ALM 2020/21 Virtual Seminar Series

ALM 2020/21 Virtual Seminar Series

The ALM 2020/2021 virtual seminar series has been completed after 7 inspiring and well-visited seminars by, respectively, the Irish Maths Week, Keiko Yasukawa, Jeff Evans, Linda Ahl, Peter Liljedahl, Marta Civil, Javier Díez-Palomar, and Kees Hoogland.

Previous Virtual Seminar presentations can be found at our YouTube Channel !!

ALM Virtual Seminar Organizing Committee

  • Charlotte Arkenback (Sweden)
  • Catherine Byrne (Ireland)
  • Kees Hoogland (The Netherlands)
  • Linda Jarlskog (Sweden)
  • Beth Kelly (UK)
  • Judy Larsen (Canada)

The seventh virtual seminar “Building a Common European Numeracy Framework (CENF)”

The seventh virtual seminar “Building a Common European Numeracy Framework (CENF)” took place on Thursday 18th March 2021.

Name of Speakers: Kees Hoogland (The Netherlands) & Javier Díez-Palomar (Spain)

Bios of Speakers:

Kees Hoogland is professor of Mathematical and Analytical Competences of Professionals at the HU University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht. He is member of the OECD Numeracy Expert Group for the second cycle of PIAAC, and chair of the thematic working group Adult Mathematics Education at CERME12. Kees has worked as mathematics teacher, teacher educator, researcher, textbook author, journal editor, and CEO. He was active as consultant on mathematics and numeracy education in Belarus, Dutch Antilles, Greece, Indonesia, South Africa, Surinam, Mexico, and Denmark.

Javier Díez-Palomar is associate professor at the University of Barcelona. He is member of the OECD Numeracy Expert Group for the second cycle of PIAAC, and co-chair of the thematic working group Adult Mathematics Education at CERME12. He is also permanent member representing Spain in the Commission Internationale pour l’Ètude et l’Amélioritation de l’Enseignement des Mathématiques (CIEAEM) since 2012. Javier has worked as researcher and associate professor at different universities, teaching mathematics for pre-service and in-service teachers. He is also active in teaching mathematics to adult learners in an adult school. He has been expert on numeracy skills for the Spanish Government (2020-21).

Abstract/session description: 

A consortium of European countries is developing a Common European Numeracy Framework. This work is carried out in the eponymous Erasmus+ project funded by the European Union. In the webinar a sneak preview of the Common European Numeracy Framework (CENF) under construction will be given to the participants.

Numeracy demands on individuals are clearly increasing due to the digitalisation and technologizing of society. For many people, a certain level of numeracy is not only a prerequisite to get access to professional opportunities, but also to fully participate in our civic society (health, finances, political participation, understanding media communications, etc.)

Key idea in the framework is that numeracy education is all about improving the quality of numerate behaviour of individuals in daily life and in their professional contexts. The framework acknowledges that numeracy is a multifaceted concept and that there is an intricate interplay of cognitive, psychological, sociological, and situational factors that affects the quality of numerate behaviour. As a consequence, adults learners have a unique individual profile of strengths and weaknesses regarding their numerate behaviour and are best served by a tailor-made approach when they aspire to expand their numerate repertoire.

The framework tries to chart the concept of “numeracy as a social practice” in a set of categories and rubrics which can be used by practitioners, teacher trainers, researchers, curriculum developers, and policy makers for shaping and providing numeracy education.  The framework builds on high-standing previous frameworks in which members of the ALM community and others were involved, like the IALS, ALL, and the PIAAC assessment framework.

The webinar is a collaboration between the ALM Virtual Seminar Series and the Erasmus+ project CENF Multiplier Events Series.

By the way, our aim is to be inclusive, so we think this framework is more global than European. 😊


The sixth virtual seminar “We also think and solve problems”: Mathematical conversations with immigrant adults

The sixth virtual seminar “We also think and solve problems”: Mathematical conversations with immigrant adults took place on Thursday 25th February 2021.

Marta Ci

Name of Speaker: Marta Civil (USA)

Bio of Speaker: Marta Civil is a Professor of Mathematics Education and the Roy F. Graesser Chair in the Department of Mathematics at The University of Arizona. Her research looks at cultural, social, and language aspects in the teaching and learning of mathematics; participation in the mathematics classroom; connections between in-school and out-of-school mathematics; and parental engagement in mathematics. Her work is situated in working class, Mexican American communities and is based on a funds of knowledge orientation. She has led several funded projects working with children, parents, and teachers, with a focus on developing culturally responsive learning environments in mathematics education.

