[ICMI-News] ICMI News 4: June 2008

Jaime Carvalho e Silva jaimecs at mat.uc.pt
Sun Jun 29 01:45:24 CEST 2008

ICMI News 4: June 2008

A Bimonthly Email Newsletter from the 
ICMI-International Commission on Mathematical 
Editor: Jaime Carvalho e Silva, Dep. Matematica, 
Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal


1. Editorial: Celebrating ICMI's progress, 
voicing where and how we need to grow
2. More news about the 11th ICME-International 
Congress on Mathematical Education
3. ICME-11:  Ibero-American Forum
4. Experiencing Mathematics at ICME-11
5. Citation Statistics - a document released by IMU
6. IOWME welcomes you!
7. Website on the History of ICMI
8. An "ICMI Reading Room" at Springer
9. Extended deadline for contributions to Study 19
10. New Journal in Maths Education - INDIA
11.  Calendar of Events of Interest to the ICMI Community
12.  Historical vignettes: The almost failure of founding IMUK/ICMI
13.  Subscribing to ICMI News


1.  Editorial: Celebrating ICMI's progress, 
voicing where and how we need to grow

ICMI News 2 appeared immediately prior to the 
ICMI Centennial Symposium hosted by the Italian 
community of mathematicians and mathematics 
educators in Rome in March. This fourth issue of 
the ICMI Newsletter appears immediately prior to 
our Congress in Mexico - ICME-11. By now, those 
who will be attending will be preparing their 
presentations, and for their travel to and 
participation in the Congress. We look forward to 
meeting and interacting with colleagues in 
mathematics education across the world.

We have noted in previous newsletters the 
significance of this Congress for ICMI as an 
organisation. At the General Assembly on 6 July, 
we will be voting in a new  Executive Committee 
who will take office in 2010. This will be the 
first time in our history that the President, 
Vice-Presidents, Secretary-General and 
Members-at-Large of the Executive Committee will 
be voted in by the ICMI community. Previously, 
this election occurred at the International 
Congress of Mathematicians. This is an historic 
occasion, particularly considering we have just 
celebrated our Centenary! And as we do this, we 
take note at the numerous countries that are not 
yet part of the ICMI community. Across Africa, 
for example, a small handful of countries are 
members. While the current and past Executives 
have made much progress in broadening ICMI's 
reach, there remains much for the current and new 
Executives to do in extending ICMI's work.

A quick journey through the ICME-11 website and 
the various activities that will be in session 
during the Congress shows the breadth and depth 
of mathematics education activity across the 
world. Those who will attend will have 
opportunity to engage with developments in 
mathematics education across topics, levels, 
interest areas, research domains and national 
contexts. Amidst this explosion of activity, we 
nevertheless need to attend to the challenges 
levelled at ICMI in the closing session of the 
Centennial Symposium. The majority of the world's 
children attend school in relatively poor 
material conditions; thousands upon thousands do 
not have the privilege of completing a primary 
school education. How does the research we do 
speak to these conditions? A critical and perhaps 
rhetorical question was asked whether indeed the 
work of the organisation can and does impact 
globally, across the economic and technological 
divide. More specifically, in what ways does the 
work we do contribute to the Millennium goals of 
universal primary education by 2015?

These questions complement those posed by Vice 
President Bill Barton in issue no. 2 of this 
Newsletter. He focused importantly on 
communication, on understanding and working with 
diversity, on learning to listen and hear each 
other in our similarities and differences. As we 
approach ICME-11, and celebrate our historic 
coming of age, it is important to ensure that we 
take up the challenge posed at the Centennial: 
that we steer our work to increasing access to 
mathematics education for all. A number of 
sessions in the Congress, including Plenary 
sessions, have this challenge in focus. I look 
forward to discussion during and after the 
Congress, through our various channels of 
communication. In particular, we should mark this 
place, and ask in 2012: what is our progress?

I look forward to seeing you in Monterrey.

