Ancient School Without Walls: Collective Creativity in the Mathematics Village

  • Elçin Emre-AkdoğanEmail author
  • Gönül Yazgan-Sağ
Part of the Mathematics Education in the Digital Era book series (MEDE, volume 10)


This study is designed as a qualitative research in order to examine (i) how the Mathematics Village promotes mathematical creativity and (ii) the transformation of Mathematics Village from a non-virtual environment to Social Media, which is a virtual environment. Our data collection tools include individual interviews with two mathematicians, who teach at the Mathematics Village as well as focus group interviews with seven high school, undergraduate, and graduate students and classroom observations. We have analyzed the collected data via content analysis. The findings of this study reveal that the Mathematics Village promotes mathematical creativity of students and enables mathematicians to activate their own creativity. From that perspective, having an educational setting that provides freedom can positively affect students’ state of mind and creativity. Therefore, it is of importance to transfer basic characteristics of a non-virtual environment (Mathematics Village) into a virtual environment (Social Media), which brings people together with the aim of doing mathematics.


Mathematical creativity Promoting creativity High school students Undergraduate and graduate students Mathematicians Social media 



We would like to thank Dr. Ali Nesin and Dr. Özlem Beyarslan for their contributions to the study.


  1. Alladi, K., & Rino Nesin, G. A. (2015). The Nesin Mathematics Village in Turkey. Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 62(6), 652–658. Scholar
  2. Amabile, T. M. (1983). The social psychology of creativity. New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amabile, T. M. (1988). A model of creativity and innovation in organizations. In B. M. Staw & L. L. Cummings (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior (Vol. 10, pp. 123–167). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  4. Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in context: Update to the social psychology of creativity. New York, NY: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  5. Ayık, G., Ayık, H., Bugay, L., & Kelekci, O. (2013). Generating sets of finite singular transformation semigroups. Semigroup Forum, 86(1), 59–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baya’a, N., & Daher, W. (2013). Facebook as an educational environment for mathematics learning. In G. Mallia (Ed.), The social classroom: Integrating social network use in education (pp. 171–191). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.Google Scholar
  7. Cropley, A. J. (2001). Creativity in education and learning: A guide for teachers and educators. London, UK: Kogan Page.Google Scholar
  8. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1988). Society, culture, and person: A systems view of creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The nature of creativity (pp. 325–339). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York, NY: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  10. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Implications of a systems perspective for the study of creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of creativity (pp. 313–338). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dabbagh, N., & Kitsantas, A. (2012). Personal learning environments, social media, and self-regulated learning: A natural formula for connecting formal and informal learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(1), 3–8. Scholar
  12. Dabbagh, N., & Reo, R. (2011). Back to the future: Tracing the roots and learning affordances of social software. In M. J. W. Lee & C. McLoughlin (Eds.), Web 2.0-based e-learning: Applying social informatics for tertiary teaching (pp. 1–20). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.Google Scholar
  13. Fleith, S. D. (2000). Teacher and student perceptions of creativity in the classroom environment. Roeper Review, 22(3), 148–153. Scholar
  14. Göral, H., & Sertbaş, D. C. (2017). Almost all hyperharmonic numbers are not integers. Journal of Number Theory, 171, 495–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ito, M., Baumer, S., Bittanti, M., Boyd, D., Cody, R., Herr-Stephenson, B., et al. (2009). Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out: Kids living and learning with new media. Cambridge, MA: MIT press.Google Scholar
  16. Levenson, E. (2011). Exploring collective mathematical creativity in elementary school. Journal of Creative Behaviour, 45(3), 215–234. Scholar
  17. Lu, J., Hao, Q., & Jing, M. (2016). Consuming, sharing, and creating content: How young students use new social media in and outside school. Computers in Human Behavior, 64, 55–64. Scholar
  18. Mann, E. L. (2006). Creativity: The essence of mathematics. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 30(2), 236–262. Scholar
  19. McLoughlin, C., & Lee, M. J. W. (2011). Pedagogy 2.0: Critical challenges and responses to web 2.0 and social software in tertiary teaching. In M. J. W. Lee & C. McLoughlin (Eds.), Web 2.0-based e-learning: Applying social informatics for tertiary teaching (pp. 43–69). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.Google Scholar
  20. Meusburger, P. (2009). Milieus of creativity: The roles of places, environments, and spatial contexts. In P. Meusburger, J. Funke, & E. Wunder (Eds.), Milieus of creativity: An interdisciplinary approach to spatiality of creativity (pp. 97–153). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nesin, A. (2008). Matematik ve develerle eşekler [Mathematics with camels and donkeys] Istanbul, Turkey: Nesin Yayınevi.Google Scholar
  22. Nesin Mathematics Village. (2017). Nesin Mathematics Village from Accessed January 15, 2017.
  23. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation options. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  24. Pehkonen, E. (1997). The state-of-art in mathematical creativity. International Journal on Mathematical Education, 29(3), 63–67. Scholar
  25. Peppler, K. (2013). Social media and creativity. In D. Lemish (Ed.), International handbook of children, adolescents, and media (pp. 193–200). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Peppler, K. A., & Solomou, M. (2011). Building creativity: Collaborative learning and creativity in social media environments. On the Horizon, 19(1), 13–23. Scholar
  27. Personalize Learning. (2017). Schools Without Classroom. Retrieved from
  28. Plucker, J. A., Beghetto, R. A., & Dow, G. T. (2004). Why isn’t creativity more important to educational psychologists? Potentials, pitfalls, and future directions in creativity research. Educational Psychologist, 39(2), 83–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sriraman, B. (2004). The characteristics of mathematical creativity. The Mathematics Educator, 14(1), 19–34.Google Scholar
  30. Zaman, M., Ananda rajan, M., & Dai, Q. (2010). Experiencing flow with instant messaging and its facilitating role on creative behaviors. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(5), 1009–1018.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AnkaraTurkey

Personalised recommendations