The existing body of evidence clearly indicates that mathematical proficiency closely relates to the well-being of individuals (well-paid employment) and societies (as evidenced by the relationship between the average level of mathematical skills and socioeconomic indicators such as GDP). Therefore, it is advisable to create effective educational programs to improve the mathematical competence of typical individuals and support those who experience mathematics learning difficulties. These tasks require, in turn, an in-depth understanding of the cognitive, neural, and social mechanisms behind the learning and processing of mathematical structures.
The Mathematical Cognition and Learning Lab (hereafter, MCLL) aims to understand mechanisms underlying learning and processing mathematical structures by human beings and to develop evidence-based tools supporting mathematics education. The MCLL's activity will be based on four pillars:
Pillar 1: Conducting excellent scientific research. Integrating and intensifying current and initiating new interdisciplinary investigations on mathematical cognition and learning in different populations and age groups.
Pillar 2: Research and development. In particular, developing, disseminating, and testing the efficiency of software tools aiming to improve mathematics learning.
Pillar 3: Expert services for governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations. Their scope will be focused on implementing evidence-based learning solutions in mathematics education.
Pillar 4: Science communication. It will include further engagements in the currently pursued forms of popularization of science (MOOC courses, science festivals) and the development of new formats (e.g., webinars for teachers).
- Creating an interdisciplinary core research team, being one of the European leaders in mathematical cognition and learning studies.
- Creating laboratory facility (Rynek Główny 34, Spiski Palace) for interdisciplinary research on mathematical cognition and learning.
- Developing a network of local collaborators for implementation of joint research by scholars affiliated in various units of JU (i.e., Centre for Brain Research, Institute of Psychology, Institute of Education, and Department of Games Technology).
- Developing and formalizing a network of international collaborators of the lab, that will enable joint research and applying for external grants.
- Conducting a series of basic studies on elementary and complex numerical and geometric cognition that will result in the construction of reliable models of mathematics learning; publishing their results in top-class scientific journals.
- Developing digital tools for mathematics education and testing their efficiency in rigorous experimental designs.
- Creating a platform for expert services for governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations in the field of mathematics education and evidence-based education practices in general.
- Producing a series of multimedia materials (MOOC courses, podcasts, popular-science papers) and conducting educational workshops (webinars); they will increase the awareness of mathematical teachers and educators of the need to employ evidence- based methods and interventions.
The founding and further development of the MCLL will contribute to meeting indicators assumed in the Excellence Initiative – Research University of the JU in the following the way:
- "Normalized Citation Impact for Internationally Co-authored Articles (P) – according to the Scopus database": Almost all papers of MCLL will be written in strong international collaboration. Publishing around 5 papers per year is planned.
- "Centres of Excellence (U)": Receiving additional external grants will facilitate the further transformation of the MCLL into a Centre of Excellence.
- "% of International Staff (U)": Competitive selection procedures will be announced internationally (e.g., through Mathematical Cognition and Learning Society). The PI's intention is to select two researchers with very strong international experience.
- "Doctoral Students' Articles in Q1 Journals (U) – according to the Scopus database": PhD students associated with the MCLL will be (co)authors of at least 3 papers in Q1 journals throughout the project duration.
- "Number of consortia formed with strategic stakeholders": It is expected to build a consortium being able to receive research and development (B+R) grants for developing digital tools mathematics learning.
- "Number of running MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)": The Lab will prepare, record, and share at least 3 MOOC courses during the FP's duration.
- "Number of Open Science publications": Almost all research papers published by the Core Team members will be open (gold); moreover, all the manuscripts will be shared as preprints/postprints.