Jill Adler, Vice-President, ICMI, jill.adler at wits.ac.za


2. More news about the 11th ICME-International 
Congress on Mathematical Education

The program of ICME-11 is full of interesting 
activities. So full in fact that we cannot report 
it here in any way. So I am just going to pick up 
a few of the activities just to show how diverse 
ICME-11 is (the Ibero-american Forum and the 
exhibition "Experiencing Mathematics" are 
mentioned further below).

The program includes approximately 60 regular 
lectures, running in five time slots in the 
congress timetable, each with around 12 
simultaneous lectures. This is going to force 
evryone to make tough choices! Just a glimpse of 
the choices available:

* A course: "Mathematics and Technology" for 
preservice secondary school teachers, Christiane 
Rousseau (Canada)
* Ethnomathematics at the Margin of Europe. A 
Pagan Calendar in Modern Times, Kristín 
Bjarnadóttir (Iceland)
* For a Comparative History of Mathematics 
Education, Wagner Rodrigues Valente (Brazil)
* The Challenges for School Mathematics in Japan, Shizumi Shimizu (Japan)
* Mathematical terminology in teaching and 
learning mathematics in African languages, Mercy 
Kazima (Malawi)
* The Loss of Intuition, Eduardo Mancera Martínez (Mexico)

I hope you see the point: lots of diverse and interesting stuff.
Several Survey Teams will report their activity, 
like the one on "Mathematics education in 
multicultural and multilingual environments" that 
will be exactly the theme of a future ICMI Study.

There will be more than 50 workshops (a lot of 
them will be given in Spanish) about hot topics 
like "Uniting the World by Teaching with 
Technology", "Discrete Mathematics for 
Pre-Secondary Teachers", or "Mathematics from 
ages 0 to 18: a collaborative teacher training 
methodology joining teachers of all levels of 

There are also more than 50 Sharing Experiences 
Groups, small groups of participants designed to 
exchange and discuss experiences in a 
well-defined theme of common interest. Topics 
offered include a discussion about the personal 
Archives of Ubiratan D'Ambrosio or "The 
Interactive Whiteboard in the Mathematics 

If to all this you add 38 Topic Study Groups and 
28 Discussion Groups, you easily see that this 
program is overpacked with interesting sessions.

See you in Monterrey.

The Editor

3. ICME-11:  Ibero-american Forum

Perspectives on development through collaboration

Concurrent with other ICME-11 activities, 
meetings will organized that will address the 
issue of Ibero-American development and 
collaboration. In spite of their differences, 
Ibero-America countries share cultural roots, 
ethnic diversity, and a sense of identity. A 
forum where participants will explore the 
possibilities, advantages and perils of 
development through collaboration, not only 
within Ibero-America, but also with other 
regions, will be provided.

The activities of the Ibero-American Forum are the following:

1.-  Round Table "Meeting of Mathematical 
Associations in Ibero-America"  there will be 
representation of  Colombia, Brazil, Perú, Costa 
Rica, Uruguay, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and 
2.- Panel "Research on Mathematical Education" 
with the participation of colleagues from Mexico, 
Brazil, Uruguay, Spain, Venezuela and Chile
3.- Round Table "Teacher Training" with 
participation from Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, 
Colombia, Spain and Portugal
4.- Panel "Development of Mathematics in higher 
level and research" with participation of 
colleagues from Chile, Colombia and Mexico.
5.- Round Table "Mathematical Training for the 
Citizen" participations from Mexico, Argentina, 
Brazil, Cuba and Portugal.

The Ibero-American Forum is scheduled on Tuesday 
(17:30-19), Friday and Saturday (17:30-19:30).


4.  Experiencing Mathematics at ICME-11

Experiencing Mathematics at ICME11 - ¿Por qué las matemáticas?

An International Exhibition initiated and supported by UNESCO
and created by Centre.Sciences, CCSTi region Centre-Orléans
with the Tokay University (Tokio) and the Ateneo 
University de Manila (Philippines)

From ICME-10 in Copenhagen to ICME-11 in 
Monterrey, more than 800 000 young people, their 
teachers and parents have visited this very 
interactive exhibition.
"Experiencing Mathematics" has been present in 
more than 50 cities from 20 countries, in 
Southern Africa, Middle East, South-East Asia, 
Europe, now, in Latin America, Asia (India, 
Pakistan, Philippines), PortugalŠ and soon 
Sub-Saharan Africa, North America, Turkey and 

This interactive exhibition is intended to show 
to all visitors that mathematics is:
- astonishing, interesting and useful,
- accessible, for the first steps, to everyone,
- plays a large part in our daily life,
- has an important role in our culture, sustainable development and progress.

