Creating and reproducing scientific knowledge is the responsibility of every research center, and at CMM we envisage that this responsibility stretches out to supporting mathematics development in the national educational system. As a society, we should nurture all the talent our country´s children and youth have to offer, we should awaken their scientific curiosity and spur them to greater levels of achievement. At the same time, we must give our citizens the tools to understand a world in which science is ever more present in our daily lives. Being focused on mathematics, our center contributes to this national endeavor that will allow our country to reach higher development goals.
Incorporating IT at various stages in the teaching and learning process is an innovative challenge that has been instated in every aspect of education. At the CMM we have accepted this challenge with an emphasis on primary and secondary school level mathematics by successfully fulfilling various projects. The first one was Innovative Didactic Materials for the Learning of Higher Mathematics in which we succeeded to produce educational software and teaching materials with virtual support. We lay emphasis on the project Interactive Tutorials in Mathematics, aimed at talented high-school students. This initiative presented students with the opportunity to learn advanced secondary mathematics through virtual courses mainly geared towards probability, geometry and the development of logical thinking. The results of this project were at the prototype level and clearly indicated the concept´s commercial and educational potential.
For education nationwide to succeed in raising science to new heights, we require several aspects of the education process be strengthened. Clearly, it is the teacher who plays a key role here, and a point we have always professed. Therefore, as a first step, we developed several initiatives for continuing education of mathematics teachers, experimenting and having success with the e-learning modality in the areas of probability and geometry.
However, our concern with continuing education of mathematics teachers has gradually evolved into a concern for the initial education and training these teachers receive upon beginning their careers, in view of the enormous impact this has on mass education. With this in mind, we instigated a project titled Tools for the Training Mathematics Teachers. The purpose of this project is to produce a collection of mathematical monographs and to introduce the use of case studies into the pedagogical training of future teachers. Led by researchers at our center, this project has a national scope and involves over 30 scholars from many universities throughout the country and we anticipate it will have a significant impact on the quality of high-school mathematics teachers trained in Chile.
In a project led by our researchers and in collaboration with researchers from the Universidad de Concepción, standards were defined which precisely and exhaustively describe the mathematical knowledge future mathematics teachers ought to obtain during their initial training. At this stage, we have introduced a methodology at the Universtiy degree level to analyze and describe curriculum content that is novel worldwide. The CMM has contributed to defining educational policy at the university and national levels. Researchers at our center have played a key role in studying and designing the Institute of Education at Universidad de Chile, which recently attained the “Program for Research in Education” status.
In addition, our center continually participates with the Ministry of Education in various facets. We highlight our participation in defining content standards and progress maps in school education, evaluation of school textbooks, as well as in a variety of advisory committees. This marked collaboration also manifests itself in direct involvement by the Ministry in projects headed by our center.
Our activities in education have been enriched by collaboration with researchers at centers both nationally and internationally. These academic ties have profited from the accomplishment of events, both in Chile and abroad, on topics in education which have attracted the involvement of world-class researchers. As a product of the work we have done in recent years and the previously-mentioned collaborations and contacts, it is possible to set out lines of scientific research in areas of mathematical education and cognitive science around education for the coming years.