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Seamej Vol 6 2016

Editorial

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 (Jakarta). 

In this issue we present papers that were subjected to a blind review process. This collection of papers reflects a limited thematic approach using the context of Disaster Risk Reduction involving earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis etc. This is an interesting development and its progress will be closely monitored.

Attempts at teaching mathematics via a thematic approach are claimed to be good for relating mathematics to real-life situations. However, research shows that large scale attempts at teaching mathematics thematically have not been very successful due to teacher perceived obstacles involving instructional, curricula and organisational factors. Teachers are worried that it is difficult to follow the set syllabus and that more time is spent teaching the students about the thematic context than the mathematics thus reducing precious available mathematics time. The Australian state of New South Wales in the 1990’s via the Education Department introduced one of three years 9 and 10 secondary school mathematics courses using a thematic structure. The course consisted of eight themes and ten topics. The themes included: (a) Mathematics of our Environment, (b) Mathematics involving Food, (c) Mathematics in the Workplace, (d) Building Design, (e) Mathematics involving Sports, (e) Mathematics in the Community, (f) Handcrafts, and (g) Tourism and Hospitality. It was not successful. In general, teachers opted for instructional styles that used applications of mathematics rather than using a theme as the context for overarching the development of the lesson. Teachers tended to shift among different teaching styles depending on the classroom context and would revert to teaching mathematics via topics rather than in themes. The Realistic Mathematics movement appears to be more successful at giving relevance to mathematics in context without sharing the problems of the thematic movement.

The rate of change in the field of technology is breathtaking and this includes the humble scientific calculator. The early models attracted a good deal of criticism with claims of not being suitable for schools or over fears students would become mere button pushers. It is time to review these early beliefs and the next paper argues that calculators can play a valuable role in supporting students’ learning last year the OECD (2015) issued a report that stated:

“To deliver on the promises technology holds, countries will need a convincing strategy to build teachers’ capacity …” (p. 4).

The author of this paper provides such a strategy through a model for the educational use of calculators consisting of four key components: representation, computation, exploration and affirmation. This paper should convince many readers that it is time to reconsider the place of scientific calculators within the classroom.

This is followed by a paper that discusses TPACK and SAMR which provide frameworks for integrating technology within the mathematics teaching and learning process with a particular focus upon Tablet technology.

The final paper highlights some of the implications of brain research for mathematics teaching and learning and has a particular focus upon the importance of understanding, compression and insight.

Since our first journal was distributed in 2011 we have continued to refine our processes although we have yet to reach perfection and we 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 External Advisory Panel for their support.

Wahyudi and Allan L White

OECD (2015), Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection, PISA, OECD Publishing. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264239555-en

 

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