I began my career as a high-school Mathematics teacher in Vancouver, Canada upon completing a BA in Mathematics (First Class Honours) and BEd in Secondary Mathematics Education at the The University of British Columbia. My passion towards mathematics education continued to motivate me to further my studies in this area. After obtaining my MEd in Curriculum and Instruction at The University of British Columbia, I earned a PhD in Mathematics Education at Simon Fraser University in 2016 and later served briefly as a SSHRC post-doctoral fellow at University of Calgary. Currently, I serve as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Since 2018, I have been serving as Deputy Programme Coordinator for the Bachelor of Education in Mathematics and Mathematics Education (BMED) Programme. I am a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Mathematical Behavior (Elsevier), Journal of Educational Computing Research (Sage), and Digital Experience in Mathematics Education (Springer).
Since joining CUHK in August 2016, I have developed and extended three research areas in mathematics and STEM education which are of local and global significance: (1) technology-enhanced teaching and learning in mathematics classrooms, (2) constructionist learning and computational thinking education, and (3) multimodality in mathematics discourse. These research areas are informed by my previous doctoral research on the interaction between technological and mathematical evolution, and by emerging literature on new ways of doing, communicating, and representing mathematics as afforded by technology innovations. In turn, I have been investigating teachers’ and students’ mathematical discourse as situated in technologically-enhanced learning environments. As shown in my research, this type of discourse is often rich in a multimodal sense, involving both verbal and non-verbal communication, such as gestures. Since joining CUHK, my research has been acknowledged and funded by Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC). These research projects contribute towards advancing Seymour Papert’s theory of Constructionism in today’s era of technology-enhanced mathematics classrooms. In particular, I developed and coined the term ‘learning as Making’ (Ng & Chan, 2019) to explicate the new opportunities entailed by engaging learners in constructionist practices with emergent technologies (e.g. 3D printing, programmable electronics, etc). In the last three years, I have been actively engaging in empirical research and disseminating findings in modernising constructionist pedagogies for mathematics learning (Cui & Ng, 2021; Ng, 2020; Ng et al., 2020a; Ng & Cui, 2020; Ng & Ferrara, 2020; Ng & Sinclair, 2018; Ng, Sinclair, & Davis, 2018; Ng & Tsang, 2021). Most of this work have been funded by:
- Principal Investigator (2019-Present). The Effects of Implementing a ‘Learning as Making’ Pedagogy on School Mathematics Learning: Primary Students’ Inquiry-based Making with 3D Printing Pens. Funded by Research Grant Council (Hong Kong), Early Career Scheme ($499,381 HKD).
- Principal Investigator (2020-present). Mathematical Problem Solving through Digital Making: Envisioning a Computationally Enhanced Mathematics Curriculum in Hong Kong’s Primary and Secondary Schools. Funded by the Research Grants Council (Hong Kong), General Research Fund ($638,908 HKD).
My ongoing ECS research investigates the effect of implementing 3D printing and the pedagogy of ‘learning as Making’ on school mathematics learning. This project aims to develop empirically-grounded theoretical accounts about constructionist learning through a series of teaching experiments in Hong Kong primary mathematics classrooms. I have adopted a design-based research methodology, with the design aspect being a series of Maker-centred mathematics lessons where students actively created physical artefacts with 3D printing technology for inquiry-based learning. This context responds to worldwide call for teaching and learning abstract mathematics concepts in hands-on, technological, and innovation-oriented environments. My research publications address both teachers’ expertise and student learning outcomes in classrooms integrating 3D printing. For example, in my recent publication (Ng & Chan, 2021) in the British Journal of Educational Technology (SSCI Education & Educational Research Q1: 31/263; 5-year IF=3.484), I use the method of video-aided reflections as a means to facilitate teachers’ professional growth in realising the affordances of 3D printing in mathematics education. In another work, I conceptualise a three-fold characteristic of constructionist mathematics learning: Making as mathematising, Making as co-constructing, Making as inventing (Ng & Ferrara, 2020). Of significance are the research findings that: (1) “learning as Making” provides low-entry, high-ceiling learning opportunities for students to engage with mathematical ideas without the constraints of paper-and-pencil media (Ng & Chan, 2019); (2) it supports mathematics learning as hands-on and goal-oriented Making, which enables learners to construct knowledge actively as opposed to receiving information passively (Ng, 2021; Ng et al., 2020); and (3) it fits well with a transdisciplinary approach of STEM education due to the three-dimensional, tangible, and technologically enhanced nature of artefact constructions; this makes learning applicable to real-world problems and projects, thereby helping to shape the learning experience of STEM (Ng & Ferrara, 2020).
My ongoing GRF research was informed by my ECS project and previously developed conception of “learning as Making”; it envisions a computationally enhanced mathematics education to support students’ mathematical problem solving in primary and secondary schools. Surrounding calls for incorporating computational thinking into mathematics curricula, this research is timely and important; it aims to provide evidence-based directions of enhancing computational thinking as a new literacy and problem solving as a global competence in school settings. I have already published two SSCI articles to broaden the theoretical and empirical bases for computationally enhanced mathematical problem solving (Ng & Cui, 2020; Cui & Ng, 2021), and I plan to further this work by expanding on the scope and level of programming tasks used to support student learning. Overall, this research contributes to understanding how constructionist pedagogy may transform mathematics education from being characterized as linear, abstract, and paper-and-pencil dominant to multimodal, hands-on, and technological. Based on my previous work, these new learning environments may give rise to new communication patterns and modes of thinking with mathematics, which I am currently investigating. There is also potential for interdisciplinary research, since computational thinking is a 21st century competence across STEAM disciplines, and I have been collaborating with Department of Information Engineering, CUHK, in this research area.
Serving as co-investigator, I have been collaborating with scholars on other research projects, including a GRF project on dialogic mathematics classroom discourse (Ng et al., 2020b; Ng et al., 2021; Ni et al., 2017) and a World University Network (WUN) project comprising of researchers from seven universities in five continents, who are working with curriculum experts and disciplinary specialists in mathematics, climate science and indigenous knowledge, in order to develop curricula innovations in mathematics education in response to climate and education for sustainability (Brown et al., 2020; Ng et al., 2020c). My ongoing research will fill the research gap with regard to the changing nature of knowledge, learning and pedagogy in the digital age. I plan to continue this line of research of exploring the impact of different forms of technology-enhanced environments on school mathematics and STEM learning.
See my research grants record here.
See my publications and conference presentations record here.
Awards and Fellowships
- Best Presentation Award (2019) – International Conference on Advances in STEM Education 2019. [Presentation title: Developing computational thinking and mathematical problem solving through digital Making.]
- Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2016) – University of Calgary
- Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship (2014-2016) – Simon Fraser University
- Graduate Fellowship (2012-2014) – Simon Fraser University
- Minor Travel and Research Award (2013) – Simon Fraser University
- Craig Newell Memorial Mathematics Education Scholarship (2013) – Simon Fraser University
- Chan Tat Chee Memorial Education Abroad Scholarship (2003) – University of British Columbia
- Dean’s List (2001) – University of British Columbia