The South East Asian Mathematics Education Journal (SEAMEJ) is an academic journal devoted to publishing a variety of research studies and theoretical papers in the field of mathematics education. SEAMEJ seeks to stimulate discussion at all levels of the mathematics education community. SEAMEJ aims to eventually publish an edition twice a year, in June and December.
SEAMEJ is supported by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), Centre for Quality Improvement of Teachers and Education Personnel (QITEP) in Mathematics situated in Yogyakarta Indonesia. Launched on July 13, 2009, there are now three QITEP SEAMEO Centres for Quality Improvement of Teachers and Education Personnel in Indonesia. One centre is in Mathematics (Yogyakarta), one in Science (Bandung) and one in Languages (English - Jakarta).
In this issue we present papers that were subjected to a blind review process by the International Review Panel and we are thankful to the panel for their continued support.
This collection of papers reflects the diversity of contributors with papers originating from research conducted in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. The first paper examines the 2011 TIMSS data across the four Southeast Asian countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Readers should not rush to make simplistic comparisons among the four countries as there is sufficient international research available to discourage cross country comparisons of TIMSS due to issues of validity. However the main strengths and value of this paper are found in the insights provided within each country. The results provide a challenge to each country to build on their strengths and strive to improve the other areas. There is no golden way as each country must work within their own context.
The next paper focuses upon the integration of ICT into Indonesian school classrooms.It is a broad ranging paper that attempts to summarise the current Indonesian situation while providing suggestions and challenges for the reader and is courageous enough to make predictions for the future.
Another Indonesian paper follows involving the rural provinces of Ambon, Serui,Yapen, and South Sorong, Papua and reports on an intervention study involving the development of the operation of addition from a basic level to an abstract level using concrete material. It offers some very practical ideas to teachers and teacher educators.
This is followed by three papers that make reference to commercial dynamic software programs. While it is important to state that we the editors are not endorsing any specific commercial product, and that there are many freeware programs available such as GeoGebra that teachers could use if they do not have the necessary funds, nevertheless we should not ignore commercial programs either nor fail to acknowledge that it is sometimes the developers of these commercial products that provide leadership and innovation in the field.
Among all the papers were some small studies that reported promising results. The issue facing all research is sustainability. Will the results continue once the fuss dies down or when the procedure is no longer new or novel and becomes routine. The Hawthorn effect is well known in research disciplines.
A recent OECD (2015) report has cast similar doubts to the many claims that technology will solve all the problems in the classroom. Technology works best when it is carefully targeted to a specific purpose and the role of the teacher remains crucial to success. OECD (2015) concluded after extensive data collect that:
“One interpretation of all this is that building deep, conceptual understanding and higherorder thinking requires intensive teacher-student interactions, and technology sometimes distracts from this valuable human engagement. Another interpretation is that we have not yet become good enough at the kind of pedagogies that make the most of technology; that adding 21st-century technologies to 20th-century teaching practices will just dilute the effectiveness of teaching” (p. 3).
However, the report was also optimistic, concluding that:
“To deliver on the promises technology holds, countries will need a convincing strategy to build teachers’ capacity ... it is vital that teachers become active agents for change, not just in implementing technological innovations, but in designing them too” (p. 4).
We recommend to our readers that they get a copy of the report and add it to their professional reading. Keeping in mind, that as the report such as this tends to summarise results, and thus outliers at both ends tend to disappear. Hence there will be examples of highly integrated technology schools and technology absent schools that get lost in the process.
Although our first journal was distributed in 2011 we are still refining our processes, and we wish to apologise if we have made errors or omissions. We always welcome feedback and suggestions for improvement, but most of all, we welcome paper contributions.
This Journal seeks articles highlighting empirical as well as theoretical research studies, particularly those that have a perspective wider than local or national interests. All contributions to SEAMEJ will be peer reviewed and we are indebted to those on the International Advisory Panel for their support.
Dr Wahyudi and Assoc. Prof. Allan L White