2022-2023 Colloquia Series
The Center for Math Education hosts a monthly colloquia series to bring the best mathematics education researchers from across the nation to nurture our research interests, enrich our projects, and expand our perspectives. This year all the sessions will be virtual. Graduate students and faculty are invited to join the presentations and discussion. Informal conversations that expand the learning from the presentation always follow.
October 7, 2022: Dr. Amy Ellis
Title: From Mathematical Play to Playful Math
Abstract: Mathematical play offers opportunities for students to exercise agency and engage in authentic disciplinary practices, and studies of mathematical play show positive outcomes for motivation, enjoyment, and learning. However, the current research base is largely situated either in early childhood / elementary school, or in informal settings such as video games or makerspaces. These studies investigate how play can be mathematized, examining the mathematics that arises from play. I consider the reverse direction, that of "playifying" the school mathematics that students and teachers must navigate in classroom contexts. In doing so, I'll share findings about mathematicians', undergraduates', and middle-school students' playful math engagement. Our study found that playful math tasks increased students' agency, authority, investment, and goal selection, as well as encouraged their development of creative, challenging ideas. I'll present two cases of a particular form of playful engagement called the "explore - focus cycle", one for a mathematician and one for a pair of middle-school students, and consider how playful math can support students' disciplinary engagement.
October 28, 2022: Dr. Brandie Waid
Title: From What about the 2SLGBTQIA+ folx? Toward A Truly Equitable Mathematics
Abstract: In this interactive talk, we will briefly explore the relationship between mathematics teaching and learning and 2SLGBTQIA+ identity, then consider a framework, the Mathematical Queeries Framework (MQF) that centers on 2SLGBTQIA+ equity in mathematics education. Participants will also engage with a mathematics activity that embodies many elements of the framework in action
November 18 2022: Dr. Charity Watson
Charity Watson is an Associate Director of Special Programs and Visiting Assistant Professor in the STEM Transformation Institute. She holds a MS in Mathematical Sciences and a PhD in Engineering and Science Education from Clemson University. She has taught an array of courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, including calculus, business statistics, mathematics for elementary teachers, and research methods in science and engineering education. Her research interests lie in college-level students and their performance and persistence in STEM fields and in introductory-level mathematics courses. Specifically, she is interested in factors that may impact the success and participation of underrepresented minorities in mathematics and STEM.
February 24, 2023: Dr. Erin Ottmar
Erin Ottmar is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Learning Sciences at WPI. She received her BA in psychology and elementary education from the University of Richmond. After college, she spent several years teaching in Ecuador and Japan. In 2011, she received her PhD in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science from the University of Virginia. After graduate school, spent 3 years as a post-doctoral research scientist at the University of Richmond. Before coming to WPI, she was most recently a visiting research associate in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University. Her research aims to design, develop, and evaluate classroom interventions that improve mathematics teaching and learning. Erin’s research is highly interdisciplinary and focuses on the intersections of educational, cognitive, and developmental psychology.
March 17, 2023: Dr. Nicole Louie and Chundou of the Hmong clan (virtual)
Title: Building Racial Justice in Mathematics Education: Against Asian American Invisibility and Hypervisibility
Abstract: Everyone seems to be talking about racial equity and justice these days. Increasingly, scholars in mathematics education are recognizing the need to center the voices of those most affected—i.e., Black, Latine, Asian, and Indigenous children and families—in these discussions. Our current project explores participatory design research (PDR) as a tool for building school, university, student, and parent capacity for centering children of color and their families as researchers and designers of middle school mathematics learning, in a small but diverse Midwestern city. In this talk, we will discuss Asian American and particularly Hmong invisibility and hypervisibility as challenges to working for racial justice. We will share how these phenomena are affecting our project and outline our current efforts to make ourselves and the students of color we are working with visible in our full humanity.
Nicole Louie’s research is centrally concerned with issues of inclusion, exclusion, and belonging in schools. She is especially interested in how people’s experiences of these phenomena are shaped by systemic racism and intersecting systems of oppression. Her current project seeks to explore participatory design research as a tool for advancing racial justice in middle school mathematics, centering youth of color and their families as co-researchers and co-designers. Her previous (and still ongoing) work has focused on how teachers of mathematics both reproduce and challenge narrow, exclusionary views of mathematical intelligence, as they intersect with racial hierarchies.
Chundou (HMoob RPA: Tshaavntuj) of the Hmong clan (HMoob RPA: Hawj) is a second year PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. They are a Critical HMoob scholar who focuses on HMoob youth activism, arts, and learning in school settings and out of school as well. Before coming to graduate school, Chundou was a high school English teacher in the Madison, Wisconsin area where they also grew up. Chundou draws inspiration and hope from their ancestors, family, and communities to explore the ways in which HMoob youth are engaging in constant (auto)ethnographic inquiry through their art, creations, and imaginations.
April 28, 2023: Dr. Stephanie Casey
Stephanie Casey is a Professor of Mathematics Education at Eastern Michigan University. She obtained her Ph.D. in mathematics education from Illinois State University in 2008. Her research focuses on teacher knowledge for teaching statistics at the secondary level, motivated by her experience of teaching secondary mathematics for fourteen years. She is a 2012 STaR Fellow, one in a cadre of new mathematics education professors identified as future leaders in the field.