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Creating Numerate Futures

by Kristine Kopelke, 8 months ago

A few weeks ago, our Contemporary Learning Hub hosted the inaugural Numerate Futures Conference and Leadership Summit. The vision for this annual event is to bring the best Numeracy and Digital Technologies educators from across Queensland and beyond together annually to explore effective, innovative and contemporary pedagogies that can be used to support students to develop their understanding of numeracy, mathematics and digital tech concepts. We want our students in Queensland to be given opportunities to develop the skills they need across these learning areas to enable them to be the inventors, creators, programmers, data analysts and informed users of digital tech. Put simply, you can't program robots without working mathematically and you can't leverage the full potential of a world enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT) without a generation that can analyse, assess the reasonableness and understand the data it provides.

The idea for Numerate Futures came about whilst I was having fish and chips whilst waiting to do an online webinar with Peter Carmichael and Rob Proffitt-White. Peter and Rob are part of the DET North Coast Region team but are like rock stars in the world of numeracy and mathematics. They are adored by the thousands of teachers they work with, provide leadership to and support and coach each year. Even more so, they are great people. People who work and go above and beyond simply to make things better. I knew that between us we could make Numerate Futures a reality.

After months of planning the day arrived and we were thrilled to have educators from across the state present. We were equally thrilled to have leading Numeracy and Digital Tech educators as presenters and facilitators for the program. One of the educators who gave up their Saturday to run a Masterclass was fellow Digital Champion Joel Speranza. Check out his Champion profile at http://godigitalqld.dsiti.qld.gov.au/JoelSperanza. Joel hosted a Masterclass on Flipping your Maths Classroom and participating educators told me afterwards his session was mind blowing. I have been hunted down, emailed and called to be told just how amazing Joel is and as a result of his session we now have another 24 educators from across the state making plans to innovate like Joel and leverage the potential of digital tech in their own mathematics classrooms. Without the connections I have made being part of the Advance Queensland Digital Champions program, this would never have happened. It is a privilege to be part of a program that allows me to connect and interact with leaders and innovators like Joel.

In addition to Joel's Masterclass, the program featured many other sessions that supported educators to develop their skills, knowledge and fluency in the use of digital technologies. These covered everything from Rocking Mathematical Thinking with Robots, Coding to Develop Mathematical Understanding, Mathematical Makerspaces and Crafting Mathematical Thinking with Minecraft.

Every participant at the Numerate Futures Conference also adopted an Edison Bot. We now have a couple of hundred robots being used in Queensland classrooms with some teachers taking their very first steps in programming robots using barcodes, block based programming applications and Python. As they do this, they learn about sensors, LEDs, microprocessors and other digital components. We will also be supporting them to explore how the robots can be used as part of design and programming challenges that promote mathematical thinking.

We are now turning our attention to how we can continue to support our newly formed Numerate Futures Community and how we can make the 2018 Conference and Leadership Summit even better. We would welcome your support if you share our vision. Here are some pics showing some highlights and technologies used as part of our Numerate Futures Conference and Leadership Summit Program.

Adrian Greig from Maleny State School is seen here using Scratch and a Hummingbird Robotics Kitto create an invention for use in his classroom.

Meridan State College students doing a Clap Controlled Driving activity using the sound sensor on the Edison bots. These bots can also be programmed via the bar codes to sumo wrestle.

Queensland Educator, iPad Monthly Author and 'If I Were a Wizard' AuthorPaul Hamilton shares his expertise in using code to develop mathematical thinking.

A group of our Meridan State Colllege students engaging in a problem solving task involving programming a Pro-Bot to draw shapes with set perimeters and angles.

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