Workshops: An overview

The content of proposed workshops should relate closely to the aims of MERGA. Workshops are NOT opportunities for people to deliver papers. Any individual presentations must be of less than ten minutes. Group discussions with sharing of thoughts and experiences (e.g. on writing for journals or on organising for engaging lectures), focused work on a resource (such as analysis of a transcript applying a particular learning theory), or a lesson using a resource (e.g. on use of EndNote software or on managing large thesis documents), or teaching about a specific resource for teacher education or recearch are all appropriate formats. 

The number of Workshop slots offered at any conference will vary. The length of timeslots also varies. They may be run in dedicated timeslots or in parallel with other types of presentations. Before planning activities, please check the program to see how many sessions have been allocated and how long each one is. It is not necessary for any Workshop to use all of the timeslots allocated to these, so please make it clear in a proposal which of the slots will be used. If specific equipment of a venue such as a computer laboratory is needed, this needs to be negotiated with(and approved by) the conference co-ordinator before the proposal is accepted.

If a workshop is continuing an on-going conversation or a task (such as work on a book), and hence will not be appropriate for new participants, this should also be made clear in the proposal.

Proposing a Workshop

The offering of Workshops is co-ordinated by the Vice President (Conferences). Each year, calls for expressions of interest are made in the second conference announcement and in a separate email message to MERGA members. People willing to coordinate a Workshop should email to the VP(Conferences) an abstract of up to 250 words, outlining the Workshop's:

  • title
  • aims or focus
  • intended activity for the conference slot
  • whether you are intending to use one or more of the timeslots that have been allocated to SIGs and workshops
  • whether new participants are welcome of whether membership is restricted to people already engaged in the on-going work of the group.

The closing date for proposals is one month after the due date for Research Papers



Workshop Co-ordinator

Fostering Algebraic Thinking in K-6 Mathematics with Excel
In recent times the generation, description and replication of patterns and relations have emerged as core activities in K-6 mathematics and beyond. This aspect of working mathematically is emphasised in the new K-6 mathematics syllabus (NSW Board of Studies, 2002) and other reform-based curriculum documents.
This workshop will attempt to demonstrate how electronic spreadsheets such as Excel can be used to encourage young children search for, create and record patterns within thenumber strand.
Participants will develop learning activities within an Excel environment that draw on children’s pre-algebra concepts.

Convenor: Mohan Chinnappan

Subjective Reality? Exploring Classroom Data.
Previous work (Breen 2001) has supported the enactivist position that reality is not a given but perceiver dependent. Enactivism (see for example Maturana and Varela (1986) and Varela, Thompson and Rosch (1991)) maintains that this is not because the perceiver “constructs” it as s/he pleases, but because what counts as a relevant world is inseparable from the structure of the perceiver. In addition, our efforts to understand the world are better thought of in terms of interpreting our own perceptions and patterns of acting within a dynamic context than in terms of coming to know that context as independent of our participation.

What are the implications of these ideas for researchers working with classroom data? The workshop will attempt to explore the topic further by inviting participants to work with a piece of videotaped classroom interaction in different ways. Each activity will attempt to uncover different layers of the participants’ structure with a view to understanding both the research and the practitioner process in more depth.
Time slot: 1 x 95 minutes

Convenor: Chris Breen

Breen, C. (2001). Researching Teaching: Telling the hole’d truth and nothing but my truth. In A. Rogerson (ed.) Proceedings of the International Conference of the Mathematics Education into the 21st Century Project, Palm Cove, Australia, August 2001.
Maturana, H and F. Varela (1986) The Tree of Knowledge. Shambhala: New York
Varela, F. J., Thompson, E. and Rosch, E. (1991). The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience. Cambridge, MA: The Press MIT.

Embedding mathematics in an online international preparatory program: striving for best practice results from a pilot study

Convenor: Linda Galligan