College of Humanities

School of Education Hosts Visiting Academic as Part of Erasmus+ Academic Mobility Programme

The School of Education recently hosted Professor Konstantinos Nikolantonakis from the University of Western Macedonia, Greece, as part of the Erasmus+ Academic Mobility Programme.

The visit was organized by the School’s Academic Leader: Community Engagement, Professor Angela James.

Nikolantonakis engaged with Professor Sarah Bansilal, Academic Leader: Mathematics and Computer Science Education, as well as Primary Mathematics academics, Dr Suryakumari Rajah and Mrs Eshara Dowlath. He also taught pre-service Primary Mathematics teachers.

The Erasmus+ Academic Mobility Programme looks at developing courses on the use of elements and materials from history of mathematics for teaching mathematics (arithmetic, geometry etc,) to students of Primary Mathematics Education and Primary Education; the development of material concerning mathematics education, and planning for cross-country projects with extension of the knowledge and practices for relevant, contextually-based resourceful programmes, resources and research.

During his week-long visit, Nikolantonakis presented a lecture on “Relations of Area and Perimeter” to students doing the Mathematics Education Method 1: Geometry module. ‘He presented the topic using real-world examples and this kept the students well-engaged throughout the presentation. His presentation provided a different perspective to the teaching of Area and Perimeter in the Intermediate Phase,’ said Dowlath.

Nikolantonakis also presented two more lectures to Mathematics for Foundation and Intermediate Phase students. He covered a brief history of numeration systems from Ancient Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek to the current decimal Indo-Arabic system. The lectures detailed the different numeration systems and interesting perspectives describing the challenges that were overcome to arrive at the present-day numeration system.

‘This provided an appreciation of number systems in everyday life beyond the textbook understanding. Despite the difficulty of technical issues at the venue, Prof Nikolantonakis managed to engage students interactively,’ said Rajah.

Speaking about his visit and engagement with UKZN, Nikolantonakis said, ‘I had a positive, fruitful and open-minded approach from UKZN colleagues. This will be a continuation of exchanges in relation to issues of mathematics education among others.’

Executive Director for UKZN Corporate Relations, Ms Normah Zondo said, ‘Prof Nikolantonakis’s visit was interesting and useful to our mathematical and pedagogical community. His visit helped improve and develop close cooperation between our universities.’