2013 – 2014 Webinar Series

Webinar 6

Researching ALM – which methodological approach fits your research question?

Prof. Armin Hollenstein

Universität Bern, Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft, Abteilung Pädagogische Psychologie

Date: May 22nd

Time: 10:00 (GMT)

Identifying an adequate methodology is a key step in any research process. Methodological approaches have unique characteristics which are more or less suited to answer specific research questions. This webinar is targeted at anyone standing at the beginning of a research project and thinking about what method is best suited to answer his/her research question. Learn more about specific characteristics of both quantitative and qualitative methods and the contexts in which their advantages are most useful. In this webinar a short input on different methodologies and research designs is given, afterwards specific projects will be discussed. If you have a project or an idea for a project that you would like to discuss in this webinar, please get in touch with us so we can organize the details (armin.hollenstein@edu.unibe.ch andsonja.beeli@edu.unibe.ch).

To view the recording of this session:


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Webinar 5

What do I teach? Mathematics, Numeracy or Maths

David Kaye

Learning Unlimited

Date:  29th April

Time: 18:00 (GMT)

In the proceedings of the first ALM conference held in 1994 there was an article entitled ‘Towards a Definition of Numeracy’ by Alexandra Withnall. Her final paragraph states:

At present, there is a tendency for policy-makers, practitioners and researchers alike to talk about ‘numeracy’ as though they shared a common understanding of its meaning. In examining some of the attempts to grapple with a definition already made, it has to be concluded that we do not, as yet, have an all-embracing operational definition with which to work. Nor, it seems, is it necessarily desirable to do so. Numeracy must remain a fluid term capable of re-conceptualisation according to the contexts in which it is used and by whom.

This is still the mission I am following, and I hope in joining this webinar you become part of this process of “re-conceptualisation” which continues 20 years on.

Since 1994 I have explored this in many ways. I found that many colleagues in ALM found themselves defining numeracy as part of a larger research aim. Others chose to define, or re-define mathematics in particular contexts of teaching and learning. I have collected together many of these statements, and they are all relevant to my question of “What do I teach?”

A thought experiment I hope to do during the webinar, which you can practice now (in private or public), is to read a policy or theoretical statement about mathematics and replace the word ‘mathematics’ with ‘numeracy’ – or vice versa – and evaluate how you feel about the changed statement.

I have considered not only how ‘Numeracy’ is defined but have compared those statements to descriptions of ‘Mathematics’, which initially many people do not consider needs defining at all.

In the UK recently there has been a tendency to use the term ‘numeracy’ less, especially with reference to adult education. However, it is not replaced by ‘mathematics’, but by ‘maths’. I am now questioning the use of this abbreviation. When do you use the word ‘maths’? Can it always be replaced by ‘mathematics’ and have the same meaning?

ALM Definitions

David KayeDavid has been part of ALM for 20 years including taking on the role of secretary for a number of years. He has worked in Further Education in the UK since the early 1990s and in more recent years has been a teacher educator for adult numeracy and mathematics. He currently works for the Institute of Education (University of London) on the post-compulsory PGCE (Mathematics with Numeracy) and for Learning Unlimited on a wide range of professional development projects. He takes a particular interest in the nature of mathematical knowledge and the history of mathematics.



To view the recording of this webinar click here on the link below:

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Webinar 4

“How can BBC Skillswise best support adults to learn maths and English in classrooms, as well as at workplaces, at home and in everyday life?”

Michael Rumbelow – BBC

Date: Wednesday 26th March

Time: 12:00-13:00 GMT

”In the UK the adult basic skills sector is going through the most radical changes in a decade, as England moves from the decade-old Skills for Life framework – based largely on the national school curriculum and multiple choice tests – to functional skills – based on real-world situations and open-response assessments. Scotland continues to develop learner-focused, embedded approaches to adult literacies, and Wales and Northern Ireland are restructuring their national adult skills frameworks. At the same time the government has announced that apprenticeships are the ‘new norm’ for adults who don’t go to university and is raising the age of compulsory participation in education and training from 16 to 18, with a new requirement to continue working towards Level 2 maths and English.

BBC Learning is currently planning the next generation of Skillswise to support adult learners in this fast-changing environment, on a newly-launched, mobile and tablet-friendly BBC online platform.

