Math Reality

KA2 Innovation: School education

The latest PISA results (2015) show that 22.2% of European students were low achievers in math, a figure that has slightly risen up since the last PISA test (2012). Which means that more than one out of five youngsters in Europe are not equipped with this basic skill necessary for numerous jobs in our current economy. The Commission has the objective to lower this number to 15% by 2020 but, so far, in many countries compared to the previous PISA test the progression is weak (between -0.1 and -0.9 percentage points such as in Romania) when the level is not lower than before (e.g. Croatia +2,2).

Einstein stated that ‘the only source of knowledge is experience’. It is proven by many studies that we retain around 10% of what we read, yet 90% of what we experience ourselves. Being at school is the most important educational period when students create learning mechanisms, construct knowledge and develop basic skills and acquisition methods. Many academic papers and global reports, such as the “Mathematics Education in Europe: Common Challenges and National Policies” from the Eurydice network point out the importance the learner’s motivation and engagement.

Considering those two points, it is therefore essential to work on a way to improve the level of European pupils on mathematics and make their learning experience less passive. Based on their respective expertise and research, the partners are convinced that using Virtual Reality technology (VR) could play a very positive role on improving education in general and the learning of mathematics. The objective of this project is to develop new tools by means of inquiry non-formal education, hands on pedagogy methodology and usage of VR for enhancing current didactics of mathematics. The program and the tools will target the teachers and educators of secondary education to give them access to a new range of possibilities to teach this specific topic and potentially others.

Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality have been referred to as the ‘4th wave’ of technological innovation and change in the world of computing. The first three, namely PCs, the Internet, and mobile, have seen monumental shifts in the way that we interact, engage and communicate, with fundamental and life changing effects for us all. Virtual Reality, by its pure definition, can deliver experiences and interactions for students that are either not practical or not possible in the ‘real world’. This technology helps students feel immersed in an experience, gripping their imagination and stimulating thought in ways not possible with traditional books, pictures or videos, and facilitates a far higher level of knowledge retention.

For those reasons, the project partners are convinced that this approach will enhance the creativity and engagement of both teachers and students and improve teaching and learning processes. By challenging the problem of underachievement in mathematics project partners want to look beyond pre-configured curriculum resources, and understanding how usage of this technology can unlock far more potential with students than traditional content.

This approach will have benefits for all learners across Europe where only four countries have reached the 15% benchmark of low-achievers in mathematics set by the European Commission. In order to increase the relevancy of the project, the partners are all based in countries with a rate of low achievers in mathematics above the average of the EU: Italy (23,3%), France (23.5%), Croatia (32%), Romania (39.9%) and Cyprus (42,6%). The case of the Belgian partner is particular as the country performs decently in general (slightly above 20% of underachievers) but with large differences between regions as the Flanders region is one of the best performers while Wallonia, where Logopsycom is based, keeps on underperforming as they are under the European average, like the other partners’ countries.

To successfully tackle this challenge, the project partners will participate in creation of 48 OER which will allow to build engaging experience during mathematics lessons:
*1 booklet “VR for education” will present how VR technology can be used in the education sector
-technical aspects
-pedagogical aspects
-safety aspects
*1 pedagogical guide “VR for mathematics”
*15 analog hands-on designs: creation of mathematics exercises that will be transferred into VR
*Creation of a VR application
*30 lesson scenarios to use with VR applications

Through this project, the partners seek to offer teachers and students an innovative methodology, tools and strategies based on the use of VR technology in order succeed in deepening students’ knowledge of mathematics through engaging virtual simulations, encouraging the development of creativity and their connection with other disciplines and concepts in order to improve their engagement and success in mathematics.

The website is under development and it will be available here:

www.math-reality.eu

Duration: 01-11-2018 till 31-10-2020

Project Number: 2018-1-FR01-KA201-048197

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein