Engagement and online mathematics enrichment for secondary students

Lyakhova, Sofya and Neate, Andrew (2024). Engagement and online mathematics enrichment for secondary students. Teaching Mathematics and its Applications: An International Journal of the IMA (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/teamat/hrae003


Online may not be the ideal format for a mathematics enrichment event, but in some circumstances, it may be the only option available. This article considers a mathematics enrichment programme consisting of a series of masterclasses which were held live online for secondary students in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic. The series of masterclasses were part of the Royal Institution of Great Britain’s Mathematics Masterclass Programme which runs annually across the UK. In this study, we investigate how and to what extent students were able to engage with this series of online masterclasses. Learner engagement is researched through in-session observations, student work, attendance data, participant feedback and interviews. While the online masterclass series lost some of its traditional in person features, such as hands-on live social interaction and a university environment, it appeared that the participants perceived the online sessions as interactive enabling them to both enjoy the sessions and enjoy learning mathematics in the sessions. The evidence found suggests that the participating students could engage behaviourally, emotionally and cognitively in online mathematics enrichment. However, constructing mathematical knowledge in online sessions can be difficult for some students and social interaction may need to rely on existing social groups among school friends.

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