Enhancing teaching and learning of primary mathematics through the use of apps
Project Dates: 2015 - 2017
Partnerships: Tahatai Coast Primary School and Te Akau Ki Papamoa Primary School
The focus of the project was on teaching and learning primary mathematics through the use of apps with mobile digital devices. It sought to advance and investigate the use of apps in primary mathematics classrooms, and their influence on students' mathematical learning. The team co-constructed a framework to evaluate and inform teaching decisions about the use of apps to enhance students' conceptual understanding. The framework supported teacher professional learning and development in mathematics pedagogy.
Why was this research important?
Today’s primary school learners appeared to be engaged by mobile technology. Even so, just allowing learners access to mobile technology in the classroom situation was not sufficient, and research was needed to examine how apps could be used effectively to enhance understanding in mathematics. There was evidence that digital technology had a positive impact on learning behaviour, motivation and engagement. Through co-inquiry based on a researcher-practitioner partnership in two primary schools, this project co-constructed a framework to evaluate and inform teacher pedagogical decisions regarding the use of apps to enhance students’ conceptual understanding in mathematics.
What was the background to the project?
The aim of the project was to support teachers in improving the teaching and learning of mathematics. The primary focus of the project was on teaching and learning primary mathematics through the use of apps with mobile digital devices. Specifically, the project aimed to use the lens of teachers’ technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) to advance and investigate the use of apps in primary mathematics classrooms, and their influence on students’ mathematical learning.
What were the key findings to date?
A key finding was that, while the mobile technologies offer particular affordances, such as haptic and aural-visio recording of student thinking, that shape the mathematics learning in distinctive ways, it appears that an assemblage of technological and social elements was required to best enhance the mathematics engagement, learning and mathematical thinking.
What was the most important facts to take away so far?
We identified several key themes regarding the relationship between technology and pedagogy: affordances, engagement, mathematical thinking, personalised and differentiated learning and collaborative learning. While the affordances of mobile technologies allowed the mathematics learning to be reshaped and engaged with in alternative ways, it seemed that it is the pedagogy of the teacher that is central for enhanced learning to take place.
This 2-year project was funded by the Teaching & Learning Research Initiative (TLRI).
Key project publications:
Presentations at academic and teacher symposia.
Paper accepted for ICME 2016 conference presentation and proceedings.
Paper accepted for DEANZ 2016 conference presentation and proceedings.