To commemorate International Day of Mathematics (IDM), the Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) held a conference titled 'Mathematics for EVERYONE', in collaboration with The Dawood Foundation (TDF)'s MagnifiScience Centre. The two-day event highlighted the connections of math with life.
The first day of the conference was held in person and included several interactive sessions, math displays, learning activities and workshops. Sessions for the second day were all held online.
Dr Nusrat F. Rizvi, Associate Professor, AKU-IED shared that: "This year's theme emphasises that mathematics is not confined to classrooms, textbooks, or teachers' minds. Rather it is embedded in all sorts of human experiences. This requires teachers to reflect on how they can provide practical learning experiences to their students."
Karima Esmail, co-author Dynamo Maths, discussed a predicament that a large number of the world population faces when it comes to understanding mathematics, saying: “The key is to understand that there's a difference between simple math developmental delays and dyscalculia. With proper identification and then intentional and purposeful intervention, it is possible to make headway in treating it as well as saving suffering individuals from a world of distress."
Dr Andreas Matt, Managing Director, IMAGINARY, who delivered one of the keynote addresses titled, 'Let's play with Artificial Intelligence!' said: “For me, mathematics is not only a universal language we all speak, but it also is a common base of reasoning, of connecting ideas and understanding, and of asking questions, that nobody has answered yet. And, at its core, it is very creative and playful! Thus, it is for everyone!"
“Our world, more than ever before, is pervaded by mathematics: I do believe that by working together we can find ways for us all to engage with and enjoy those ideas," said Dr Jenefer Golding, Associate Professor, University College London. The esteemed professor delivered a talk on 'Large scale international studies in mathematics: benefits, limitations and their potential for teachers and teacher educators'.
Prof. Stephen Lyon, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, AKU, emphasised the importance of using math to understand the complexities of the world around us. After conducting a session titled 'Kinship Algebra and Cultural Reproduction' he said: "Mathematics is a great tool for describing and understanding the world around us. The versatility of the different branches of mathematics open new ways of formally analysing complexity that enhance all disciplines—especially the ones that are trying to make sense of the rich and messy chaos of human thought and behaviour."
Regarding the collaborative effort between AKU-IED and TDF's MagnifiScience Centre, Ms Sabrina Dawood, Vice Chair, TDF shared: “This conference has opened the doorways for teachers and students of Mathematics to explore the world through the lens of logic. Not only do events like this pave the way for better teaching and learning, but also for a better understanding of how math can be used to solve daily life problems."
With a high turnout, both in-person and online, AKU-IED hopes to see a practical shift in the way Mathematics will be taught to students in Pakistan.