MEI Conference 2020
(MEI Mathematics in Education and Industry)
Thursday 2nd to Friday 3rd July
Venue online with Microsoft Teams

What a fabulous opportunity, in 2020, to join the MEI Conference.  After a long journey from the kitchen to the study, I made myself comfortable for the welcome from Charlie Stripp, the chief executive of MEI.  Three thousand delegates had signed up, one from Australia, to enjoy two days of Maths enrichment.  Charlie summarised the outline for the two days and followed with some useful positives and concerns following three months of lockdown.   

Here are some of my highlights from the two days.

Session B ‘What not to do in an online classroom – learning from our mistakes.’  Jo Sibley.
What a wonderful session providing useful tips to manage the new learning environment.  I have been teaching online since 2016 and really appreciate finding out about the latest equipment, procedures and safeguarding issues.  They are forever changing, what was the best equipment/software one year may not be the next.   A few of the takeaways that I am practising; avoid using the webcam to reduce the burden on the bandwidth, have screens open and maximised for sharing, find ways for students to continue sharing written Maths.  I have since been working on finding ways to use a visualiser, two of my set ups can be seen by clicking below.

Jo also recommends DESMOS classrooms which I have been checking out and thoroughly enjoying.  I will definitely be using these at the first opportunity this week. 

Session F ‘Rethinking the teaching of trigonometry at key stage 3 and 4’ Alison Hopper and Debbie Barker
I was excited to hear the ‘rethinking’ from Alison and Debbie having recently completed an unusual trigonometry lesson for my family, friends and neighbours. 

Our dog, Barley hosting a lesson on trigonometry.

The main take aways here, for me, were; to ensure prior knowledge is secure, teach for understanding and focus on the unit circle.  There was mention of finding ‘friendly’ numbers so I wonder how Barley’s use of a circle with a radius of two units would fare, I’ll be checking that one out.  So Barley immediately got to work on the unit circle🤣

Still like the hand though which was enthusiastically taught to me by a student. 

So much more in this session to follow up and not least the soon to be released new resources, can’t wait.  You can sign up for notifications here

The first day ended with some inspiring poems from Harry Baker.  So refreshing to hear the arts (if Maths isn’t?) mixed with Maths and in such an emotional way.  I have been sharing them with anyone who will listen.  The romance of 59 meeting 61 and making a perfect match twice that of 60 and then the moving poem written in March, just before the lockdown, about the improbability that we are here at all and to dream the impossible, thank you Harry.

Session J ‘Measuring space using key stage 4 Maths’ Nicole Cozens.
An awesome session to ignite your your passion for space and use it in the Maths classroom.  I was able to do that the very next day.  I am now the coolest Auntie for letting my nephew, year 8, land his spacecraft and he did better than me.

My landing
My nephew’s landing

We had time to engage with some of the calculations which was a rare opportunity to try the degrees, minutes and seconds button. 

Plenty more to work through and this session also inspired me with DESMOS classrooms. 

A huge thank you to all the presenters for delivering such valuable sessions to just a computer screen👏🏻 with such poise, calmness and professionalism.  And thank you to everyone who made it possible.

If there are any errors, omissions or misrepresentations please let me know at jforsythe@passion4maths.com

MEI Virtual Conference 2020
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