First there was MathsConf14 on March 2018, then there was MathsConf 15 on June 2018. Then I was off again to my third Maths Conference in Birmingham on 13 October, 2018. Venue was at St Edmund Campion Catholic School. My third in a row this year alone!
Traveling by car this time as the venue was only a 40 minute drive. Arrived early as usual to be able to get a good parking spot. Then the fun begins.
Went to reception, got my badge and a bag filled with info for the day. Had a look around the stalls and see what's on offer. Grabbed my first freebie for the day, a thick CPG book and pens from a few stalls. Networked with other guests and met up with my teacher friend from our PGCE teacher training days at the University of Nottingham.
The conference will not be complete without me heading for CorbettMaths stall and grabbing one of their newly released products. This time it was the Primary Maths cards. The fact that I don't even teach primary school pupils didn't stop me from buying one! I now have a complete set of the Corbettmaths revision/study cards! I found them fabulously useful. I managed to restrain myself from getting another selfie with John Corbett as I had done so with the last conferences I've been!
At 9.20am, we headed to the hall for our welcome talk and introduction by Mark McCourt, CEO of La Salle Education, with a follow up speech by Main Sponsor, Andrew Taylor of AQA. Then it was time for speed dating.
This is what happens at speed dating: We find somebody to partner with and share with them any resource, be it ours or somebody else' for 2 minutes. When the buzzer goes off, it's our partner's turn to do the same. Then we go find another partner. This process will repeated about 4 times. I presented some of my youtube videos on fractions as well as an interactive virtual app on construction I subscribed to online. One of my partners showed me a unique method of finding the HCF and LCM of 2 numbers without using prime numbers which I found very useful and will be introducing it to my pupils.
After speed dating we head off to our first workshop.
Workshop 1 was 'My Top Ten Tech Tips' with Douglas Butler as presenter. I enjoyed that session as I got to learn a few facts I haven't known before ie the world's longest parabola, equilateral triangle, pentagon and the world's steepest road using Google Earth Pro. The top 10 Tech ideas were:
Top Google Earth Objects
Top Large Data Sets on the Web
Top Uses of Excel
Top Problem Solving Ideas
Top Twitterers to Follow
Top Maths Blogs
Top YouTube Channels
Top Mathematics Entertainment
Top Dynamic Software for KS3-4
Top Dynamic Software for KS5
He also showed us the amazing things Autograph could do by making an animated version of the Starship Enterprise of Star Trek to show a 3D dynamic geometry in action. The Star Trek music amused the class.
We then had a quick coffee break, networking and met up with tutor colleagues from Maths Tutors UK.
It was great of La Salle to extend the same opportunity of joining this amazing conference to the tutors as he did to the classroom teachers.
Then it was time for Workshop 2.
I attended the amazing 'Singapore Maths and Dyscalculia-The Perfect Match' with Judy Hornigold presenting. What can I say about this workshop but that it was my most awaited workshop of all. And it did not disappoint. One hour just seemed to fleet away! I wanted to learn more!
I got to learn how we can use counters to solve some word problems instead of using algebraic equations. I learned so much from this workshop that I developed a great interest on Singapore Maths. The Singapore Maths book I got from a previous Maths Conference has now become my bible! I even started applying it on some of my younger Maths pupils which seem to work on them like a charm. This workshop interested me because I am looking into focusing on supporting pupils with SEN such as dyslexia, ADHD and Dyscalculia and this workshop came at the most opportune time.
After Workshop 2, we had some lunch. Just in time to feed my starving self! There was a good selection of food although maybe I will suggest some gluten free options for next time as am becoming gluten intolerant these days. Then some more networking with old and newly found friends.
Workshop 3: 'The Use of Lego and Video as Part of Teaching Learning and Assessment' with Martin McCutheon presenting.This workshop was quite unique. My son had tons of lego when he was little, that we could open a shop for it. I've always associated Lego with play and fun. Now after our workshop, am looking at lego as play and learn (well fun as well). No way have I associated lego with maths. But now, I could see endless possibilities I can create maths concepts using lego.
I even got to present my little lego creation on Plans and Elevations on youtube! I was so chuffed with my 1 minute claim to fame even though it was just my voice you could hear! I have also subscribed to Martin Maths youtube channel so I can see more of Lego and Maths. After a quick coffee break and watching my tutor friends devour the Maths cakes on display for the competition, we headed to our last workshop.
Workshop 4: 'Screencasts and their Role in Creating Independent Learners' with Charlie Dawson presenting This was another great workshop which focused more on as what the title says, screencasts. Charlie started the workshop with some juggling exercise and asked one of the attendees to do the same. Apparently there is some mathematical pattern behind great juggling skills. On the topic of screencasts, I actually use the same app as Charlie does, which is screen-cast-o-matic which I use to record youtube videos. Charlie had shown us some of the work he had created on Maths revision. He also covered the benefits of having a maths website for the schools and how they could use his website as the starting point for their own website.
After workshop 4, it was time to pack up and listen to the closing remarks, awarding of raffle prizes, announcing the winner of the Maths Cakes competition and saying our farewells. It was indeed another amazing Maths Conference, something I will cherish just as I did the last two conferences I have attended. I have met a lot of amazing people with amazing Maths minds. One thing I could say about these conferences, is that it is a great way of meeting people who totally get my passion for this subject as they are just or even more passionate about this. The lengths that most of these great selfless people go just to share this passion to everyone is just astounding. The positive atmosphere, the buzz, the welcoming attitude of everyone is enough to make me want to come to more of these events. Plus I get to take home a lot of free goodies with me. Now to register for the next conference.