The fourth industrial revolution: Implications for school mathematics

Sitti Patahuddin, Ajay Ramful

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In this reflective chapter, we undertake a mapping exercise from the anticipated demands arising from the Fourth Industrial Revolution to the foreseeable mathematical readiness and disposition incumbent on our secondary school students. Industry 4.0 is categorized by the increasing automaticity and interoperability of production systems which are becoming extensively data-driven. As technologies are developed within Industry 4.0, they also become available as by-products for the field of education, changing the rules and norms of learning. An immediate concern is an extent to which school mathematics is preparing our youngsters to develop a mindset that can embrace these technologies and be ready for new jobs that we may not have considered. We attempt to provide anticipative answers to the following two questions: (i) What are the enablers that can nurture the appropriation of the affordances of Industry 4.0 in the teaching and learning of school mathematics? (ii) How should the school mathematics curriculum be revamped to align it to the demands of Industry 4.0 and develop the incumbent dispositions in preparation for future vocational and functional obligations? To answer the two questions, firstly, we review steps that have already been initiated to accommodate the tools of Industry 4.0 in the domain of mathematics education. Secondly, as a didactic exercise, we map out the mathematical skills that new technological frontiers may require in light of projected developments. We also pre-empt some of the challenges that this new revolution may engender such as resistance to changes from influential stakeholders and changes in teachers’ mindset and preparation. We use the knowledge gathered in mathematics education as a backdrop to chart a trajectory that can potentially embody the new technologies from Industry 4.0 into our discipline.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching and Learning in the 21st Century: Embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution
EditorsJayaluxmi Naidoo
Place of PublicationNetherlands
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789004460386
ISBN (Print)9789004460379
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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