Which are the exhibition themes? Mathematics is 
central to our daily life but how many people, 
how many teachers realize each time they use a 
telephone or a credit card, listen to a compact 
disk, drive a car or board a plane, that 
mathematics is present? Similarly, when they buy 
a car or a house with credit, check the weather 
report or admire a work of art?
Experiencing mathematics shows not only that 
mathematics is indispensable to daily life but 
can also be fun. In this exhibition you take 
pleasure to manipulate, to ask questions and try 
to find answers. In this exhibition, it's 
forbidden to "don't touch"!.

3 months ago, a virtual exhibition based on this 
interactive hands-on exhibition was proposed to 
teachers, especially for secondary teachers of 
southern countries. You can see it on the ICME-11 
exhibition place or on
It was created by Centre.Sciences, initiated and 
supported, too, by Unesco basic Science education 

It will be present in Monterrey in the ICME-11 exhibition place:

Its itinerancy is supported by IMU, ICMI, CIMPA, 
local ministries of Science and Education and 
French Embassies.
To know more: http://www.MathEx.org

Michel Darche, mldarche at free.fr


5. Citation Statistics - a document released by IMU

The IMU has just released an important document, called
"Citation Statistics", which we want to bring to your attention.

IMU announced in July 2007 the creation of a committee on
"Quantitative assessment of research" that was asked to investigate
various aspects of impact factors and similar statistics based on
citations. The committee was appointed jointly by the Executive
Committees of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), the
International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM),
and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS). It consisted of:

- John Ewing (Providence, USA), chair, appointed by IMU
- Robert Adler (Haifa, Israel), appointed by IMS
- Peter Taylor (Melbourne, Australia), appointed by ICIAM.

The terms of reference given to the committee can be found at:

The committee has addressed this charge by reviewing and discussing
current practices along with an extensive literature on the use of
citations to evaluate research. Its report, written from the perspective
of mathematical scientists, was submitted to the Executive Committees
of IMU, ICIAM, and  IMS, and all three endorsed the report. The three
organizations are making the report "Citation Statistics" public now.

The report can be found at the following URL:

A press release that was mailed out to journalists is at:

This effort was triggered by numerous requests from IMU member countries,
mathematical societies, important mathematical institutions, and
individuals who reported the increasing use (and misuse) of impact
factors and similarly of other citation-based indicators to measure the
quality of research of individuals, departments, or whole institutions.

IMU suggests that everybody not only read the report
but also distribute it to administrators and decision-makers who are
involved in the assessment of research quality, in order to give them
a mathematical science perspective. IMU, ICIAM and IMS have agreed that,
in order to assure as wide distribution as possible, journals, newsletters
and similar publications that are interested in publishing this report
will have the non-exclusive right to publish it in one of their issues.
Please contact the newsletters/journals you are connected with and
suggest publication of the report "Citation Statistics".

All 3 organizations, representing the world community of pure,
applied, and industrial mathematics and statistics, hope that the
careful analysis and recommendations in this report will be
considered by decision-makers who are making use of citation
data in research assessment.


6. IOWME welcomes you!

An affiliated study group of the International 
Commission on Mathematical Instruction

