The FaSMEd project in the Netherlands is carried out by the Freudenthal Group (FG) of the Department of Education & Pedagogy at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences of Utrecht University, in collaboration with staff of the Freudenthal Institute (FI), which is part of the Faculty of Science of Utrecht University. FG and FI both do research aimed at contributing to a better understanding of the learning and teaching of mathematics and they are both involved in designing materials for mathematics education and assessment, including the development of applets and ict-based learning environments. The FG focuses on mathematics in early childhood, primary and special education and intermediate vocational education, while the work on mathematics education done by the FI is on secondary and higher education.
Prof. dr. Marja van den Heuvel-Panhuizen, project leader of the UU FaSMEd project, has much experience in research and development of mathematics education. Since 1987 she has been working at the Freudenthal Institute and since 2012 she also belongs to the Freudenthal Group. Her PhD study was on assessment and Realistic Mathematics Education. She has a strong track record of publications and acquired a substantial number of grants for research and development projects. Among other things, she was for several years the leader of a project, granted by the Ministry of Education, aimed at developing a teaching-learning trajectory for mathematics in primary school. From 2005 to 2010 she was a visiting professor at IQB of Humboldt University Berlin, where she was involved in a national project aimed at the evaluation and implementation of the standards for primary school mathematics in Germany. Recently she completed together with the University of Cape Town a teaching-learning trajectory for the South African Foundation Phase. Among other things, she did research projects on revealing mathematical potential of special education students by using an ICT-based assessment tool, the use of picture books for teaching mathematics, and the use of online games for teaching multiplicative number relations and early algebra. Currently she is involved in several studies on assessment, textbook analyses, and mathematics-related higher-order thinking in primary school students.
Mieke Abels is a former mathematics teacher in secondary education and works as a designer at the Freudenthal Institute since the 1990s. In addition to making educational designs for secondary mathematics education she is also involved in designing mathematical materials and teaching sequences for lower vocational education and special primary school education. Her expertise is designing digital materials for these age groups. She is also experienced in delivering professional development courses and workshops.
Dr. Ilona Friso-van den Bos, postdoctoral researcher, graduated in 2009 at Utrecht University, after having completed the research master’s programme ‘Development and socialisation in childhood and adolescence’. Her MSc thesis focused on a measure of number sense: the mental number line. Working memory (executive functions) also played a large role in this thesis. Then she became a PhD student in the MathChild study – an interlinked research project with the VU Amsterdam and Maastricht University. This project too was aimed at number sense, mathematics performance, and working memory. She defended her PhD thesis in 2014. Hereafter, she was appointed in the FaSMEd project.
Peter Boon works as a senior software developer, educational designer and researcher at the Freudenthal Institute. He combines his technology expertise and his mathematics teacher background for developing rich learning content. He has not only designed many online resources that have had much impact on education in the Netherlands and outside, he is also the architect of the Digital Mathematics Environment (DME), a tool for designing and delivering interactive online curricula, that used by many schools and publishers. The Digital Assessment Environment (DAE) that the UU team has developed within the framework of the FaSMEd project makes use of the DME software.