Delivering Computer-Based Math™ to the World
The 2013 Computer-Based Math™ Education Summit, one of the world’s pivotal forums for global math education reform, took place this past November 21–22 in New York City’s UNICEF Headquarters. Over 130 attendees gathered from across the globe and all aspects of education, including teachers, researchers, and policymakers, in order to tackle the changing landscape of primary and secondary school mathematics education worldwide.
Conrad Wolfram, founder of Computer-Based Math™ (CBM), set the theme of the conference in his keynote address: “How do we deliver improved life opportunities worldwide by cooperating on a fundamental rethink of the math curriculum?” The question continued to spark rigorous debate throughout the summit, even generating some laughs as attendees wondered, “Do we really need to memorize the quadratic formula?”
The two-day summit showcased a diverse range of speakers representing the many facets of math education that need to come together to make sustainable change. The panels and Q&A sessions covered a wide range of topics across the educational spectrum, from engaging students and providing worldwide educational opportunities to re-imagining assessment and influencing policy.
Conrad Wolfram also announced exciting news at the start of the summit—a partnership between Wolfram Research and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, which would provide Mathematica and the Wolfram Language on every Raspberry Pi computer. As Eben Upton, Co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, explained during his talk at the summit, this partnership is a big step toward promoting CBM philosophy worldwide.
The atmosphere was alive with a sense of purpose and action, and attendees were encouraged to do more than just listen. Hands-on workshops and group discussions had everyone sharing their thoughts and expertise. Alec Titterton and Kristjan Korjus guided attendees through a fully functional CBM-inspired lesson, using Mathematica to display interactive applications and real-time data as students submitted their answers. This learning environment will soon become the norm in Estonia—the first country to adopt CBM for its statistics courses. In fact, by 2014, Estonia will be implementing CBM curricula in 30 pilot schools, with specially trained teachers.
The summit came to an end with an open brainstorming session: attendees contributed ideas to finding immediate ways to proactively introduce CBM in schools and policy. With so many engaging speakers and inspiring discussions, this year’s Computer-Based Math™ Education Summit was a great success. We thank all those who participated and encourage everyone to keep the conversation going. If you are interested in doing more to help CBM make a lasting change in math education, consider sponsoring our cause or offering your expertise.
We look forward to next year’s summit, and hope we’ll be seeing you there!