About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4339-4344
Publication year: 2013
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain


M. Alsina

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech (SPAIN)
From the Bologna Declaration, European higher-educational institutions are adapting their curricula according to the basic principles of quality, mobility, diversity and competitiveness, in order to constitute a global reference frame for Education and Research. Beside the excellence level at the contents, transversal competences play an important role. In that landscape, it becomes a challenge to success in getting optimal global results, balancing contents and competences.

We will focus on some aspects. By one hand, it is clear that a good command of several languages is a core competence to be internationally competitive and multiculturally aware. To improve students’ command of foreign language, a current common tool is teaching contents in that language, in a similar way to what is called Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) at other educational levels, as recommended by the European Comission at The White book on Education and training (1995). By the other hand, in Science and Engineering Education and Research, handling Mathematical Symbolic Language is also essential to deal with most of contents. In fact, it is well known that lack of command in the equivalence between verbal and symbolic language implies difficulties in posing and solving problems.

Both aspects have a lot in common: a language is involved, a language made up of symbols, a language intended to be a bridge of communication that could become a barrier, as Galileo wrote: “... questo grandissimo libro checontinuament ci sta aperto innanzi a gli occhi (io dico l'universo), ma non si puòintendere se prima non s'impara a intender la lingua e conoscer i caratteri, ne' quali èscritto. Egli è scritto in lingua matematica, e i caratteri son triangoli, cerchi, ed altre figure geometriche, senza i quali mezzi è impossibile a intenderne umanamente parola; senza questi è un aggirarsi vanamente per un oscuro laberinto.”

Our proposal is based on the equivalence between formal and verbal language. We think that the use of the symbols in a foreign language can be applied to improve comprehension, even in terms of content, creating synergy. In that sense it could be called an optimal application of symbols.

The main result is an open access on-line resource designed to give support on that direction, not found in textbooks or research papers. More concretely the application Multilingual Formulae (at http://mformulae.epsem.upc.edu) presents tables and sets of formulas with the corresponding written and oral version in different languages. It is implemented in a collaborative setting, using Plone and the Javascript library MathJax to render mathematics in LaTeX. It is managed by the research group u-Linguatech-Rima, based at the Escola Politècnica Superior d’Enginyeria de Manresa, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya.

The project is addressed to lecturers, students and researchers as a support to ensure the effective communication when symbolic language is used in a foreign language. It has been experimented as a helpful tool to improve self-learning and to increase the self-confidence.
author = {Alsina, M.},
series = {6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2013 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-3847-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2013},
year = {2013},
pages = {4339-4344}}
AU - M. Alsina
SN - 978-84-616-3847-5/2340-1095
PY - 2013
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2013
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2013 Proceedings
SP - 4339
EP - 4344
ER -
M. Alsina (2013) AN OPTIMAL APPLICATION OF SYMBOLS, ICERI2013 Proceedings, pp. 4339-4344.