The ALM bulletin is a bimonthly newsletter from Adults Learning Mathematics (ALM).
ALM is an international research forum bringing together researchers and practitioners in adult mathematics/numeracy teaching and learning in order to promote the learning of mathematics by adults.

ALM bulletin: September 2020

We are all finding new ways to work now and ALM is no different. In July we held our first virtual Annual General Meeting, which was attended by 20 ALM members, plus 7 others, who were distributed across the globe from Canada to India. It was really great to see so many familiar faces, but such a shame that we could not meet physically to share ideas and catch up on the latest news, due to the cancellation of our annual conference (ALM 27), which had been organized by Judy Larsen and was planned to take place in Vancouver, Canada.

ALM is full of creative people though. Charlotte Arkenback (Sweden) hosted and organized the Virtual AGM. Marc Jorgensen (Utah, US) was our ‘Chatmaster’ who enabled members to contribute and ask questions. Lynda Ginsberg (New Jersey, US) counted the votes, whilst I chaired the meeting from the UK.

John Keogh, (Ireland), updated us on the membership (see his report online) and Diane Dalby (UK) took over the role of Treasurer from Jurriaan Steen (The Netherlands) who has now stepped down from the board of trustees. Lynda Ginsberg and Jeff Evans updated us on the work of the International Journal, about its latest edition, the future inclusion of practitioner articles, the new ethics statement and copyright. Judy Larsen and Catherine Byrne (Ireland) then talked through plans for the ALM virtual seminars (see the report below and watch the ALM website for further details.) The main vote taken and agreed concerned an extension to the length of tenure of some trustees for a year. This will enable some continuity in these unusual times, allowing us to utilize our joint expertise to transform ALM’s online presence and stay true to our Articles of Association (thanks to advice from David Kaye). We also voted to co-opt two new trustees, who are introduced in the section below.

ALM’s transformation continues this year with the plenary speakers from ALM 27 agreeing to contribute to a series of virtual seminars which will be organized and run throughout the year and advertised on the ALM website. The ALM website continues to be updated by Linda Jarlskog (Sweden) but there are also exciting plans being discussed for new ways to keep in contact with members, so keep an eye on the website and the bulletin.

Meanwhile we are hoping for a return to some normality and are currently making plans to hold the ALM 28 conference in 2021 in Hamburg.

One thing is for sure, the importance and influence of mathematics and statistics on our very way of life has become more apparent during the current world crisis. Certainly, every day in the UK we have been shown numerical data and various graphical representations to explain the reasons for the profound changes imposed on our lives. The need for good reliable research into mathematics and how it impacts our lives has become even more essential, so please do consider joining us for the virtual series or contributing to the Journal.

Dr. Beth Kelly
Chair of ALM

ALM trustees

We have published a list of the current trustees and officers on the ALM website. If you would like to know more about the current trustees you can find short summaries of their lives and interests at We are sorry to lose Jurriaan Steen from the ALM trustees this year but delighted to welcome two new trustees: Kees Hoogland, Professor of Mathematical and Analytical Competences of Professionals at the University of Applied Science in Utrecht (The Netherlands) and Lisanne Hellmann, researcher at Hamburg University (Germany), who is the main contact for the Hamburg Numeracy Projekt. You can read more about Kees and about the Hamburg Numeracy Projekt (in Dutch and English), which involves six different sub-projects about mathematics, by following these links.

Dr. Beth Kelly
Chair of ALM

ALM 2020 Virtual Seminar Series

ALM is planning to run a series of virtual seminars over the coming year, which will include panel discussions and seminars. The first virtual seminar will take place on the 15th October at 18.00, Coordinated Universal Time . Here is a useful Time Zone converter . The panel discussion is entitled “Adults Learning Maths in the lockdown” and is being organised to coincide with Maths Week Ireland 2020. We have a panel of speakers for this event from a variety of different contexts who have been working during the lockdown. The topic for discussion is “What was the main impact of working virtually when teaching maths to adults in their particular context and what might we all learn from that experience?” You will find up to date information on this and other seminars at

We welcome all ALM members to join in and contribute to questions during the session. Please register in advance at

Special issue on numeracy (ZDM)

The special issue (ZDM 52(3), June 2020) entitled “Numeracy and vulnerability in adult life” was free until end of July but four papers are still open access (and will remain so, as per arrangements between authors and the journal). These are listed below and can be freely downloaded. Since we seldom see whole journal issues devoted to numeracy and adult learners, this special issue seems particularly relevant to ALM members and bulletin readers.

Numeracy, adult education, and vulnerable adults: a critical view of a neglected field (Iddo Gal, Anke Grotlüschen, Dave Tout, Gabriele Kaiser)
Numeracy and migrant students: a case study of secondary level mathematics education in Norway (Guri A. Nortvedt, Eline Wiese)
Numeracy practices and vulnerability in old age: interdependencies and reciprocal effects (Christine Zeuner, Antje Pabst, Melanie Benz-Gydat)
Whose voices matter? Adults with learning difficulties and the emancipatory potential of numeracy practices (Silke Schreiber-Barsch, Wiebke Curdt, Hanna Gundlach)
All 16 papers in the special issue can be found here:

The editors would like to say thank you to all reviewers and contributors, some of whom belong to the ALM network. We hope you enjoy reading, quoting and sharing this special issue.
Professor Iddo Gal, University of Haifa, Israel, and Anke Grotlüschen, University of Hamburg, Germany (Guest Editors).

Future bulletins

We hope that you are enjoying the regular ALM bulletin. If you have news from your part of the world that may be of interest to our international community then please do get in touch with Diane Dalby or send her a short draft item for the next bulletin by November 1st.

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