Annual Report 2009, Vienna
Network 24 is a relatively new network; ECER 09 was the first time network 24 was running. Surprisingly considering its ‘age’ it had received a relatively high number of proposals for papers and symposia. These were reviewed by two members of the co-convenor group; each paper had received two referees. A number of papers had been rejected outright, whilst others had been returned and revisions suggested before the final round of reviews had been carried out. Selected papers had been re-directed to other networks, and equally other networks had sent some papers to network 24. All accepted papers could be fitted into the three-day programme without ‘doubling’, and all presentations took place in the same room- a fact that participants appreciated and mentioned in the business meeting. The attendance of the sessions was generally good, between 7 and 25 participants, and email addresses were collected throughout the sessions and these will be used to solicit participation.
Related to the reviewing process, questions about criteria in relation to submissions were raised in the business meeting, and it was felt that whilst a lack of published criteria (as at present) perhaps allows for the greatest range of submissions, it would be useful to have some published criteria / guidelines that refer specifically to mathematics education. This would help the network in meeting EERA expectations of moving towards a more standardised review process. Discussion about how to handle larger numbers of submissions resulted in a consensus in favour of running parallel sessions rather than being less inclusive at the review stage.
Furthermore, whilst the current process ensures a good level of standardisation with only a few reviewers, an advantage of having a greater number of reviewers is that the network can be more inclusive. It was suggested in the business meeting to expand the reviewer base, and three more co-convenors were subsequently added to the present three, thus providing a total of one main and five co-convenors.
During the business meeting there was substantial discussion relating to the identity of the group with its focus on mathematics and mathematics education research. It was recognised that mathematics education research has strong national communities and in terms of research in educational disciplines is one of, if not the, strongest. Discussion focused on how different the network is to the general education strands of ECER and how distinctive it is when compared with other mathematics education groups in Europe such as ERME and more widely such as PME.
It was felt important that at future conferences there be opportunities for the mathematics education network to meet socially. Various suggestions were considered and the following ideas emerged with strong support: a social event at the end of the first day for the group; an opportunity for reflection about the conference at the end of the final day; the possibility of keeping one session free allowing time for informal discussion with refreshments; emailing everyone with a suggested hotel to stay in.