Title of session: “We also think and solve problems”: Mathematical conversations with immigrant adults

Abstract/session description: This presentation draws on over twenty years of mathematics projects with parents (mostly mothers) primarily of Mexican origin. While most parents join these projects driven by an interest to gain a better understanding of their children’s schooling, as they engage in the mathematical activities themselves a learner identity emerges. At the center of our work is the concept of parents as intellectual resources. This concept was developed in relation to their identity as parents, but I argue that it should also be central to the work with adults as learners of mathematics. Drawing on socio-cultural theory, in particular the work around funds of knowledge and on ethnomathematics, I will discuss some insights and wonderings from talking and listening to parents as they engage in mathematical explorations.


Previous Virtual Seminar presentations can be found at our YouTube Channel !!


The fifth virtual seminar “Numeracy vs. Numberacy

The fifth virtual seminar “Numeracy vs Numberacy” took place on Monday 1st February 2021.

Name of Speaker: Peter Liljedahl (Canada)

Bio of Speaker: Dr. Peter Liljedahl is a Professor of Mathematics Education in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. He is the former president of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME), the current president of the Canadian Mathematics Education Study Group (CMESG), senior editor for the International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education (IJSME), on the editorial boards of ESM, JMTE, MERJ, MTL, CJSMTE, and a member of the NCTM Research Committee. Peter is a former high school mathematics teacher who has kept his research interest and activities close to the classroom. He consults regularly with teachers, schools, school districts, and ministries of education on issues of teaching and learning, assessment, and numeracy.

Title of session: Numeracy vs Numberacy

Abstract/session description: Before we can begin to think about what it means to teach numeracy we have to come to terms with what it is we mean by numeracy and what it means for someone to be numerate. In this session we will explore this construct through some mathematical experiences and discuss which of these experiences offer us opportunities to be numerate and which do not – and from this critically consider various definitions of numeracy that we may wish to subscribe to. 

The fourth virtual seminar “Adults Maths in Prison Education

The fourth virtual seminar “Adults Maths in Prison Education” took place on Monday 11th January 2021.

Name of speaker: Linda Ahl (Sweden)

Bio of speaker: Dr. Linda Marie Ahl is a teacher and a researcher. She teaches upper secondary mathematics courses to adults enrolled in the Swedish prison education program. She has a wide range of research interests including: individualized instruction, the implementation of research findings in mathematics education, progress of conceptual fields, mathematical reasoning, mathematical communication, and design of classroom teaching.

Title of session: Individualized Mathematics Instruction for Adults The Prison Education Context

Abstract/session description: Linda will describe her research into individualized instruction of mathematics in the Swedish prison education system. Her approach tailors content, technology and pace to each student’s ability and interest, which presents a challenge for adult educators. Adult mathematics students may each have a different prior knowledge of mathematics, as well as negative affective feelings and mathematics anxiety. Their rationale and motivation to study mathematics may also vary, including: a wish to achieve certification, to overcome previous negative learning experiences, or other personal reasons.

Her thesis aims show how to organize individual mathematics instruction for adult students without certification, to give them an opportunity progress and reach their goals.

Linda undertook four case studies in the Swedish prison education system and the methods were:

  • the development and evaluation of a student’s test of prior knowledge on proportional reasoning
  • interviews focusing on a student’s rationales for learning
  • a retrospective analysis of events in relation to feedback situations
  • an analysis of a common student error in relation to the role of language representation as a signifier for triggering students’ understanding.

She used the results to create a Model for Individualized Mathematics Instruction of Adults, MIMIA, in the Swedish prison education programme.

MIMIA – A Model for Individualized Mathematics Instruction for Adults

The third virtual seminar “The Use of Statistics: what can a numerate citizen learn from the Covid-19 pandemic?

The third virtual seminar The Use of Statistics: what can a numerate citizen learn from the Covid-19 pandemic? took place on 19th November 2020.

Name of speaker: Professor Emeritus Jeff Evans
Bio of speaker: Jeff Evans is Professor Emeritus of Adults’ Mathematical Learning at Middlesex University, London. He is active as a researcher in adult mathematics education, and in ALM as a Trustee and a member of the ALM International Journal Editorial Team. A founding member of Radical Statistics, he is co-editor of Data in Society (Bristol University Press, 2019).
Title of session: The Use of Statistics: what can a numerate citizen learn from the Covid-19 pandemic?
Abstract/session description: The Covid-19 pandemic has made unprecedented demands on ordinary citizens, as well as on teachers and researchers, to improve their understanding of what is going on, and therefore to strengthen their data literacy, or numeracy. Many questions occur to us.
•                   What is happening with Covid-19 in my country now?
•                   How is it changing, and how fast?
•                   How does this country compare with other countries?
•                   What can we learn from the data so far, e.g. about explanations?
During the talk we will use one of the available sources of data to begin to answer our questions and will also consider some of the pitfalls in following developments with Covid-19. We will also offer some pointers for understanding data (characteristics, sources, …) across many fields.


