A MESSAGE FROM THE NEW CHAIR OF HPM
Dear colleagues and friends of HPM,
Greetings and welcome to Newsletter 93 of the HPM Group! I have assisted with the Newsletter for several years now, but this is the first time I need to address the whole group in an explicit way – so I ask for your forgiveness for my first attempt at a communication of this type.
First, I would like to thank Luis Radford for his service to the HPM community, as chair of the HPM Group for the last four years. I also wish to thank the members of the Advisory Board, the members of the Executive Committee, the Newsletter editors and distributors (especially to Helder Pinto for formatting contributions from all over the world into such an inviting format), and the friends and colleagues of the community for all the work, interactions, and contributions made over the last four years. Being a participant in this community (for just about 12 years now) has been one of the most professionally satisfying aspects of my career, and I am grateful to be a part of it.
Since I am late in getting this message to Helder so that the November 2016 newsletter can be distributed, I will not introduce myself at great length. Here is a short summary of who I have been as a mathematics educator (broadly) and one who is interested in how history and pedagogy of mathematics belongs in mathematics education.
Many of you know me in my post-Ph.D. life; however, I lived another life in mathematics education before I became an active member in the HPM Group. I taught high school mathematics from 1987 to 2001 and in 2001 I was awarded an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, and as part of that fellowship, I served on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, advising legislators in matters of educational policy. During that one-year fellowship, I realized that I knew very little about the education profession, and I decided that I should pursue a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education to rectify that. However, just before leaving the classroom, I became involved with The Institute for the History of Mathematics and its use in Teaching, and through that work – as a high school mathematics teacher field testing modules from what would become the Historical Modules (Katz & Michalowicz, 2004) – I met Victor Katz and the first stone in my path to a Ph.D., as well as my future academic career, was set.
I completed my Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Mathematics Education specialization) at the University of Maryland College Park, and Victor Katz continued to be a strong influence in my work there (including serving on my dissertation committee). Victor was also the first to bring such conferences as ICME and the HPM satellite meeting to my attention. I attended my first ICME meeting in 2004 (ICME 10, Copenhagen) but due to lack of funding, I was unable to attend HPM that year. Since 2004, however, I have attended two ICMEs, three HPMs, three ESUs, and three CERMEs.
I moved to Tallahassee, Florida in 2006 and because of the pre-service teacher education program that was in place at FSU when I first began, I was able to engage in work that I am still very much interested in: investigating (problematizing?) the role that history of mathematics plays in teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching.
My work at FSU has changed quite a bit in the last 10 years, and as a result, I have needed to diversify and expand my interests about the role of history of mathematics in mathematics teaching and learning. I am excited to be involved with two efforts – both since 2015. In the first, I have been working with colleagues from the University of Siegen (Ingo Witze, Gero Stoffels) and the University of Cologne (Horst Struve) on a project in which a seminar based on the historical development of a particular branch of mathematics (geometry, in one case) is used to address the transition problem faced by university students preparing to teach mathematics (the transition from school to university mathematics, in particular). In the second effort, a team of mathematicians is developing and testing primary source projects (PSPs) for use in undergraduate mathematics classrooms. One goal of the project (TRIUMPHS: Transforming Instruction in Undergraduate Mathematics via Primary Historical Sources; http://webpages.ursinus.edu/nscoville/TRIUMPHS.html) is to conduct research on the implementation of the PSPs, and the five-year project promises to contribute a variety of outcomes, perspectives, and classroom materials.
Of course, without a community like the HPM Group, many of us would not know the potential for such work and collaboration around the world. HPM 2016 and ICME13 provided two venues in which to meet and engage others interested in the various HPM domains. Taken from the HPM Group’s website: The HPM Group seeks to [combine] the history of mathematics with the teaching and learning of mathematics, …[and] HPM is the link between the past and the future of mathematics. Therefore, the group aims at stressing the conception of mathematics as a living science, a science with a long history, a vivid present and an as yet unforeseen future.
This is the work we engage in – along many paths and from many perspectives. It was so lovely to interact with colleagues with whom I share a “kindred spirit” in both academic work and personal interests, and to meet new friends and colleagues. I hope to see at future HPM meetings and conferences. If HPM 2016 or ICME 13 were the first for you: welcome to the HPM community. If you were motivated and enthused by the people, places, and work that you met there, I sincerely hope that you will consider joining us at the European Summer University 8 (ESU8) in Oslo, Norway in 2018. Or, perhaps you have a paper or poster you will present at CERME10 in Dublin, Ireland in February 2017; if so, I look forward to seeing you there. Or, perhaps you are interested in the several meetings that will take place in other parts of the world (see this newsletter for details of such meetings and events). In any and all of these cases, I hope that you will contribute just as much as you take away: this is certainly the group for which this is highly possible.
In the next Newsletter, I will revisit initiatives that have carried over from Luis’ Chairship, including revisiting the “research dossiers.” Additionally, I will be working with the existing Advisory Board to establish the Executive Committee for this term (2016-2020). In the meantime, please contact me if you have questions, concerns, ideas, etc. – and I will try to address them to the best of my ability (and if I am unable, then the Executive Committee and Advisory Board can certainly assist me in doing so). Finally, I thank the Newsletter distributors for their work in disseminating the Newsletters to interested folks around the globe. We may be in need of folks to help us in this work, so please stay tuned for invitations in this regard!
Florida State University, USA