclusivity and sustainability. He puts long-term benefits for his community over short-term cost-savings for a few, and genuinely wants to leave he world in better shape than he found it.

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How To Help Students Convert Written Problem-Solving Into Mathematical Language

MathemaTIC Blocks, developed with teachers and researchers, came out of the assessment that students need a hands-on approach to problem-solving. This interactive tool offers flexibility for students to create an equation through a structured process. It helps students develop reasoning skills such as identification and recognition of relationships.

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The Fields Institute MathEd Forum – January 2017 Meeting

The Fields MathEd Forum hosted by the Fields Institute’s Centre for Research in Mathematical Sciences is dedicated to presenting the latest research and best practises from researchers and educators at all levels of mathematics education. At the January forum, I had the opportunity to listen to researchers share their current research projects in mathematics education. Here are a few of the highlights from the forum.

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IMPROVING STUDENT SUCCESS IN GRADE 9 APPLIED MATHEMATICS - FIELDS MATH ED FORUM

The Fields Math Education Forum October meeting focussed on a single project called the Grade 9 Applied Mathematics Collaborative Inquiry Project. The project was a joint effort from the Ministry of Education, OAME, OMCA, and researchers at the University of Ottawa to document and support different teacher strategies in grade 9 applied math classes to improve student success.

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THE LUXEMBOURG MINISTRY OF NATIONAL EDUCATION SIGNS A CONVENTION WITH VRETTA FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND GENERALIZATION OF MathemaTIC FOR CYCLE 3 AND GRADES 7 & 8

The Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg signs a convention with Vretta to extend the development and generalization of MathemaTIC for students in Cycle 3 (equivalent to Grades 3 & 4) and Grades 7 & 8. This is in support of the “Digital Lëtzebuerg” strategy announced by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel in October 2014, under the leadership and guidance of Education Minister, Claude Meisch, the Director of SCRIPT, Luc Weis, and the Coordinator of the Project, Amina Afif.

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Vretta receives the learning and development award for the best use of blended learning to increase student success

We are thrilled to announce that we have received the prestigious Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Learning award in the category of Learning And Development for increasing student success using blended learning programmes


Vretta was awarded a bronze award for the Best Use of Blended Learning.

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Technology in the mathematics classroom: experiences at ICME-13

At the end of July, I travelled to Hamburg, Germany for the 13th International Congress on Mathematics Education. With over 3,400 participants, and hundreds of papers, posters, lectures, and discussion groups, you would think it would be almost too big to make sense of.


However, something that quickly becomes clear is that the numeracy issues that we are facing in Ontario are not an anomaly. All over the world, people recognize the need to keep driving the art and craft of teaching mathematics forward, while keeping up with the new challenges that today’s students introduce.

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The French Ministry of Education partners with Vretta to deploy large-scale interactive assessments

Since 2014, the Division of Evaluation, Planning and Performance (DEPP) at the French Ministry of Education has piloted and implemented digital assessments for their national tests conducted in secondary schools. However, as is typical in most countries, infrastructure and the availability of devices is much stronger in secondary schools than in primary schools.


In September 2015, the DEPP entered into a partnership with Vretta, a global educational technology solutions provider, to collaboratively design a deployment plan and develop a technology solution to assess the performance of primary school students in France.

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The Luxembourg Minister of Education, Minister Claude Meisch, expresses his admiration for MathemaTIC on Radio

During an interview on RTL Letzebuerge, Minister Claude Meisch – Minister of National Education, Children and Youth, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, shared his positive views of MathemaTIC.


MathemaTIC is a personalized learning environment that provides students with digital tools designed to identify and strengthen areas of weakness in mathematics. Students have 24/7 access to these tools on any mobile device, including computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

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The prime minister announces that our project makes luxembourg an international front-runner in digital learning

This is a proud moment for Vretta & all the international partners on the MathemaTIC project.


The Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, made an announcement that the personalized learning platform, MathemaTIC, developed in partnership with the The Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, international partners and Vretta, makes Luxembourg an international front-runner in digital learning!


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HOW ONE TEACHER GETS HER STUDENTS EXCITED ABOUT MATH

During a lesson on effective interest rates, Maria Sairoglou, Professor of Business and Finance Mathematics at Seneca College, decides to put down the textbook and have a little fun.


A credit card company, she says, has just set up a table on campus, and students are flocking to it to sign up for their first credit card. She reminds her class that credit is important to build, and that according to a huge sign next to the table, the interest rate is only 1.75% per month.


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Field Math Education Forum – A Book Talk on Vital Directions in Math Education

New Feature: Live Stream

This month, I attended the Fields Math Education Forum remotely using the live stream that was made available for the first time last month. It worked great – I wish it had been implemented years ago! Of course, visiting the Fields Institute in person is wonderful and the community is terrific, but if you are unable to visit the Fields Institute in person I definitely recommend the live stream. The stream shows both the speakers on stage, and the slides being shown, which was great.


The Fields Mathematics Education Forum meeting this month was a Book Talk about Vital Directions in Mathematics Education(2013). Each speaker at the Forum took on a chapter from the book to discuss with attendees.


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A thought-provoking research day at the fields mathed forum

From “Connecting spatial reasoning to math learning” to “Building Thinking Classrooms”, the Research Day at the Fields Math Ed Forum was an interesting learning experience filled with thought-provoking discussions, presentations and poster sessions, centered around evaluating the current math education climate and practices used in Ontario and Canada as well as identifying better methodologies for success in mathematics.


