Coding, Computational Modeling, & Equity in Mathematics Education PD Day and Symposium Overview

Thank you for a wonderful Symposium!

For the attendees (schedule, parking, etc.), 18 April 2023

Live-Streamed Discussion Panel (click here for more details) chaired by Prof. Dame Celia Hoyles, April 29, 2023.

Symposium Poster

Second Announcement (Dec.2022)


The last symposium came at a crucial time: Academic, industry, non-profit, and governmental organizations had been calling for Computational Thinking (CT) to be considered a 21st century literacy, which spurred an extraordinary international movement of curricular revision to include the development of students’ CT skills starting in primary school.

More recently, CT – in the form of coding and computational modeling – has received increased emphasis via practice and public policy in mathematics education settings. For instance, in 2020-21, the province of Ontario (Canada) introduced the learning and use of coding skills as part of its mathematics curriculum in Grades 1-9 (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2020, 2021). And for the first time ever in 2022, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) decided to assess CT (i.e., defining and elaborating mathematical knowledge that can be expressed by programming) as a component of mathematical literacy:

students should possess and be able to demonstrate [CT] skills as they apply to mathematics as part of their problem-solving practice. […] [PISA] anticipates a reflection by participating countries on the role of [CT] in mathematics curricula and pedagogy. (OECD, 2018, p. 5, para. 12).

In this evolving context, many important questions remain. A critical issue still faced by policy makers, curriculum developers, educators, and researchers alike is the careful delimitation of “CT” – its nature and place – in relation to mathematics (see, e.g., Broley et al., 2017; diSessa, 2018; Geraniou & Janqvist, 2019; Kallia, Borkulo, Drijvers et al., 2021; Lockwood et al., 2019). Other pressing questions concern how coding and computational modelling can be practically and meaningfully integrated in mathematics classrooms across education levels, including the teacher education required to support this integration (see, e.g., Araujo, Floyd, & Gadanidis, 2019; Benton, Hoyles, et al., 2017; Bertrand & Namukasa, 2022; Buteau et al., in press; Francis & Davis, 2018; Gadanidis et al., 2017). Finally, researchers have continued to highlight the many ways that mathematical and computational practices (e.g., algorithmic design and multiply biased data sets) are implicated in reproducing discrimination, marginalization, and injustice, as well as limiting opportunities for members of certain groups to advance and meaningfully participate in computational spaces (see, e.g., Bouck & Yadav, 2020; Christian, 2019; Keengwe & Tran, 2020; Leonard et al., 2021): As educational practices rapidly evolve and create potential for increased inequities, how can we be working towards more equitable outcomes?

Our professional development (PD) component for teachers and pre-service teachers will parallel the three conference themes (see below) and offer participants opportunities for hands-on, minds-on and hearts-on practical experiences with coding computational modelling and equity in mathematics led by a diverse and innovative group of facilitators.

Proposed Themes

The event seeks to provide a forum for discussing emerging issues and sharing new perspectives and experiences related to coding, computational modeling, and equity in mathematics education.

We propose the following three themes as a starting point (which may evolve in various directions depending on participants!):

  1. Meanings and interactions between “computational thinking” and “mathematical thinking,” and how these can guide research and practice.  
  2. Integration of coding and computational modeling in mathematics curricula and classrooms at different levels of education (elementary, secondary, university), and the related teacher education.
  3. Theoretical and practical understandings related to improving equity in integrations of coding and computational modeling in mathematics education.
Organization Committee

The organization of the event brings together two SSHRC-funded research teams hosted at Brock University (led by Chantal Buteau; see here) and Western University (led by Immaculate Namukasa; see here), who work on programming and computational participation across all levels of mathematics education (PreK-16).  It is overseen by Laura Broley (until June 2022), Chantal Buteau, Steven Khan, and Dorothy Levay from Brock University, and Immaculate Namukasa from Western University, and involves the following committees:

  • Symposium Scientific Committee

    Chantal Buteau (Brock University) – Co-Chair
    Immaculate Namukasa (Western University) – Co-Chair
    Laura Broley (Brock University)
    Ghislaine Gueudet (Université Paris-Saclay, France)
    Joyce Mgombelo (Brock University)
    Marisol Santacruz Rodríguez (Universidad del Valle, Colombia)
    Ana Isabel Sacristán (Cinvestav, Mexico)
    Ricardo Scucuglia (UNESP, Brazil)
  • PD Session Committee

    Steven Khan (Brock University) – Co-Chair
    Marja Bertrand (Western University) – Co-Chair
    Anjali Khirwadkar (Brock University)
    Dave Potts (Brock University)
    Derek Tangredi (Western University)
    Shannon Welbourn (Brock University)
  • Local Organization Committee

    Laura Broley (Brock University) – (former Chair until June 2022)
    Dorothy Levay (Brock University) – Co-Chair
    Chantal Buteau (Brock University) – Co-Chair
    Steven Khan (Brock University)
    Joyce Mgombelo (Brock University)
    Neil Marshall (Brock University)

  • Organizing Committee

    Zeynep Gecu-Parmaksiz (Ontario Tech University)
    Beyza Sezer (Western University)
Two Decades of Engagement
Coding and Computational Modeling @Brock

For over 20 years, math majors and future math teachers at Brock have been learning to use programming for pure or applied mathematics inquiries in the context of 3 project-based courses known as MICA I-II-III.

MICA courses have evolved over the years, including the addition of a MICA III course for future teachers which, in part, addresses the recent integration of ‘coding’ in the Ontario Gr.1-9 math curriculum.

MICA implementation has been providing a rich context for research of different aspects of learning to use programming as a meaningful tool for mathematics learning and its teaching.

See here for more information.

Math Education Symposia and Webinars @Western

Since 2001, Ontario professors have interacted with several national and international experts at Mathematics Education symposia and webinars.  

The first symposium featured Seymour Papert as a Keynote Speaker was virtual, and was funded by the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences. 

Whereas the location and themes of the symposium have evolved over the years, these symposia and webinars have provided a deep context for research, knowledge mobilization, and support to enhanced practice, curriculum, and policy.  

See here for more information. 

Brock University is located on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples, many of whom continue to live and work here today. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and is within the land protected by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Agreement. Today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and acknowledging reminds us that our standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendship of Indigenous people.