The second virtual seminar “Numerate environments in a changing world” 

The second virtual seminar “Numerate environments in a changing world” took place on 29th October 2020 (30th October in Australia !).

Name of speaker: Dr. Keiko Yasukawa
Bio of speaker:  Keiko Yasukawa is a lecturer and researcher in adult literacy and numeracy education at the University of technology Sydney in Australia. Her research focuses on the nexus between policy, practice and pedagogy. Her recent publications includes the book co-edited with Alan Rogers, Kara Jackson and Brian Street Numeracy as social practice: global and local perspectives published by Routledge.
Title of session: Numerate environments in a changing world

Abstract/session description:  How are adults’ demands and opportunities to learn and develop numeracy being transformed through some of the profound changes facing people around the world? In this presentation, I consider climate change and precarious employment as two examples of changes affecting people in a range of different contexts, and examine what these contexts afford for numeracy learning and development. To provide a lens for this study I draw on the construct of the numerate environment that Jeff Evans, David Mallows and I have been developing over the last few years. While popular discourses  use results of large-scale assessments to legitimate deficit narratives about individual’s numeracy abilities, the numerate environment shifts the gaze from the individual to their environment. In doing so, we can gain a more nuanced understanding of the kinds of numeracy practices that are demanded of individuals to negotiate life in this environment, and what opportunities and supports are available for learning and development and how these are distributed in the environment.


The first virtual seminar  “Adults Learning Maths in the lockdown”  

The first virtual seminar  “Adults Learning Maths in the lockdown”  took place on 15th October 2020, organised to coincide with Maths Week Ireland 2020.
For more information about the discussion please click here.

The panel included:
Merrilyn Goos

Merrilyn is Professor of STEM Education and Director of EPI*STEM, the National Centre for STEM Education, at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Before taking up this position she worked for 25 years at The University of Queensland, Australia.
Discussion Topic:
Lost and found: How the pandemic is affecting mathematics education research

Much mathematics education research is conducted in schools or other education settings. And education researchers nurture their creativity and collaborations by attending conferences in their own countries or abroad. But the pandemic has put a stop to these activities, at least in their usual formats. I will share stories of what has been lost, but also of ways we have found to “keep going” with our research so that we can continue to reach out to teachers and learners.

Dave Mulvaney 

Dave teaches Mathematics, IT, Bookkeeping and Beekeeping in Crumlin Youthreach, an education,  training and work programme for early school leavers aged 15-20 years of age. Part of City of Dublin Education Training Board (CDETB) service. Dave delivers Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to teachers on Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). He is a mentor on Technology Enhanced Learning Mentoring Support (TELMS), a pan-European Erasmus+ project.

Discussion topics:

Dave will speak on how he taught Mathematics using Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) during the lockdown,  and his use of platforms like Nearpod, Edpuzzle, Kahoots and YouTube. Dave has offered ALM links to his material in advance of the seminar.

Reginald Temple

Reginald worked in industry for 28 years in a variety of IT roles including management and training. This was followed by 8 years teaching ICT to adults in a learning centre, Gingerbread (the lone parents’ charity) and North West Regional College (NRWC), a further education and higher education college in Northern Ireland. For the last 12 years Reggie has been teaching numeracy and mathematics in HMP Maghaberry, near Lisburn in Northern Ireland.

Discussion topic:

The challenges and advantages of teaching mathematics during lockdown, learner engagement and motivation as well as student reactions and responses.

Graham Griffiths

Graham Griffiths is a Lecturer in Education at the UCL Institute of Education, London, England. He is responsible for the Post 16 teacher education programmes including one for mathematics and numeracy. Graham has worked in education for 30 years and has contributed and led a range of national projects in the UK. He is a trustee for the Joint Mathematical Council of the UK.

Discussion Topic:

Lockdown presented a number of challenges to teacher education. Like most education we have our own teaching to deal with and moving online was a challenge for us. A bigger issue was the development of teaching practice when face-to-face sessions were restricted, along with the assessed work that went in parallel with this practice. I can feedback on national and local guidance.

Jackie Gorman

Jackie Gorman Is CEO of Midland Science, a family learning organisation, which applies theories of science capital to informal learning through recreational activities. She has over 25 years experience  in local development. She also has worked in West Africa on issues relating to fair trade and tourism from 1998 to 2001. She is a graduate of Athlone Institute of Technology, National University of Ireland, Galway and Dublin City University with qualifications in business and community development.

Discussion Topic:

We are committed to a science capital approach – engaging students with science and maths and promoting social justice.We could not engage in our regular programmes during lockdown and so developed Youtube videos in place of face to face contact. We now have 4 Mathematical Moments videos pitched at adults/older children (History of place value, and Fibonnaci ) and 2 are aimed at parents/younger children (pictures books with mathematically focused questioning).

Introduction to the Virtual Seminar Series