Mathematics education: new students, digital media and inclusion

The four research groups in the field of mathematics education are closely interlinked with each other within the University of Duisburg-Essen and at the national and international level. They participate in the several joint projects, such as the programs ‘Bildungsgerechtigkeit im Fokus’ and ‘ProViel’ funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Centre for Mathematics Teacher Education (DZLM), initiated by the Deutsche Telekom Stiftung.

Digital media are an important aspect that connects the activities of all research groups. Various research and development projects are dedicated to the role and utilisation of digital media in mathematics lessons at primary and secondary level, in higher education and in teacher education. Their topics include potentials for the (summative and formative) diagnosis of learning progress and processes, the use of digital media in teacher education, and the role of digital textbooks in mathematics teaching. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, these issues are more relevant today than they have ever been. This is reflected in various activities of the research groups: they rapidly provided new supporting materials for mathematics teachers and analysed the currently used technologies in the international study ‘Math@Distance’, a joint endeavour with colleagues from Belgium and the Netherlands. The project highlighted stark differences in the way the countries approach remote teaching.

The new project ‘’, which focuses on digital mathematics teacher education in North Rhine-Westphalia, was awarded to the Faculty as early as May. Professor Petra Scherer and Professor Florian Schacht’s research groups will be leading the research consortium. The project seeks to achieve targeted improvements to mathematics teacher education at the primary level.

Other projects of our research groups focus on the growing importance of professionalism in teaching in order to prepare budding teachers for the challenges they will face in their work (e.g., digital transformation and inclusion). In collaboration with the German Centre for Mathematics Teacher Education (DZLM), our groups are organising professional development opportunities for multipliers and a nationwide programme to furnish them with basic qualifications. The Centre’s developmental department is co-managed by our Faculty’s Professor Bärbel Barzel. Various doctoral and post-doctoral projects explore issues of professionalism in mathematics education.

Others address the topic of inclusion and inclusive mathematics teaching. Apart from the development of class-based learning environments, our research covers the design and evaluation of courses, competence development in students, and studies into professional education for teachers.

It takes place in the form of multiple projects, including doctoral dissertation projects, which are closely interlinked. Besides seeking to find ways to gauge the learning capabilities of new students, our scholars focus on research-based methods for advance teaching practices. They include the systematic development of exercises in consideration of learning and problem-solving strategies and the use of supplementary e-assessment tasks or interactive, dynamic visualisations. The Faculty was able to establish a structured range of digital services, which are now used in a wide range of courses for new students. Acceptance of the new services is high. During their development, the researchers behind the project analysed many traditional exercise formats in terms of their digitisation potential and implemented them accordingly.