This presentation will focus on characterising the knowledge required to make sense of the symbolic artefacts of the workplace - the computer generated graphs, charts, calculations and so on that are typically highly automated. It will draw on more than a decade of research findings in the field, most recently The Techno-Mathematical Literacies in the Workplace project, which was completed in 2007. The research was designed to answer two questions: What knowledge and skills are required for workplaces rich in digital technologies? How can digital technologies be exploited to develop these new skills in the workforce? The research derived a series of case studies from the manufacturing and financial service sectors, which show that there has been a radical shift in the type mathematical skills required for work – a shift not yet fully recognised by the formal education system, or by employers and managers. The results challenge the idea that technology has simply ’deskilled’ its workers. While this is certainly true in many instances, for many employees there are new things to know, which demand new ways to learn and teach -- involving technology as a central component.
Richard Noss is co-director of the London Knowledge Lab, an interdisciplinary collaboration between educationists and computer scientists from the Institute of Education and Birkbeck, two colleges of the University of London. He is Professor of Mathematics Education at the IOE, and holds a Masters degree in pure mathematics and a PhD in mathematical education. He was co-founder and deputy scientific manager of Kaleidoscope, the European network of excellence for technology enhanced learning, and is a past editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning. He is currently the director of the Technology Enhanced Learning phase of the Teaching and Learning Research Programme, funded jointly by the ESRC and EPSRC.
Professor Noss has directed some 20 research projects, all of which have focussed on some mix of technology-enhanced learning, mathematics, and - for the last ten or so years, workplace learning. He currently directs the MiGen project, which seeks to design and implement an intelligent learning environment for improving 11-14 year-old students’ learning of mathematical generalisation. Professor Noss has edited and authored six books, including Windows on Mathematical Meanings: Learning Cultures and Computers (co-authored with Celia Hoyles) in 1996. His most recent book (co-authored with Hoyles, Kent and Bakker), Improving Mathematics at Work, questions the mathematical knowledge and skills that matter in the 21st century world of work, and studies how the use of mathematics in the workplace is evolving in the rapidly-changing context of new technologies and globalisation.