The Adults Learning Mathematics – 30th Annual Conference was hosted by the University of Limerick., Ireland.

The conference was held from 3rd – 5th July 2023 at the University of Limerick.

Please find the detailed programme for ALM30 here.

Click on the items below for more information:

Conference theme

ALM30 Conference: 

Numeracy Theory and Practice in a Changing World.

The theme is not limited to numeracy, but also includes all forms of mathematics education for adults

Keynote speakers and Keynote theme

Keynote speakers and Keynote theme

The following people will deliver keynote addresses at ALM30.

Prof. Merrilyn Goos: Why adult numeracy matters for active citizenship

Merrilyn Goos

Merrilyn Goos is Professor of Education at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Previously she was Professor of STEM Education and Director of EPI*STEM, the National Centre for STEM Education, at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Before moving to Ireland, she worked for 25 years at The University of Queensland, Australia, in a range of academic roles including Head of the School of Education. Following her first career as a food technologist, she taught mathematics, chemistry, and food science in secondary schools and technical colleges in Australia.

Her research has investigated students’ mathematical thinking, the impact of digital technologies on mathematics learning and teaching, the professional learning of mathematics teachers and mathematics teacher educators, curriculum and assessment reform, gender equity in STEM education, and numeracy across the curriculum and the lifespan. Over more than 20 years, her numeracy research and development program has been supported by more than $1.5 million in external funding. As well as yielding many research publications and reports to government agencies, this work has produced exemplary teaching resources and a widely used teacher education textbook.

Merrilyn is currently Vice-President of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction and previously served as Editor-in-Chief of Educational Studies in Mathematics and President of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (MERGA). In 2022 she was awarded the MERGA Career Research Medal for sustained and distinguished achievement in mathematics education.

Prof. Hamsa Venkat:Primary pre-service teachers’ STEM project learning reflections

Hamsa Venkat

Hamsa Venkat holds the Naughton Chair in Early Years/Primary STEM Education in the School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies and is a Full Professor at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University. Hamsa joined DCU in 2022 and is responsible for research, supervision and teaching/teacher development in STEM in ECEC) and primary levels. Her background is in mathematics education, and she has extensive experience of materials/teacher development, research and evaluation studies related to projects and interventions in early mathematics across England and South Africa. She is currently working on a STEM Literature Review commissioned by the National in Ireland that will guide curriculum specifications development. She has extensive experience of publication and supervision related to early mathematics and mathematical literacy.

Dr Maria Ryan: ‘Travelling a Rocky Road’ – Insights into the impact of mathematics anxiety on adults’ mathematics journeys and how this can inform practice.

Maria Ryan

Dr Maria Ryan is an assistant professor in Business at Mary Immaculate College, School of Post-Primary Education, where she lectures Business Mathematics, and mentors student-teachers during their school placement experiences.

Maria has been lecturing service mathematics throughout her career in higher education and is acutely aware of the challenges students face which lead to anxiety towards mathematics. This career path prompted her PhD research, which looked at mathematics anxiety among mature students using mathematics life story to identify differences between high and low mathematics anxious students’ engagement with mathematics and possible sources of their anxiety towards mathematics. Her current research continues to explore mathematics anxiety among undergraduate students of service mathematics using mathematics life stories.

Maria is PhD supervisor to students researching mathematics anxiety among pre-service teachers, mathematics learning difficulties in adults, and mathematics education in the prison context. She also works with pre-service and in-service mathematics teachers as research advisor, including delivering mathematics anxiety awareness training for primary school, secondary school, further and higher education; the exploration of suitable methods to alleviate mathematics anxiety; and mathematics anxiety workshops for parents.

Maria is co-chair of the Mathematics Resilience Network – Ireland Branch, and is co-author of The Mathematics Anxiety Handbook (forthcoming).

Maria has two teenage children, and when she is not cheering them on from the sideline, she likes walking, travelling and reading.

Ms Elaine Cohalan: Adult Numeracy in a Digital World: Challenges and Opportunities

Elaine Cohalan

Ms. Elaine Cohalan is Innovation Manager and has been part of the senior management team at Ireland’s National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) since early 2019.

Elaine leads national services for NALA (Learn with NALA) that support adult literacy learners in addressing their unmet needs in literacy, numeracy and digital literacy.  This  includes  a  one-to-one  personalised  tuition service,  online  learning,  resources  and  supports.  Elaine also leads NALA’s professional development services for adult literacy practitioners. These are delivered through events, training, online learning and resources. A core part of this work involves initiating and driving innovative approaches to NALA’s services through educational technology and research.

Prior to her role in NALA, Elaine spent over 12 years working in various private and public further education, training and Educational Technology organisations in Ireland in project management and leadership roles. Her educational background spans many areas including software development, cognitive science, business, management and leadership.

Program overview

Program overview

Please find the detailed programme for ALM30 here.


Programme Committee

  • Dr Niamh O’Meara (Chair)
  • Prof John O’Donoghue
  • Prof Kees Hoogland
  • Dr. Fiona Faulkner
  • Dr Olivia Fitzmaurice
  • Dr Mark Prendergast
  • Dr Kathy O’Sullivan

Local Organising Committee

  • Dr Niamh O’Meara
  • Ms Helen Fitzgerald
  • Ms Deborah Tudge
  • Ms Megan Tuite

Dr Niamh O’Meara

Dr Niamh O’Meara is a lecturer in mathematics education based in EPI∙STEM in the Univeristy of Limerick. She is also the deputy director of EPI∙STEM, Ireland’s only centre for STEM Education. Niamh completed her PhD in 2011, under the supervision of Prof. John O’Donoghue and Dr Olivia Fitzmaurice, by investigating the knowledge required to teach mathematics at second level. Her research interests include teacher knowledge, curricular issues in mathematics education, improving attitudes and performance in mathematics and numeracy education for all learner, including adults. In recent years Niamh has worked with colleagues across Europe to develop the Common European Numeracy Framework, a framework designed to identify key factors in improving the quality of numerate behaviour of adults (see She has also worked closely with Ireland’s National Adult Literacy Agency [NALA] and produced a series of guidelines for good practice in integrated and standalone numeracy provision. Most recently Niamh was lead author on a report, commissioned by NALA which sought to investigate adult learners’ understanding and conceptualisation of numeracy.


ALM30 was organised in collaboration between

  • ALM Adults Learning Mathematics and
  • EPISTEM, the National Centre for STEM Education at the University of Limerick, Ireland

Financial support for this conference was kindly received from:

  • Failte Ireland
  • Tipperary Education and Training Board
  • EPISTEM, the National Centre for STEM Education at the University of Limerick, I





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