Intercultural Math & Data Reporting

Lecturers

Claudia-Susanne Günther - Research Assistant / Chair for Didactics of Mathematics / University of Potsdam (UP) / Germany

Ana Cecília Bisso Nuñes - Professor of Journalism and Marketing / Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS), Potro Allegre /Brasil


Partnering

  • via Winter School: International Online Teaching for Junior Researchers, University of Potsdam, march 2019

Visualisierung Seminarstruktur und Projektzeitraum
Photo: C.-S. Günther

Collaboration format

PRE/FULL-COIL (4 weeks)

The cooperation took place in the context of two parallel courses

  • "Language-sensitive mathematics teaching" / 17 students of the teaching profession subject mathematics (University of Potsdam).
  • "Data reporting and visualization - application to the Brazilian context" (PUCRS) / 9 students of journalism (Porto Allegre).

In order to gain initial experience with international teaching-learning collaborations, both instructors designed a low-threshold project over 4 weeks. The joint project was at the end of the semester due to the different semester periods for the Brazilian students. Theories and methods learned and discussed in advance were applied. For the Potsdam students, on the other hand, the cooperation with Brazilian students at the beginning of the semester represented an introduction to the later theoretical-methodical development of the seminar topic and a subsequent application phase in practice.

Visualisierung Seminarstruktur und Projektzeitraum
Photo: C.-S. Günther

Objectives and topics of the course

The central feature of the project was the cooperative and interdisciplinary work of the students on statistical data sets provided by the lecturers.

For the Brazilian students, the focus was on working with data sets and finding socially relevant information. These activities were designed to

  • The ability to understand a social context by applying basic statistical techniques to a public dataset, and
  • the ability to analyze the role of mathematics in describing a reality.

be (further) developed.

The low level of experience abroad or motivation of mathematics students to have study experiences abroad was crucial on the Potsdam side. With the low-threshold cooperation scenario, the following main goals were pursued to promote language sensitivity:

  • gaining international and intercultural experience
  • to experience the influence of language and language competence on the participation in (mathematical) teaching-learning processes.

The international teaching-learning scenario resulted in further positive aspects for learning:

  • the use of the potential of the heterogeneous learning group for social and subject learning
  • the (further) development of media competencies and the reflection of application-related and social aspects of media use
  • the increase of the students' motivation for further international activities (see internationalization strategy of the UP)

Especially the intercultural and language-oriented objectives had an important meaning for the student teachers, because in the further course they could apply their experiences from the cooperation project as well as the theoretical knowledge in teaching with refugee mathematics teachers of the Refugee Teacher Program.


Didactical design

After the hardware required for the project work (iPads, headsets) was procured by the lecturers, a test of the devices and the application used for the meetings (Adobe Connect) took place in the two student groups before the project began. Rules of conduct for the synchronous meetings were formulated.

The collaboration weeks were designed as follows:

Week 1

  • Joint kick-off session with introduction to goals and project mission.
  • Getting to know each other, group formation
  • Mixed group rooms > Selection of the data set to be worked on by the students

Week 2 and 3

  • Self-organized work on the project assignment in mixed small groups via Adobe Connect
  • Supervision by the lecturers

Week 4

  • Follow-up meeting in the whole group
  • Presentation of the work results
  • Joint oral reflection on the collaboration

Following the cooperation phase, the Potsdam group again reflected on the cooperation from the perspective of language and the use of media.


Tools

  • Adobe Connect (Web-Meetings)
  • Excel and Linkr (Editing of the data sets and exchange in the groups)
  • Moodle and Slack (for conception)
  • Menti, Google Forms (questionnaires)

Experiences

Helpful for the lecturers during the

preparation

  • motivated and reliable partners
  • a continuous and intensive exchange

Implementation

  • good, similar or the same technical equipment for all participants
  • individual seminar rooms for each group for synchronous meetings during the group work phase
  • Conducting a trial video call for practicing the use of the technology
  • short duration (4 weeks) for the first implementation - gather first experiences

Possible changes to the concept

  • Extending the duration of the project and the joint work phase
  • smaller working groups
  • team teaching or together with student assistants
  • use of German data sets as well
  • in addition to the iPad camera (individual) also use of a room camera for view of the whole group
  • meeting of the groups in attendance after the project - intercultural exchange in real life