The International Organisation of Women and 
Mathematics Education (IOWME) provides an 
international focus for activity related to 
gender, education and mathematics.  During the 
two decades of IOWME activity, the attainment 
profile for girls in mathematics has changed 
significantly in a number of countries but issues 
remain: young women opting out of mathematics; 
who identifies with mathematics and how; the ways 
that mathematics classrooms permit and perpetuate 
unhelpful stereotypes; and many more.
Our main channel of communication is our website, 
which is maintained by Sheffield Hallam 
University, England.  Our newsletter is published 
there three times a year and is key in 
maintaining the IOWME community.  The newsletters 
contain a lively mix of the serious and the 
not-so-serious with full length academic 
articles, book reviews, news items from around 
the world, reports of past and future study group 
activities, items from ICMI, information about 
the work of study group members, ideas for 
teaching, commentary on gender issues in the 
news, quotations, jokes and cartoons.  The 
newsletters can be viewed at our new website at 
The ICMI Centenary has also involved us.  Members 
participated in the Centennial celebrations in 
Rome in 2008 and we were also asked to 
participate in writing a history of IOWME.  Using 
a storying methodology and drawing extensively on 
writings from members, it is a useful addition to 
the IOWME archive.
We will be participating in ICME-11 in Mexico and 
hope to contribute towards making the eleventh 
Congress a rewarding and energising experience.

International Convenor
Hilary Povey
Mathematics Education Centre
Sheffield Hallam University
h.povey at shu.ac.uk
Newsletter Editor
Heather Mendick
Institute for Policy Studies in Education
London Metropolitan University
h.mendick at londonmet.ac.uk

Hilary Povey, International Convenor, IOWME, h.povey at shu.ac.uk


7. Website on the History of ICMI

To celebrate the first hundred years of the ICMI 
a Symposium was held in Rome (March, 5-8 2008). 
Most events of the Symposium took place in the 
same place where the foundation of the Commission 
happened, namely the magnificent rooms of the 
Accademia dei Lincei, one of the oldest Academies 
in the world.  Among the activities planned for 
the Symposium there is the website on the history 
of the ICMI, under the direction of Fulvia 
Furinghetti and Livia Giacardi 
(http://www.icmihistory.unito.it/, accessible 
also from the permanent web page of the Symposium 
The aim of the website is to offer to the members 
of the community of mathematics educators 
elements that allow to delineate the full history 
of ICMI and some important features of this 
Commission. The moments in the history of the 
ICMI are listed in the "Timeline", together with 
the references to the sources of information. 
Direct access to historical documents and people 
is provided in the section devoted to 
"Documents". In the section "Interviews and film 
clips" opinions and memories of important chief 
characters in the life of ICMI are videotaped.
The "Portrait gallery" contains the biographic 
cameos of the ICMI officers and of the honorary 
members who have passed away in the first hundred 
years. Some officers were professional 
mathematicians members ex-officio of the ICMI 
Executive Committee, others were researchers in 
pure mathematics with a strong interest in 
mathematics education evidenced by their activity 
in school milieu and by specific publications 
concerning aspects of mathematical instruction. 
When possible the authors of the cameos were 
chosen in the countries of the officer treated in 
the cameo; this allowed to involve colleagues of 
different countries and to share with them the 
spirit of our enterprise.
The historical flavor is pervading also the 
sections of the recent past, the present and the 
future of the ICMI, namely "The Affiliated Study 
Groups" and "The International Congresses on 
Mathematical Education".
We hope that our (Fulvia's and Livia's) work 
about the website of the history of ICMI is 
something more than a historical account, namely 
it is a way of strengthening the identity of ICMI 
community and an inspiration for the ICMI's 
future action.

Fulvia Furinghetti, furinghetti at dima.unige.it


8. An "ICMI Reading Room" at Springer

In order to participate to the celebration of the 
2005 and 2007 ICMI Awards to be presented at the 
opening ceremony of ICME-11, on July 7, 2008, in 
Monterrey, México, Springer is pleased to 
announce the launching of the
Springer "ICMI Reading Room"

Up to December 31, 2008, members of the 
international community of mathematics educators 
will have open access, via SpringerLink.com, to 
selected works published in Springer journals of 
the four most recent ICMI medallists (Paul Cobb, 
Ubiratan D'Ambrosio, Jeremy Kilpatrick and Anna 

This material, which represents important 
milestones in the recent development of the field 
of mathematics education, can be freely 
downloaded by accessing the url


Information about the ICMI Awards can be obtained by visiting


Bernard R. Hodgson, Secretary-General of ICMI, bhodgson at mat.ulaval.ca


9. Extended deadline for contributions to Study 19

Due to numerous requests for an extension, the 
International Programme Committee (IPC) of ICMI 
Study 19 on "Proof and Proving in Mathematics 
Education" has agreed to move the deadline for 
submission of papers from June 30, 2008 to August 
31, 2008. The following are the new dates:
         Submission deadline: Sunday, August 31, 2008
         Notification of acceptance: Saturday, November 15, 2008
The IPC would like to thank all those who have 
already submitted their papers. We also urge 
others to submit their papers at their earliest 
convenience, well ahead of the new deadline of 
August 31.