In the morning session, Dr. Catherine Bruce, an Associate Professor at Trent University, shared her findings of spatial reasoning and its influence on math learning in young children. As a self-proclaimed new comer to the spatial reasoning research world, Dr. Bruce quickly identified that there has yet to be a great consensus on what spatial reasoning is.


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DEVELOPMENTAL MATH – A KEY FOCUS AT THE AMATYC 41 ST ANNUAL CONFERENCE

I attended the 41 st annual AMATYC conference, which was held in New Orleans and had approximately 1,400 attendees from colleges across the country.


The three day conference was a rigorous series of back-to-back presentations and discussions on innovative ways of helping students with developmental mathematics, in addition to numerous other topics.


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Examining mathematics in a wider context by taking into account all stem disciplines, at the Canadian Mathematical Society conference, Montreal, Canada

The Canadian Mathematical Society is the largest conference in the country that is dedicated to mathematics and math education. This conference brings together specialists from all over the world and consists of specialized sessions and plenary lectures that are followed by an extended discussion.


It was great to meet specialists who take interest in math education at the post-secondary level, with a focus on students who have just transitioned into a post-secondary institution from high school.


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Vretta has been awarded the contract to implement math Assessments & Remediation resources to prepare students for post-secondary education

Humber College, the institution leading the implementation of the provincial Math Assessment for placement and Remediation resources, announced that it has selected Vretta to be the partner in facilitating the implementation of these resources at Humber and other participating colleges across Ontario.


The provincial assessment and remediation resources were developed through the College Student Achievement Project (CSAP) with all the colleges in Ontario, and it was funded by the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities. The overall purpose of the CSAP Assessment Project is to enhance student success at college. Building on assessment items submitted by college faculty, the CSAP team (with Vretta as its technology partner) developed an online diagnostic math assessment, based on the principles of Assessment for Learning. The assessment items have been psychometrically analysed and validated through extensive field trials involving about 10,000 students at high schools and colleges in Ontario.


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Exchange of Ideas on Assessment Policies and Practices at the AEA-E 2015 Conference in Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow was the venue for the annual meeting of the Association for Educational Assessment–Europe (AEA-E) from November 4-6, 2015. I attended the conference along with my colleagues, Anand Karat and Charles Anifowose, from Vretta. There were some 300 other delegates from over 30 countries at the conference. The theme of the conference was Assessment and Social Justice and many of the papers presented focused on ways in which assessment policies and practices are changing to promote greater social justice through education.


Conference delegates were for the most part professionals in the educational assessment field, working for national and international assessment or examination agencies, or academics whose teaching and research is centred on aspects of assessment. There are several associations of such people in the world of which the AEA-E is one of the most popular. The conference featured keynote addresses from leading figures in the field as well as concurrent sessions in which members presented the result of their latest work. However, conferences are not all work; this one featured a malt whisky tasting in which a professional whisky blender introduced us to the delights of malt whiskies from five different regions of Scotland.


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A life changing experience for students of the Haiti Awareness Trip 2015

We would like to express our deepest thanks to Vretta for supporting the Haiti Awareness Trip 2015. Our entire group of students, faculty and trip leaders wish to extend our appreciation for all that you did to help facilitate this trip for the group that travelled to Haiti between April 26 and May 3, 2015.


The experience proved to be life changing for so many students in our group. A few students were on a plane for the first time, a few had never been out of Canada, most of them didn’t know what it felt like to be part an ethic minority group that didn’t speak the native language.


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The Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg enters into a partnership with Vretta to revolutionize the way students learn mathematics.

Glasgow was the venue for the annual meeting of the Association for Educational Assessment–Europe (AEA-E) from November 4-6, 2015. I attended the conference along with my colleagues, Anand Karat and Charles Anifowose, from Vretta. There were some 300 other delegates from over 30 countries at the conference. The theme of the conference was Assessment and Social Justice and many of the papers presented focused on ways in which assessment policies and practices are changing to promote greater social justice through education.


Conference delegates were for the most part professionals in the educational assessment field, working for national and international assessment or examination agencies, or academics whose teaching and research is centred on aspects of assessment. There are several associations of such people in the world of which the AEA-E is one of the most popular. The conference featured keynote addresses from leading figures in the field as well as concurrent sessions in which members presented the result of their latest work. However, conferences are not all work; this one featured a malt whisky tasting in which a professional whisky blender introduced us to the delights of malt whiskies from five different regions of Scotland.


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Raising The Social Consciousness for Fanshawe College Students through the Haiti Awareness Trip

We are excited to have Vretta offer its support for the FSU Rotaract Haiti Awareness Trip 2015 (HAT’15) for participating students at Fanshawe College.


The HAT’15 is a social consciousness trip planned to provide participating students at Fanshawe College with the first-hand international exposure to what they have learned in the classroom. Through this trip, students will interact and witness personal testimonials from people living in situations that are different from what they experience here in Canada.


Through this initiative, students will be involved in,


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Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for Business Math

MOOCs are steadily gaining ground in the post-secondary education system. With the convenience of flexible online class times, MOOCs allow learners to fit courses into their own schedules.


In 2014, the country’s first MOOC for Business Math was successfully delivered by Holland College that is located in the beautiful Prince Edward Island. Of the 85 students enrolled in the pilot MOOC, 71 were from Canada, with the remaining taking the course all around the globe.


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This report summarizes the development and delivery, student demographic, and institutional impact of the MOOC for Business Math that was delivered at Holland College.


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