KARACHI: The connections of mathematics with life were highlighted as the Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) and The Dawood Foundation’s (TDF) MagnifiScience Centre joined hands to hold a two-day online and in-person conference — Mathematics for EVERYONE — to commemorate International Day of Mathematics (IDM).
The event concluded on Tuesday.
The first day of the conference was held in person and included several interactive sessions, math displays, learning activities and workshops. All sessions on Tuesday were held online.
During the conference, Dr Nusrat F. Rizvi said: “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 of Dynamo Maths, discussed a predicament that a large number of the world population faces when it comes to understanding mathematics, saying that “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 of IMAGINARY, a non-profit organisation for the communication of current research in mathematics based in Berlin, delivered one of the keynote addresses on the topic of ‘Let’s play with Artificial Intelligence!’
“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,” he said.
Dr Jenefer Golding, associate professor at the University College London, delivered a talk on ‘Large scale international studies in mathematics: benefits, limitations and their potential for teachers and teacher educators’.
“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,” she said.
Earlier, Dean Faculty of Arts and Sciences, AKU, Professor Stephen Lyon, emphasised the importance of using mathematics to understand the complexities of the world.
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.”
TDF Vice Chair Sabrina Dawood said that the conference 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,” she said.
Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2023