During the week of June 24th, the School of SEIGS hosted a visit by Prof Anna Steinweg, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Education in the University of Bamberg, Germany. Anna is the Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Human Sciences and Education and holds the position of Head of the Bamberg Centre of Teacher Education. She has researched and published extensively in the areas of mathematics education, algebraic thinking, technology in education. She is currently the editor of ‘Mathematikdidaktik Grundschule - Proceedings of Conferences of the Research Group on Primary Mathematics Education’ and is a reviewer for Educational Studies in Mathematics. During her visit, Anna delivered a keynote address to SMEC 2018, where she provided a context for her research, by discussing design research and the German approach to STEM education more generally (MINT initiatives).
Anna was invited by Aisling Twohill who has engaged in multiple conference working groups with Anna as they share common interests in primary school children’s algebraic thinking, along with student-teachers’ preparation to support children’s emerging thinking. Anna and Aisling recently had chapters printed in Teaching and Learning Algebraic Thinking with 5- to 12-Year Olds, a Springer publication that builds upon the work of the ICME-13 (International Congress on Mathematical Education) Topic Study Group 10 on Early Algebra. Based on empirical findings gathered in several countries on five continents, this volume provides a wealth of best practices for teaching early algebra. Anna’s chapter combines findings from three German studies to explore the interplay between children’s developing algebraic thinking and their engagement with mathematics more broadly. Aisling’s chapter presents findings from her PhD study wherein she explored the emerging algebraic thinking of children attending school in Ireland, focusing on shape patterns as a context for functional thinking.