This panel discussion is inspired by the connectedness of Jon's thinking on all things mathematical and educational. I will begin with a description of some of what I have learnt from Jon, and then provide some questions about which our Panel discussion will be focused.
About Jon: Learner and Teacher
I first met Jon Borwein at an AustMS dinner, where we happened to be seated next to each other. Although we hadn't known each other before, we were soon in vigorous talk about Education, and what really matters in what we as Educators bring and do. Like every conversation with Jon, it was about ideas and people, with Jon making his points in assured rapid-fire, solidly backed-up if queried on any particular, interwoven with vignettes of stories drawn from all over the world. By good fortune I was at the launch of Jon's CARMA centre at the University of Newcastle, and later joined the group first as a postdoc and later as Faculty, and Education representative on the CARMA Executive. From that vantage, I've had the privilege of continuing that first conversation, for roughly seven years.
Conversations never end with Jon, a bit like his talks! His presentations were always grand panoplies of which he would draw upon samples according to mood and need, picking up threads again at a later time, re-envisaged for a new purpose, but with ever the same underlying themes of discovery, joy, surprise, and human narrative. The slides of his many talks are still available on the Founding Director's link on the CARMA website. Whenever Jon was speaking, he was teaching. Why? I think it was because he was himself an insatiable learner; and that learning about mathematics and people was a great joy in his life which he wanted to share, and still does through his prolific legacy.
Focus questions for the panel discussion:
Q1. Can research practices be fruitfully incorporated in school mathematics?
Q2. Can mathematics be taught in such a way that the general population do not fear it?
Q3. How can we change mathematics research training to be more inclusive of a diversity of people and cultures?
Q4. How do the specific characters and needs of the research areas effect the above questions?