In the mid 1980s, the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI) inaugurated a series of studies in mathematics education by comm- sioning one on the influence of technology and informatics on mathematics and its teaching. These studies are designed to thoroughly explore topics of c- temporary interest, by gathering together a group of experts who prepare a Study Volume that provides a considered assessment of the current state and a guide to further developments. Studies have embraced a range of issues, some central, such as the teaching of algebra, some closely related, such as the impact of history and psychology, and some looking at mathematics education from a particular perspective, such as cultural differences between East and West. These studies have been commissioned at the rate of about one per year. Once the ICMI Executive decides on the topic, one or two chairs are selected and then, in consultation with them, an International Program Committee (IPC) of about 12 experts is formed. The IPC then meets and prepares a Discussion Document that sets forth the issues and invites interested parties to submit papers. These papers are the basis for invitations to a Study Conference, at which the various dimensions of the topic are explored and a book, the Study Volume, is sketched out. The book is then put together in collaboration, mainly using electronic communication. The entire process typically takes about six years.
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The last two decades have seen significant innovation both in classroom teaching and in the public presentation of mathematics. Much of this has centered on the use of games, puzzles and investigations designed to capture interest, challenge the intellect and encourage a more robust understanding of mathematical ideas and processes. ICMI Study 16 was commissioned to review these developments and describe experiences around the globe in different contexts, systematize the area, examine the effectiveness of the use of challenges and set the stage for future study and development. A prestigious group of international researchers, with collective experience with national and international contests, classroom and general contests and in finding a place for mathematics in the public arena, contributed to this effort. The result, Challenging Mathematics In and Beyond the Classroom, deals with challenges for both gifted as regular students, and with building public interest in appreciation of mathematics.Language Notes:
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