Plenary Activities

The plenary activities are those components of the scientific program that address all congress participants at the same time. For ICME-11 there will be nine different plenary activities. These will include six plenary lectures, two of which will present the outcomes of the work of Survey Teams 3 and 4 (see below). There will be three panel debates on:

  • • What do we need to know? Does research in mathematics education address the concerns of practitioners and policy makers?; which ties in with the Plenary Lecture on: What do we know? And how do we know it?
  • • History of the development of mathematics education in Latin American countries.
  • •Equal access to mathematics education

P 1. What do we know? And how do we know it? (Two speakers with different viewpoints)

The International Program Committee of ICME-11 proposed that we launch the academic activities of this congress through a dialogue on issues of crucial interest for mathematics education today, such as the following: What do we know that we did not know ten years ago in mathematics education, and how have we come to know it? What kind of evidence is needed and available in mathematics education? What are society's expectations regarding our field, and how do we respond to them? How far can visions of teaching and learning mathematics and evidence in the field transcend the diversity of educational contexts and cultures? In the plenary, we will engage in such a dialogue, presenting our respective views of the dynamics of the field and its outcomes in the last ten or fifteen years, the main challenges we have to face today, and how we can address them.


  • Michèle Artigue (France)
  • Jeremy Kilpatrick (USA)

P 2. What do we need to know? Does research in mathematics education address the concerns of practitioners and policy makers? –Panel debate

In this plenary, a panel of presenters will address questions posted to a designated website by practitioners and policy makers six months prior to the conference. The intention is to explore the possibility that the research agenda in mathematics education is not actually addressing the issues of concern to practitioners or policy makers, or that existing research, which might address them, is not being disseminated effectively. Thus, the plenary is intended to offer a channel of communication between researchers in mathematics education and policy makers and practitioners. (1.5 hours)

David Clarke (Australia)

  • Paul Cobb (USA)
  • Mariolina Bartolini Bussi (Italy)
  • Teresa Rojano (Mexico)
  • Shiqi Li (China)

P 3. Technology and mathematics education (1 hour)

Transforming the mathematical practices of learners and teachers through digital technology


  • Celia Hoyles (United Kingdom)
  • London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, University of London, U.K
  • Director of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics

Abstract: My presentation takes inspiration from the work of Seymour Papert, Jim Kaput, Richard Noss and all the colleagues with whom I have been fortunate enough to collaborate in the area of mathematics education and technology over many years, in the U.K and beyond.

Drawing on the mass of evidence from research and practice, I will first set out what I see as the vision of the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to transform the teaching and learning of mathematics. I suggest it can offer:

  • • dynamic & visual tools that allow mathematics to be explored in a shared space - changing how mathematics is learned and taught;
  • • tools that outsource processing power that previously could only be undertaken by humans - changing the collective focus of attention during mathematics learning;
  • • new representational infrastructures for mathematics - changing what can be learned and for whom;
  • • connectivity - opening new opportunities for shared knowledge construction and for student autonomy over their mathematical work;
  • • connections between school mathematics and learners’ agendas and culture - bridging the gap between school mathematics and problem solving ‘in the real world’;
  • • some intelligent support to the teacher while learners are engaged in an exploratory environment;

Under each of the six headings, I will present research evidence and examples that illustrate their transformative potential. I will also identify: first, the costs and challenges at least partly to explain why in so many cases, impact has not reached expectations; and, second, actions that can be undertaken as contingencies against these risks. In this part of the talk, I will draw on some the outcomes of the recent ICMI Study 17, Technology Revisited that considered these questions from the important and under-represented vantage point of the situation of developing countries: how technology could be used for the benefit of these countries rather than serve as yet another source of disadvantage.