For more details, please see:


10. New Journal in Maths Education - INDIA

We are very pleased to announce the launching of 
our new journal Sutra - The International Journal 
of Mathematics Education, an official journal of 
the Technomathematics Research Foundation. We 
would like to invite you to submit manuscripts of 
your original articles, for possible publication 
in Sutra, which is a strictly peer-reviewed 
publication. All article submissions should be 
made electronically to 
<mailto:director at tmrfindia.org>TMRF Office 
[director at tmrfindia.org]. First issue will be 
published online in August 2008.

Sutra is devoted to the interests of students and 
teachers of mathematics and mathematics education 
at various levels  --  undergraduate through 

The editors encourage the submission of a variety 
of manuscripts: expository research articles, 
including experiments, case studies, surveys, 
philosophical studies, and historical studies; 
articles about research, including literature 
reviews; classroom notes; critiques of articles 
and books; and brief commentaries on issues 
pertaining to mathematics research and teaching. 
For complete details, please read the 
guidelines and 
<http://www.tmrfindia.org/sutra/aim.html>aims & 
scope of the journal.  We also welcome 
issue proposals  on various themes on mathematics 
and its applications. 

The journal is published twice a year.

Review procedure: All manuscripts are subject to 
anonymous peer review by knowledgeable scholars 
and, if accepted, may be subject to revision. 
Materials submitted to Sutra should not be under 
consideration by other publishers, nor should 
they be previously published in any form. We 
shall be glad to receive your contributions at 
your earliest convenience.

Please publicize this new journal amongst your 
colleagues for possible contribution. Thanks!

Sutra - The International Journal of Mathematics 
Education, T.M.R.F., Kolhapur 416001, INDIA

URL: http://www.tmrfindia.org/sutra.html


11. Calendar of Events of Interest to the ICMI Community

International Society for Design and Development in Education
ISDDE 2008 conference
Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands, June 29 - July 2, 2008

Joint ICMI /IASE Study Statistics Education in School Mathematics:
Challenges for Teaching and Teacher Education
ICMI Study and IASE Round Table Conference
ITESM, Monterrey, Mexico, June 30-July 4, 2008

ICME-11 - Mexico 2008
11th International Congress on Mathematical Education
Monterrey, Mexico, July 6 - 13, 2008.

HPM 2008:  History and Pedagogy of Mathematics
The HPM Satellite Meeting of ICME-11,
National Mexican University, Mexico City (UNAM), Mexico, July 14-18, 2008

Fifth European Congress of Mathematics
Amsterdam RAI Center, Netherlands, July 14-18, 2008

PME32 & PME-NA30 Mexico joint conference
Morelia, Mexico, July 17-21 2008.
PME33: Thessaloniki - Greece, July 19-24, 2009
PME34: Univ. Fed. Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil - July 2010

Towards Digital Mathematics Library (DML 2008)
Birmingham, UK, July 27, 2008

MathFest 2008
Madison, WI, USA, July 31- August 2 2008

10th Iranian Mathematics Education Conference (IMEC-10)
Yazd, Iran, August 12-15, 2008
Contact: a_rejali at cc.iut.ac.ir, soheila_azad at yahoo.com

4th European Workshop on Mathematical & Scientific e-Contents
Trondheim, Norway, September 11-13, 2008,

TIME-2008: Technology and its Integration in Mathematics Education
Tshwane Univ. of Tech., Buffelspoort, South Africa, September 22-26, 2008

41st Korean National Meeting of Mathematics Education
Donguei National University, Korea, October 31 - November 1, 2008
<mailto:yhchoe1940 at yahoo.co.kr>yhchoe1940 at yahoo.co.kr

