Project description

Project description

Aside from the creation of a suitable web-based repository (Mathematics Learning Platform - MLP), the project is dedicated to providing a basis for digital mathematics teaching, learning and assessment materials in particular for courses in Mathematics for engineering students. In doing so, pedagogical issues are considered, for example, individualized learning possibilities that take into account learner types. Furthermore, key approaches such as collective thinking, collaboration and shared problem solving skills are taken into account while planning the resources. These skills are not only beneficial for successful studies but also for success in the working world.
With this foundational work and the future contributions from mathematics educators throughout Europe, the accessibility of ready-made digitized materials will increase. These flexible alternatives, which can either replace or be combined with traditional teaching methods, are attractive to students. They can help to engage students more intensely in the learning process, thereby increasing their chances of successfully learning mathematics. The individual learning solutions and differentiated feedback are key to students’ self-motivation, so that students are also supported in the self-study phase.

Mathematics plays one of the most important roles in developments of our modern and technology-centered society. Additionally, it lays the basis for technical studies, but is also needed e.g. in economics and life science. In fact, good mathematical skills are crucial for science and economy. The FutureMath project aims not only to develop mathematical competence in Europe but also to pay attention to the quality of mathematics' education. In fact, based on studies (i.e. Hanushek and Wossman, 2007) the quality of education has a strong positive effect on economic growth.

Unfortunately, various studies have shown that mathematical competence in Europe has weakened in recent decades. The lack of mathematical proficiency is already causing problems in engineering mathematics’ and other courses in European HEIs. In fact, this seems to be a global problem, and e.g. the learning outcomes of Eastern European countries have been weaker than expected, especially in mathematics, after they moved to the Western European model of education (e.g. SEFI 2002). Compounding the issues, the resources allocated to teaching have been decreased so that there are fewer resources for teaching and the development of teaching.

Additionally, in recent years the study groups have been increasing and becoming even more heterogeneous. This naturally causes problems for organization of mathematics' teaching as for example the entry level of competence in mathematics varies greatly depending on the background studies. Under these circumstances, taking into account individual needs or organizing dynamic and creative activities becomes almost impossible during the classroom sessions. As a sum of many factors, it has been reported that the drop-out rates are high in the field of technology.

However, mathematical skills are a prerequisite in technical studies and mathematics lay the basis for understanding different engineering disciplines. Thus, the students' poor skills in mathematics slow down or even prevent their studies. In principle, an engineer must be able to think analytically and to be capable of logical reasoning. In addition, an engineer needs to understand mathematics, which allows them to deal with and understand technical problems. Overall, mathematics penetrates deep into the engineering professional field, affecting the opportunities to absorb and learn engineering subjects. Thus, for example to be able to make new technological innovations, the understanding and skills of mathematics are crucial. 

Unfortunately, the lack of basic skills and knowledge of mathematics among the European engineering students complicates and in the worst case, even prevents future technological development in Europe. In order to maintain the competitiveness of Europe, the basic level of mathematical proficiency needs urgently to be increased on a large scale. Based on above described situation, the proposed project aims to improve the mathematical proficiency of European engineering students by developing methods and best practices to learn, teach and assess mathematics effectively. Since the objectives of the project are international, the best results can be achieved with transnational co-operation. Based on the results of a survey collected at TAMK in 2014, students expect more digital learning possibilities and utilizations of ubiquitous technology in mathematics' studies.  This is very natural as the whole of society is changing. Big data, open data, cloud services, digitalization, IoT etc. affect society and social activities on a large scale. As working life is constantly changing, its expectations and requirements have become more diverse. The 21st century skills, such as collective thinking, collaboration, creativity and shared problem solving skills are key components in modern working life and therefore the university teaching and learning should also train these skills.

The FutureMath project aims to respond to the requirements of modern society and to make mathematics' learning and teaching more digitalized, effective and accessible. Additionally, the aim is to explore and develop the most motivational, learner centered methods, techniques and resources for engineering mathematics learning and teaching with the help of technology. All the learning resources developed in the project will be made available for free under the idea of Open Source or Open Educational Resource (OER). 

Overall, the project respects and enables i.e. collective thinking, collaboration and shared problem solving skills. The project aims to develop and improve technology-enhanced methods and resources to teach, learn and study engineering mathematics under the themes such as collaboration, peer instruction and assessment, mostly based on approaches of e-learning 2.0 and 21st century skills.

Furthermore, the objectives are e.g. to pay attention to the different learner types, individual learning solutions, flexibility, effective feedback and assessment.




22 January 2015



About FutureMath

The FutureMath project aims to respond to the requirements of modern society and to make mathematics' learning and teaching more digitalized, effective and accessible.
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