09 April 2019: Seminar by Professor Miroslav Lovric, McMaster University, Canada
Title: Vision of Numeracy in Reality: “Numbers for Life” Course at McMaster University
Abstract: Numeracy means, and is, different things to different people. For my university’s call for improvements of our students’ literacy and numeracy skills, “numeracy (or numeric literacy or quantitative literacy) can be viewed as a combination of specific knowledge and skills, which are needed to function in the modern world. Numeracy involves reasoning from, and about, numeric information (data), which can be presented in a variety of ways (such as numeric, graphic, and dynamic forms).” There are many conceptualizations of numeracy, and much debate over the relationship between numeracy and mathematics. Although I will touch upon these - as I am a person who prefers action - I plan to spend most of the time describing the numeracy course (somewhat inappropriately named “Numbers for Life”) that I created and have been teaching at McMaster University. This is a course which allows me to bring important mathematical and statistical ideas together, and apply them in truly relevant contexts, including climate change, population dynamics and environment, money and financial matters, crypto currencies, economic and wealth indicators, and understanding of data.
Bio: Miroslav Lovric is a professor of mathematics in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at McMaster University. His research interests include applied mathematics and mathematics education. Recently, he has been studying ways of integrating modelling and problem-solving into interdisciplinary science curricula, as well as integrating programming into life sciences courses. Supported by a SSHRC (Canadian Government) grant, he collaborates on creating learning modules for improving health numeracy among students and health care professionals. He published several textbooks, including Calculus for the Life Sciences and Vector Calculus. In 2016, he was appointed a co-director of the Centre for Mathematics Education at the Fields Institute in Toronto.