ATCM-13: 13th Asian Technology Conference in Mathematics
Bangkok, Thailand,  December 15-19, 2008

3rd international conference to review research 
on Science, TEchnology and Mathematics Education
Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (TIFR), 
Mumbai, India, January 5-9, 2009

ICTMT-9 - 9th Int Conf on Technology in Mathematics Teaching
Metz, France,  July 4-8, 2009

"Models in Developing Mathematics Education"
The Mathematics Education into the 21st Century Project
Dresden, Saxony, Germany, September 11-17, 2009
<mailto:arogerson at inetia.pl>alan at rogerson.pol.pl


12. Historical vignettes: The almost failure of founding IMUK/ICMI

As is well known, the ICMI was founded in 1908 
following a proposal published in 1905 by David 
Eugene Smith and reiterated in the pedagogical 
section of the International Congress of 
Mathematicians (ICM) at Rome. The intense, active 
role Germany played in achieving the aims of ICMI 
is also familiar. Surprisingly, however, the 
founding almost failed owing to the machinations 
of a German participant, himself committed to 
mathematics education.
The imminent failure of Smith's proposal is clear 
from Eileen Donoghue's (1987) study. According to 
Smith's papers, in the fourth section of the ICM, 
on 9 April, while the German astronomer 
Archenhold was presiding, Smith presented his 
paper and proposed establishing the international 
committee. Archenhold favoured the proposal and 
took the vote, which passed.
Nevertheless, Smith thought it necessary to have 
the proposal reconfirmed at the last meeting of 
the fourth section, on 11 April. Then, however, 
the presider was the German mathematics teacher 
and educator Max Simon. Simon, as Donoghue 
reports, "was one of the few who voiced an 
objection to Smith's proposal" (Donoghue 1987, 
267). She observes, "While Smith and his 
supporters were in the lobby discussing 
maneuvers, Simon adjourned the meeting."
Because it was the last meeting of the section, 
Smith's proposal would have been postponed until 
the next Congress, 4 years later! Donoghue (1987) 
reports how Smith prevented the premature death 
of his idea by trickily dealing with standing 
orders: "Since Italy was the official host 
country for the Congress, Smith urged Professors 
Castelnuovo and Enriques to exercise their 
procedural right and reconvene the meeting" 
(ibid., 268), which Enriques and others managed 
to achieve. Only then was the motion voted on and 
transmitted to the General Assembly for its 
approval. It was adopted in the closing session 
that same afternoon.
A second source for the near failure of Smith's 
proposal is a report by Walther Lietzmann, who 
shortly thereafter became Klein's assistant in 
handling ICMI matters. Lietzmann reported on an 
incident at the 9 April session where Smith gave 
his talk. August Gutzmer, one of the key German 
promoters, together with Klein, of the reform of 
mathematics teaching, reported on the movement. 
In the discussion following Gutzmer's talk, Max 
Simon criticized those reforms. Presiding at the 
last session, Simon used his position to defeat 
Smith's proposal. Lietzmann quotes Simon on the 
reform proposals: "The good is not new; and the 
new is not good!" (Lietzmann 1960, 44; my 
transl., G.S.).
The conflict between Klein and the modernizers, 
on the one hand, and the defenders, like Simon, 
of traditional approaches, on the other hand, has 
been seen as a rivalry between two competing 
scientific schools in German mathematics 
education (Burscheid 1984). Simon was a 
mathematics teacher at a gymnasium whose main 
interest was in geometry, where he advocated 
classical Euclidean methods.

Gert Schubring, gert.schubring at uni-bielefeld.de

Note from the editor: Some references:
* EILEEN F. DONOGHUE 1987, The origins of a 
professional mathematics education program at 
Teachers College, Ed.D. Thesis, Columbia 
University New York, Teachers College
MATHÉMATIQUES (Suite), Chapitre: Opinion de M. 
Dav.-Eug. Smith Professeur au Teachers College, 
Columbia University, New-York., L'Enseignement 
Mathématique / Volume 7 (1905), p. 469-471.
All the numbers of the journal "L'Enseignement 
Mathématique" are available on the web at the 



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