Two Professors from The University of Nottingham have been recognised for their innovative and influential work in mathematics education spanning more than 35 years.
Professors Hugh Burkhardt and Malcolm Swan from the University’s School of Education have received the first ever Emma Castelnuovo Award for 2016 for Excellence in the Practice of Mathematics Education, from the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI).
The award is in recognition of their development and implementation of innovative, influential work in the practice of mathematics education, including the development of curriculum and assessment materials, instructional design concepts, teacher preparation programs and educational system changes.
Professors Burkhardt and Swan have both served as strategic leaders for a team of researchers and designers at the Nottingham-based Shell Centre for Mathematical Education. The Centre, which has been running for more than 40 years, is now part of the Centre for Research in Mathematics Education within the University’s School of Education. It works on a wide range of international design, development and research projects with partners from the US, the EU and Asia.
Together the Centre team has produced ground-breaking contributions that have had a remarkable influence on the practice of mathematics education. They are unique in the way they address the problems of improving learning both strategically and across all levels. The award committee stated: “Their vision of the classroom is one where students are active learners, learning through problem solving, discussion, reasoning, and collaboration. The instructional materials, professional development materials, and system changes coming have enhanced the mathematics education of millions of students worldwide.”
Professor Swan said: "It's a great honour to be recognised by ICMI for our curriculum, assessment and professional development design work over decades. It's clearly been a sustained team effort - we have a world class group of maths researcher and designers here at Nottingham and it's exciting to see that the products of all our hard work are now being recognised and used internationally."
Professor Burkhardt adds: “The creation of this award by ICMI, emphasising impact on practice, is an important step. It gives recognition to the “engineering research” approach that we have pioneered. It will encourage others to face the challenging nature of the team-based research involved. It is, of course, nice to be selected as the first recipients.
“It also complements the award of the ICMI Felix Klein Medal in 2011 to Nottingham's Special Professor and our long time US partner, Alan Schoenfeld of Berkeley - not to mention the awards of the International Society for Design and Development prizes to Malcolm and me in 2008 and 2013.”
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the THE Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top one per cent of universities by the QS World University Rankings, and 8th in the UK by research power according to REF 2014.
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