In this Webinar BBC Skillswise producer Michael Rumbelow will talk about some of the learning theory and research the BBC is using to guide development of new numeracy resources – much of it sourced from ALM conferences and proceedings, as well as workshop sessions held at the BBC and trials with adult learners. He would also welcome any comments or suggestions on how the BBC can best support adult learners of mathematics with available technologies and in the current formal and informal learning environments in the UK.”

michael rumbelow

Michael is the producer on BBC Skillswise bbc.co.uk/skillswise, a set of online videos, games, quizzes, printables and more recently mobile phone tools to support adults learning maths and English. Skillswise is the most used online learning resource in adult literacy and numeracy classes in the UK.

Michael has worked for 12 years in BBC Learning, previously working on Bitesize, Primary languages, jam and Class clips. Before the BBC he worked as a secondary school maths teacher, an editor of online multimedia news at financial news service Bloomberg and as a journalist for computer games magazine Amiga User International.

He has been a regular visitor to ALM annual conferences since 2008.

To view the recording of this webinar please click here

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Webinar 3

PIAAC results: Care needed in reading reports of international surveys

 Dr Jeff Evans – Middlesex University

Date: Tuesday 18th March

The release of the results from the international Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) in October 2013 created substantial interest in the media and amongst policy makers and educators. (It was followed closely by the reporting of results in December from PISA, the survey of 15-year olds, also produced by the OECD). In this webinar I will examine the sorts of statements made in reporting the PIAAC results in the media and elsewhere, in order to draw out lessons for reading international surveys of this kind. This is especially important because these ‘secondary’ sources are often the only basis for what citizens and adult numeracy workers know about the surveys.

Available on the day of the release of the international report [1], the results also include individual country report(s), e.g. [2], and access to the data itself: see


[1] OECD (2013). OECD Skills Outlook 2013.Paris: OECD. Online:


[2] OECD (2013). OECD Country Note: England and Northern Ireland (UK). Online:


JE_IPinaug_0107Jeff Evans is Emeritus Reader in Adults’ Mathematical Learning in the School of Science & Technology, Middlesex University. His research interests include: adults’ numeracy;   mathematical thinking and emotion; research methodologies in the social sciences and education; images of mathematics in popular culture. He has been an active member of Adults Learning Mathematics Research Forum, since 1993. Some of his critical methodological work has been done with colleagues in the Radical Statistics Group. During 2008-13, he was a member of the Numeracy Expert Group for PIAAC (Project for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies), the first results of which were published by OECD in October 2013.


To view the recording of this webinar please click on the following link


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Webinar 2:

Will be presented by leading Maths Educator, Dave Tout, Australia

What factors makes a numeracy item difficult? Two complexity schemes reviewed and implications for teaching and learning.

Date: Monday June 17th 2013

Time: 12-1pm IST/BST

The recording of the webinar is available here http://ittdublin.adobeconnect.com/p6u1m6121pj/

Download the presentation here.


ALM – Helping to make Connections

Webinar Series Number 1 May 23rd

Literacy + Mathematics + Language = Numeracy. Does the Equation Work?

Webinar 1 2013: was presented by leading Mathematics Educator, Dave Tout, Australia
Date: Thursday 23rd May 2013 Time: 12-1pm IST/BST

This presentation looked at some important issues related to the teaching and learning of (adult) numeracy. What is numeracy? How does it relate to literacy? What is its relationship to Mathematics? Does it connect to Language? If so, how? What are some of the key variables behind this equation and how do they impact on teaching numeracy successfully? The recording of the webinar is available here http://ittdublin.adobeconnect.com/p4yp0u1i3k7/

Dave Tout Dave Tout is a leading adults maths educator.  He has over 30 years experience working in the youth and adult numeracy and mathematics education sectors. He has had wide experience not only in teaching and training, but also in working at a state, national and international level in research, curriculum, assessment and materials development. In Australia he is particularly renowned for his hands on workshops, which not only make maths fun, but also demonstrate how a range of maths issues and topics can be addressed. Dave joined ACER in 2008, where he is a Senior Research Fellow, and has worked on national and international assessment projects including PISA.