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Video Mosaic Collaborative for Improving the Learning and Teaching of Mathematics

Categories: Rutgers Distinguished Faculty Talk Series
Speaker: Carolyn Maher, Professor II of Mathematics Education and the Director of the Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning at the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers
Date & Time: November 2, 2009 - 3:30pm
Location: Fiber Optics Auditorium, Busch Campus

Introduction by Dean Richard De Lisi

This lecture will introduce highlights from a unique collection of video and related data that have been
amassed at Rutgers through two decades of research conducted by Carolyn Maher and colleagues at the
Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning (RBDIL). The video collection includes over 4,500 hours of source videos
and emanates from longitudinal and cross‐sectional studies of the development of mathematical ideas and
ways of reasoning of students, which were conducted in formal and informal educational settings and
supported with National Science Foundation funding. Synthesizing the video data from several content strands
on mathematical reasoning has led to the current NSF study, the Video Mosaic Collaborative (VMC). The VMC
is a partnership among Rutgers University Libraries, the RBDIL, and the University of Wisconsin - Madison that
is leveraging research‐based resources, building new digital tools, and using them for research on teacher
education. The VMC project has dual goals of (1) preservation and storage of the video collection from the
RBDIL in the Rutgers Community Repository from which they can be accessed, and (2) examination of how the
knowledge of content and pedagogy for teaching mathematics as a thoughtful subject can be enhanced
through teachers' studying video of how children reason while involved in mathematical problem solving. The
talk will describe the Davis Institute's partnership with the Rutgers Digital Library group and how this work is
harnessing cyber infrastructure and using workflow programming to facilitate use of the video collection to
conduct innovative research in teacher education contexts.

Carolyn A. Maher is Professor II of Mathematics Education and the Director of the Robert B. Davis Institute for
Learning at the Graduate School of Education of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She is Editor of
the Journal of Mathematical Behavior. Her research, consisting of both cross‐sectional and longitudinal
studies, has focused on the development of mathematical ideas and mathematical reasoning in learners over
time, and has been supported by over $15 Million in grant funding. Most noteworthy is the longitudinal study
that followed the mathematical thinking of a cohort group of students doing mathematics in and out of
classrooms, now beginning its 22nd year and tracking the subjects as young professionals. The first 12 years of
the longitudinal study are featured in the Private Universe Project in Mathematics, a one‐hour documentary
produced by River Run media and a series of six video workshops for teacher professional development that
was produced by the Harvard‐Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Her other research includes a three‐year
study of middle school students' informal mathematics learning in an after‐school setting in an urban NJ
school district. She recently completed work on an NSF REESE Synthesis grant that selected video episodes on
children's mathematical reasoning as representative samples from prior studies for inclusion in a prototype of
a searchable database accessible via the Internet. Building on the Synthesis work, she and her colleagues were
awarded a four‐year collaborative research grant from the NSF, Cyber‐Enabled Design Research to Enhance
Teachers' Critical Thinking Using a Major Video Collection, in which they are focusing on teacher education
and how studying video episodes of children's learning from prior research potentially can improve teachers'
abilities to reason mathematically. In addition, she is Co‐PI on another newly awarded NSF grant, NJ
Partnership for Excellence in Middle School Mathematics. Professor Maher has published over 130 papers
with 55 refereed journal articles and book chapters; she has given over 30 invited lectures, plenary sessions,
and keynote addresses in 12 countries, and she has chaired over 60 doctoral dissertations. She was invited co
chair of the Topic Study Group for "New Trends in Mathematics Education Research" at the Eleventh
International Congress on Mathematics Education, held in July 2008. She gave the invited keynote lecture
Critical Thinking Skills in Schools and Museums at the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
in June 2007. She was a plenary speaker at the 26th PME in Norwich, England, 2002, Senior Lecturer at the
International Congress for Mathematics Education in Copenhagen, Denmark, 2004, and Plenary Speaker at the
University of Helsinki Conference in Finland, 2004. She received her B.A., M.Ed. and Ed.D. from Rutgers

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