Professor of Elementary Mathematics, Faculty of Education
Synopsis: Dr. Lynda Colgan’s lifelong mission is to make science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fun. She has published award-winning books about mathematics education, created toolkits for educators and students, inspired several television series for children, and directed the wildly successful Science Rendezvous Kingston for over seven years. Dr. Colgan discusses the anxieties of North American adults surrounding math literacy, even though many use mathematics in everyday situations without realizing it. Ontario students as early as Grade 3 are already taking on negative attitudes towards math, and scores on standardized mathematics tests are dropping rapidly. Dr. Colgan is concerned that less than 50% of Ontario high school students are graduating with math and science credits. She has seen that students who see their mistakes as opportunities to learn instead of feeling discouraged by failure are able to perform better in the classroom. The song “The New Math” by Tom Lehrer can be found on YouTube, and more information can be found on Lynda’s website.