Creating Opportunities to Learn Through Opportunities to Teach Mathematics With Technology

During the 2016-2017 school year I will be partnering with three teachers to design and implement technology-based lessons in 7th- and 8th-grade mathematics classes. There is an opportunity in mathematics education research to better understand the connections between teachers' instructional decisions around the use of technology and students' use of that technology. In order to make these connections, it is necessary for teachers to have the opportunity to learn about and implement mathematics technologies relevant to their teaching. This project incorporates three phases of work to accomplish that goal:

  • Professional development time for the teachers to meet after school to use mathematics technologies, select an appropriate tool for some specific mathematics content, and plan two lessons incorporating the use of technology.
  • Classroom implementation, when the teachers will implement the lessons they have planned with students.
  • Task-based interviews with students to examine how they incorporate the technology they learned in class into their mathematical reasoning and problem solving.

Visual Programming Environments for Doing Mathematics

Visual programming environments, such as Scratch and Etoys allow users to write programs through a collection of drag-and-drop tiles that piece together to form lines of code. In two earlier projects, I have investigated how middle and high school students might use these environments to represent and solve problems in mathematics. I will be presenting about 7th- and 8th-grade students' creation of representations of function through the use of Scratch at the 2016 annual meeting of PMENA. I have also presented on this work at the 2015 Realistic Mathematics Education Conference, the 2014 annual conference of AERA, and NCTM's annual research conference in 2014.