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Keith Devlin (photo by Juan Rodrigo Llaguno)
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Mathematics Teachers Conference March 26 at WIU

March 18, 2010

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University's department of mathematics will host the 59th Annual Mathematics Teachers Conference, with the theme "Teaching and Learning Mathematics K-14: Reflecting on the Past and Preparing for the Future 2010," from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday, March 26.

"This annual conference for K-14 teachers of mathematics in our region brings participants from as far away as Chicago and its suburbs," said Iraj Kalantari, chair of WIU's mathematics department. "The conference aims to provide valuable insights and information for teachers of all levels."

The opening keynote speaker will be nationally renowned mathematician Keith Devlin, who will present "World of Mathcraft," from 8:30-9:30 a.m. in 109 Morgan Hall. The keynote sessions are open free to the public.

Known as NPR's "Math Guy," Devlin, is a senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Language and Information; a co-founder and executive director of the H-STAR Institute; and co-founder and executive committee member of Media X at Stanford University. He has also served as a consulting professor for the department of mathematics at Stanford.

He is highly regarded in mathematics and mathematics education, having written more than 26 books and published more than 80 research articles. He has a wide range of experiences involving the use of different media to teach and communicate mathematics to diverse audiences.

Devlin will speak about "the future delivery medium for middle-school mathematics education…log on and play the massively multiplayer online videogame 'Word of Warcraft.' The only question is whether we will see this happen within the next decade, or it will take longer. The deciding factor will be largely one of vision and funding. We already have the knowledge of how to make this happen from a technology perspective. Indeed, one prototype has already been built. I know; I helped build it and I've played with it."

He will explain the pedagogy the team adopted, the thinking behind it, what was learned from this project and speculate as to what might happen next. Devlin said the prototype will not make a first release "any day soon, because the cost of completing the development to a first release would run into hundreds of millions of dollars, well beyond the $50M budget of the five-year project I was involved in."

The closing keynote speaker will be Susan Morrison, Illinois Deputy State Superintendent on Education, who will present "Shaping the Future of Illinois Education," from 2:45-3:45 p.m. in 109 Morgan Hall. Her talk will focus on the latest developments in state and national standards and how they may impact Illinois teachers, students, expectations and assessments.

"The American Diploma Project and Common Core Standards movement are poised to change the way we teach and learn mathematics, and Morrison will be able to address these issues as she discusses the future of education here in Illinois," Kalantari said.

Morrison has more than 30 years in education in the state as a teacher, an administrator in a K-12 district and as director at the state office of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The rest of the conference offers sessions and workshops for teachers and others interested in math education for students K-14. Educators from WIU, Macomb, Frankfort, Naperville, Chicago, Geneseo, Charleston, Normal and Bloomington will be the presenters.

Full-day registration is $50 for educators and $10 for university students, which includes a box lunch. To register, contact Sharon Setser by phone, (309) 298-2275, or by e-mail,, or register online at

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