News from the Southern 1 Region
Susan Birnie, Southern 1 Regional Director
As math leaders in our professional communities, we are faced with the challenges of supporting our school districts and teachers in being prepared for 21st century learning. We live in a time of extraordinary and accelerating change. New knowledge, tools, and ways of doing and communicating mathematics continue to emerge and evolve. The need to understand and be able to use mathematics in everyday life and in the workplace has never been greater and will continue to increase. In this changing world, those who understand and can do mathematics will have significantly enhanced opportunities and options for shaping their futures. Mathematical competence opens doors to productive futures.
21st century mathematics calls for a shift to focus on sense making, reasoning, and connections to real-world situations. Students will need knowledge and skills that prepare them to apply mathematics in a variety of contexts, including their future lives as responsible citizens. A transformation is required that results in a greater emphasis on the many ways that math helps us understand the world, and less on math for its own sake. There needs to be a focus on understanding and concepts, not just computation or procedures (NCTM, 2010).
Looking ahead to the 21st century, developing and applying real-world situations will require new technology tools and new approaches to teaching and learning. It will also require new assessment methods and a commitment to teacher professional development that is collaborative with time allotted for vertical discussions and alignment across grade levels and high school courses.
What resources do we have as math leaders to take on these new challenges? We are fortunate to have many. NCSM continues to offer Leadership Seminars, journal articles, and multiple professional development opportunities at our national conference. Other math organizations such as NCTM, AMTE, and ASSM continue to offer resources and opportunities to support us in our leadership roles. We indeed have our present and future challenges ahead of us but we also have strong national and state math organizations ready to provide us with options and networking opportunities for assist us in planning our next steps.