International seminar on textbook research at UiA
The TIMSS-study concludes that Norwegian teachers are among the most dependent on use of mathematics textbooks. The teaching is said to be textbooks driven. But still research on textbooks is rare.
NordForsk has recently granted funding to UiA (900 000 NOK) for a three-year researcher network consisting of Nordic and international researchers studying mathematics textbooks. The intention is to collaborate and organize two seminars and two workshops on mathematics textbooks research every year until 2013.
The very first seminar took place on October 17-18 with participants from Finland, Iceland and Norway. During the seminar one master student from UiA, Jorunn Reinhardtsen, two doctoral students from UiA, Mira Randahl and Tom Rune Kongelf, and five more experienced researchers presented their projects. Post doc Claire V. Berg gave a lecture on “Task design - what does it mean and what is the purpose?”
The network consists of 24 researchers from Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and some international experts from the Netherlands and Germany.
In the successful application to NordForsk professor Barbro Grevholm (picture at right) describes the aim of the network like this:
"The main aim is to increase the Nordic and Baltic collaboration in research on mathematics textbooks with implications for teachers' teaching, students' learning, and decisions by policymakers and publishing houses. In this way we aim for reaching better quality of ongoing and new studies and inspiring to comparative studies, longitudinal studies or replication studies to get broader evidence of the situation in the Nordic and Baltic countries.
The network will support the doctoral studies and help students to finish in good ways through offering new opportunities to learn about research on mathematics textbooks.
Another aim is to produce anthologies on research on textbooks suitable for teacher education and to publish in scientific journals and journals for teachers. Such publications will build on the collective knowledge and insights of all members in the network.
We also intend to build up cooperation with publishing houses in order to offer research based evidence for authors about valuable features, content and structures for mathematics textbooks. We want to use the advantages of shared Nordic history and culture, values and structures of society, educational systems and traditions and language bridges."
The network originates from a workshop organized at UiA in 2006 by the Nordic Graduate School in Mathematics Education. The members have collaborated in conferences and meetings and prepared chapters for a book on mathematics textbooks research. The funding given from NordForsk will allow the network to intensify the work on mathematics textbooks research.
For the second meeting, a workshop in February 2012, two researchers from Hongkong are invited. The top ranking of Asian students in TIMSS might indicate that researchers from Asia may know something about the secret of constructing and creating more suitable textbooks?