Highlights from the Mathematical Association of Victoria Conference

Sketchnote from the MAV conference on December 2nd, 2011

A sketchnote I created during Jennifer Bowden and Cathy Snowdon's talk on using children's literature in teaching maths. There's a familiar book in the top right corner!

On Friday I attended the Mathematical Association of Victoria‘s annual conference at La Trobe University. The conference is primarily for school teachers who teach mathematics, so many of the sessions weren’t relevant for me. However, I was interested to see whether this was a conference I should be more involved with, as maths teachers fall squarely into my demographic for “potential customer.”

Not that I was interested enough to fork out the cash for a full price ticket, of course! But I did sign up as a volunteer for one of the days, which allowed me to attend a couple of sessions in exchange for directing car park traffic, manning the registration desk and taking down all of the signage after the conference was over.

It just so happened that a few of the conference speakers considered my book to be quite a perfect fit for their presentations. In fact, I’m told that the keynote presentation at the start of the conference consisted of the speaker spending 10-15 minutes exploring my book. Apparently Susie Groves from Deakin University read excerpts from it as an example of a book that was perfect for getting kids excited about maths (!). I had sent a few presenters copies of my book in advance, hoping that they’d like the book enough to possibly mention it, but having it featured as a core part of the keynote presentation far exceeded my expectations!

As a result of this exposure, the conference book shop sold out of all copies of my book. Luckily, I happened to take along a few extra on the day on the off change that this might happen, and they sold out of them as well! After that, the shop took a bunch of additional back orders.

Charlie Weatherburn on display at the MAV Conference book shop

It’s exciting when you see people get so excited about something you’ve created that they want to rave to a room of 1,800 people about it. It’s even more exciting when people are prepared to put their money where their mouth is!

It was also fun to sit in on a session about using children’s books to teach maths, in which the presenters used my book as an example. They realised that I was in the audience about halfway through their talk, and I ended up signing copies and chatting with customers. Fun times!

I look forward to being more involved with the lovely folks from the MAV. Oh, and if you’re a member of the MAV, it’s worth noting that you can buy my book from the association at less than the retail price. What better incentive to join!

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