A Greek Headmaster’s first impressions of the project
On the 30th of June 2020, an online workshop was undertaken by CIP in collaboration with the University of Thessaly. The collaboration led to more than 70 participants mostly from Cyprus and Greece. The aim of the workshop was to share the different way we have approached the teaching of mathematics through, visual arts, theater, cinematography, music and literature. This has been achieved by creating an online educational website which – among other things – includes 56 tools for students aged 13-18. The webinar included:
- The background and objectives of the project;
- The creative educational material based on non-formal methods of teaching mathematics and how they are used in arts;
- The methodologies and material covered in the toolbox (56 tools in total) as well as the analysis of two tools, Tool 1: Gothic Art of ages 13-15 and Tool 42: Approaching Triangular Numbers through the Book “The housekeeper and the professor” of ages 16-18;
- An analytical overview of the website “The Art of Maths”, navigating along the online platform.
Further to the webinar, Mr. Vlastos made a video (uploaded in YouTube – link) based on Tool 1: Gothic Art. Mr. Vlastos used GeoGebra – a Math Application – to show step by step the construction of a gothic window. His interest and enthusiasm towards the project “The Art of Maths” and the initiative to use one of the tools of the project to create a video was the result of the interview.
Mr. Vlastos, a participant of the online workshop, who is a headmaster at the General High School of Proastiou (Karditsa) was kindly asked to answer the following questions:
- What did you find more interesting about this project? Why?
- How would you use the “online-training course”, the “Let’s Play” section and the “E-library” at your school / classroom?
- Going through the Online-Training course: Which, in your opinion, will have the greatest impact on students?
- How do you think the project will help a 13-18-year-old student? (for example: to improve their critical sense, creativity, cultural knowledge etc.)
Mr. Vlastos’ response
“I am a mathematician active in teaching mathematics to students and to mathematicians. I am always interested in being able to identify representatives of mathematics to make teaching more attractive. On the website, the material has been uploaded carefully and structured, leading to immediately ready-made material but mainly, an incentive to do my own thing. This means that by searching and studying some of the articles related to mathematics provided in the online platform, can be included in a teacher’s educational process, either as a few-minute simple report, or as a work of a few hours. For example, there is a reference in the material that Geometry can be used for Gothic pattern. A teacher can include this example as part of their lesson and ask the students to make an artwork. Also, you can ask your students to build it using dynamic geometry software, and make a video with the obvious construction steps, thus connecting Mathematics, Art and Technology together.
In the ‘Let’s Play’ section, the convenient number of questions asked is just right for students, so that they do not become bored or exhausted while doing them. In this section, an assessment is made out of the concepts that relate mathematics and arts, given the possibility to grade them and reuse the tasks in the future. It is a fun activity, complementary to the educational process which can be used by students in the classroom but also at home. One can find very interesting articles in the Online Library – personally, I was impressed by ‘Mathematical Poetry’ – which can be used as an article to study from or as a source of reference.
I believe that the first category, ‘Mathematics and Visual Arts’, will initially attract more math teachers. This is because, for this category, teachers are able to study the material provided to them on their own and draw ideas that can be used in the educational process. For the other categories – music, theater, cinematography and literature – a collaboration between the math and music teacher or math and literature teacher will be needed. The website is a contributing platform for interdisciplinary approaches. I consider that, a few students will be studying on their own the actual articles related to mathematics and art however, it will be more enjoyable if students work together as part of a group. Hence, gradually they will understand that they are the link of an effort. It is an experiential process led by educators, which usually leads to a pleasant feeling of knowledge and creativity, to a deep understanding of knowledge resulting in a change of behavior that result to critical thinking.”