Taken together, the overriding evidence suggests that in order for ICT to move from the periphery to centre stage in mathematics teaching and learning and for its potential for transforming mathematical practice for the benefit of all learners to be realised, teachers must be part of the transformative process:
i) to do mathematics for themselves with the digital tools (before and alongside thinking about pedagogy and embedding in practice) thus allowing teachers, regardless of experience, the time and space to take on the role of learner,
ii) to co-design activity sequences that embed the ICT tools and make explicit appropriate didactic strategies,
iii) to try out iteratively in classrooms as a collective effort and debug together.

This design process is challenging, not least because at every phase the dialectical influence of tools on mathematical expression and communication must be taken into account.

A further challenge facing innovations using ICT is scaling up, since, all too often, design experiments while reporting positive results wither away soon after any funding ends. One way we are working in England to break this cycle is through the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics. The National Centre was set up in England in 2006 (see, and I have been its director since June 2007. Its major aim is to develop a sustainable national infrastructure for subject-specific professional development of teachers of mathematics that will enable the mathematical potential of learners to be fully realised. The NCETM offers a blend of approaches to effective Continuing Professional development (CPD): national and regional face-to-face meetings, and tools and resources on its portal designed to promote and sustain collaborative CPD among teachers of mathematics (for example through on-line communities). These networks and communities include the use of ICT in classrooms.

A major challenge faced by the NCETM is to reach out to all teachers of mathematics across all the phases of education in ways that develop ownership of NCETM’s CPD offer and, in particular, ownership of and fluency with the tools available on the portal. If this ownership is achieved, the tools will grow with use, as teachers contribute to the content and to the on-line communities and in so doing support each other in transforming their practice. It is my contention that it is only through this process of mutual support that the potential of ICT will be realised - not only the potential already on offer, but also through new technological innovations such as personal and mobile technology, and all that will become available in the future.

P 4. Current trends in mathematics

A panoramic view of current trends in mathematics and of the role and expression of mathematics in the development of science and technology will be offered to ICME-11 attendees. (1 hour)

José Antonio de la Peña (Mexico)

P 5. History of the development of mathematics education in Latin American countries.
–Panel debate
(1.5 hours)


  • Fidel Oteiza (Chile)


  • Eugenio Filloy (Mexico)
  • Ubiratan D´Ambrosio (Brazil)
  • Luis Campistrous (Cuba)
  • Carlos Vasco (Colombia)

P 6. Equal access to quality mathematics education.

–Panel debate
All students, regardless of age, race, ethnic group, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, geographic location, language, disability, or prior mathematics achievement, deserve equitable access to challenging and meaningful mathematics learning and achievement. This concept has profound implications for teaching and learning mathematics throughout the educational community. It suggests that ensuring equity and excellence must be at the core of systemic reform efforts in mathematics education.

A necessary component for quality mathematics education is that all students receive an education that takes into account each student’s background, including prior learning, characteristics, and abilities in a way that maximizes his/her learning and does not diminish in any way the goals s/he is expected to achieve. This pertains to both high-achieving and low-achieving students. (1.5 hours)


  • Bill Atweh (Australia)


  • Olimpia Figueras (Mexico)
  • Murad Jurdak (Lebanon)
  • Catherine Vistro-Yu (The Philippines)
  • P 7. Knowledge for teaching mathematics (two speakers representing different perspectives)

    Recent presentations at PME and elsewhere suggest that knowledge of mathematics teaching has been the focus of much activity in a variety of countries. The title was considered broad enough to allow the presenters to refer to current research into pedagogical content knowledge as well as to content knowledge. This also led us to consider two presenters who could ensure an extensive viewpoint. (1.5 hours)


    • Toshiakira Fujii (Japan)
    • Ruhama Even (Israel)

    P 8. Report of Survey Team 3: The impact of research findings in mathematics education on students´ learning of mathematics

    (1 hour)
    Organizer on behalf of Survey Team 3

    • Angel Gutiérrez (Spain)

    P 9. Report of Survey Team 4: Representations of mathematical concepts, objects and processes in mathematics teaching and learning

    (1 hour)

    Organizer on behalf of Survey Team 4:

    • Gerald Goldin (USA)