EVLM: European Virtual Laboratory on Mathematics

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The main goal of the project was to establish the EUROPEAN VIRTUAL LABORATORY OF MATHEMATICS (EVLM), comprising a network of National Centres of Mathematics in partner countries.

The aim of EVLM is to promote better understanding and use of mathematical knowledge in a range of disciplines underpinned by maths. The specific objectives of the project are:

•    To develop an authoritative catalogue of educational materials in mathematics.
•    To provide support to teachers in using these materials.
•    To support the exchange of maths teaching materials.

The National Centres established by the project in each partner country host a portal providing a virtual database of mathematical resources and e-learning materials available from the partner institutions and other sources (such as previously EU-funded projects). In addition, the National Centres also offer consultancy services to those wishing to learn about the latest results in mathematics and mathematics teaching.

The Central portal provides the complete database of teaching materials.

The main target groups of EVLM are:

1.    Learners from secondary to PhD level
2.    Teachers
3.    Researchers and scientists in non-academic spheres – EVLM seeks to meet the mathematical needs of those who are not themselves mathematicians but need to use advanced mathematics in their work or in their own field of study

Basic information

Country: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Slovakia, Spain, United Kingdom

Coordinator: Slovenská technická univerzita v Bratislave, Strojnícka fakulta, Slovakia, www.sjf.stuba.sk

Programme: LLP

Project Acronym:

Target groups: college students, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, university students, vocational school students

Topic: Information technology, Maths

Start year: 2006

End year: 2008

Url: http://evlm.stuba.sk/EVLM/

Contact person: Daniela Velichová, central (at) evlm.stuba.sk

The project built on the recent advances in computer technology, aiming to harness various ICT tools to enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics. There are three key areas where the use of ICT can be beneficial:

1. Visualisation.
Many mathematical concepts are made much more readily accessible and understandable when they are visualised. The graphical capabilities of computers provide a way in which such visualisations can be presented to students very easily.

2. The possibility of removing the distraction of large amounts of manipulation.
There is evidence that learners sometimes lose sight of the key concepts they are trying to learn when large amounts of manipulation are associated with them. Completing the manipulation can become the learner's goal rather than understanding the mathematical principles. When used effectively, technology can remove this distraction and allow users to concentrate on understanding the concepts.

3. The possibility for students to tackle much larger-scale (and therefore more realistic) problems.
Only the bravest student would try to solve 6 simultaneous linear equations armed only with a pencil and paper. But, with computer technology to call on, a problem with a hundred or more variables is a fairly routine challenge.

The training materials for teachers produced by EVLM and the teaching materials in the EVLM database concentrate on introducing and using those mathematical applications that offer the above advantages.

The National EVLM Portals and the Central EVLM Portal provide an on-line database of e-learning educational materials in Mathematics fully searchable by topic, type, target group, etc.

There are four basic types of educational materials in the database:

•    FACTs: Frequently Asked Consultation Topics offering basic information about mathematical concepts.
•    RLOs: Reusable Learning Objects offering complex information about certain mathematical concepts.
•    PROBLEMs are training materials offering solved problems and examples of basic mathematical topics.
•    MODULEs are complex educational materials offering source information about basic mathematical topics in certain mathematical subjects.

The Portals also offer Teacher's guidelines, containing basic didactic material for teachers and information about development of electronic learning materials in mathematics, using special editors enabling MAthML coding of formulas and on-line calculations on the Web.

Each EVLM portal also provides online consultations on mathematical concepts and problems.

The Central EVLM portal is available at: http://www.evlm.stuba.sk/. Links to the National Portals are provided on the Central portal.

 

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