A major international gathering of educators interested in the psychology of mathematics education finally came to Nashville, Tennessee, attracting nearly 600 people in-person and virtually — and sponsored by Middle Tennessee State University.
The 44th annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education included 17 MTSU students and Department of Mathematical Sciences faculty recently at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel.
The major conference, organized by MTSU faculty and held in Nashville for the first time, is one of the largest mathematics education research conferences in North America, said Alyson Lischka, MTSU associate professor of math education, who was assisted by professor Jeremy Strayer, associate professor Jennifer Lovett, associate professor Ryan Seth Jones in Education and former math and Tennessee STEM Education Center faculty member Elizabeth Dyer — with support from the Colleges of Basic and Applied Sciences and Education.
Calling it a successful conference, Lischka said the primary topic, “Critical Dissonance and Resonant Harmony,” related to Nashville/Music City and “musical terms that helped us frame our thinking about the theme for this conference.
“In the world of research, we often look for agreement to verify findings in our work. So, ‘harmony’ provides strength to our findings. But it is often in the disagreements, or ‘dissonances,’ that we can find new ways to approach or understand something. As researchers, we believe that discussion about both the dissonances and the harmonies is what is needed to keep our field moving forward.”
Held Nov. 17-20, the four-day event included three sessions of plenary talks, two poster sessions with 110 total posters, 16 working groups meeting three times and 237 research papers presented, Lischka said.
Students gain insight into major conferences
MTSU Mathematics and Science Education, or MSE, doctoral program candidates Jordan Kirby and Samantha Fletcher were among the graduate students attending.
The program is designed to prepare graduates for positions in colleges and universities where they will conduct discipline-based research and prepare America’s next generation of K-12 math and science teachers, as well as for leadership positions in a variety of educational settings.
“As I begin to make the transition from student to faculty, I was hoping to learn more about the roles faculty play in a conference,” Kirby said. “I am appreciative of the experience to help moderate sessions and get a glimpse into what it looks like to run a conference. This experience will help when I join a conference committee in my future.”
Fletcher said she had “an excellent experience attending sessions to learn from other researchers who also conduct research related to mathematics identity. I also had the opportunity to represent MTSU at a graduate student session focused on doctoral programs.
“A major takeaway from supporting the local organizing committee was the opportunity to become a familiar, helpful face amongst mathematics education researchers. I was able to develop relationships with researchers who have similar interests and learn about what it means to plan and facilitate a large research conference.”
In 2023, the conference moves to Reno, Nevada.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)