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Educators and students join 10th HCT Maths Conference

The Higher Colleges of Technology—Abu Dhabi Women’s College (ADWC) hosted approximately 200 maths educators today at the HCT’s 10th Math Conference. The annual conference welcomed students and maths teachers from the HCT’s seventeen colleges.

This year’s theme, “Maths and Higher Order Thinking,” offered ideas in support of bringing higher order thinking skills into maths classrooms. Although skills such as knowledge and comprehension tend to dominate college maths classes, higher order thinking skills such as analysis and evaluation are critical to applying maths to real life and work situations. “Maths and higher order thinking skills are a natural fit for our students,” stated ADWC Director Dr. Jace Hargis. “Our programs emphasize a practical, ‘learning-by-doing’ approach that incorporates higher order thinking.”

Dr. Arthur Benjamin, perhaps the United States’ most celebrated maths professor, delivered the conference’s keynote address, entitled “The Secrets of Mental Math & Tips to Develop Higher Order Thinking.” Dr. Benjamin shared methods for carrying out rapid mental calculations, as well as background information about how he discovered and developed them. He also spent time with students exploring how to develop higher order thinking in different mathematical topics.

Dr. Benjamin is best known for what he calls “mathemagics,” feats of mental calculation which astonish viewers even when they know the patterns behind them. In addition to his keynote speech, his “mathemagical” performance amazed the HCT maths faculty and their students.

In breakout sessions, eminent faculty from several colleges shared classroom tips and strategies for stimulating higher order thinking skills, including apps for the iPad, which all HCT Foundation maths students employ as a learning tool. In addition to “iPadagogy,” presenters demonstrated a variety of activities and software packages to encourage student achievement.

Students, who represented Foundations, General Education, and math-intensive majors such as Business and Engineering, were extremely pleased with the day’s event. “Because I came to this conference, my interest in learning maths has grown,” said ADWC student Nouf. “I am excited to try some of the ‘tricks’ that Dr. Benjamin taught us.”

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