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Volume 21  Issue 1  

When Robots Invade the Neighborhood: Learning to Teach PreK-5 Mathematics Leveraging Both Technology and Community Knowledge

by Frances Harper, Zachary Stumbo & Nicholas Kim
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This study explored how prospective elementary teachers developed mathematics teaching that used the cultural, linguistic, and cognitive resources from home and community settings to promote learning school mathematics with robotics. Drawing on lesson planning artifacts and written reflections following lesson enactments, the authors describe how prospective teachers made progress toward more equitable mathematics teaching by connecting mathematics learning and robotics, leveraging community funds of knowledge in mathematics instruction with robotics, and designing for transdisciplinary connections. Analyses showed how robotics can support planning for a range of elementary mathematics concepts – including counting, multiplicative reasoning, distance, and sequence – and may encourage leveraging students’ sense of place to make mathematics learning more accessible for every student. These findings suggest that mathematics teacher educators and teachers should consider using innovative tools not typically seen in classrooms, such as robotics, in mathematics instruction as they work to support a focus on reasoning and sense making and make connections to children’s community and cultural funds of knowledge.

Volume 20  Issue 4  

Does a Technology-Assisted Lesson Study Approach Enhance Teacher Learning While Eliminating Obstacles of Traditional Lesson Study?

by Rongjin Huang, Dovie Kimmins, Jeremy Winters & Gregory Rushton
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To address obstacles of adopting lesson study at scale, this study investigated how a technology-assisted lesson study (TALS) approach could remove the obstacle of scheduling while retaining positive effects of traditional lesson study (LS). The TALS approach involves embedding lesson study within teachers’ normal schedules, videotaping the research lessons using Swivl, and asychronously reviewing annotated videos of research lessons before debriefings facilitated by a mathematics specialist through Zoom. A TALS with two third-grade teachers was conducted. Analysis of the data, including lesson plans, research lesson videos, debriefing session videos and interviews with the teachers and the specialist, revealed that, as a traditional lesson study typically does, the research lesson was improved significantly. The participating teachers learned how to implement reform-oriented mathematics teaching through making critical alignments in sharpening learning goals, improving task design, and better orchestrating student work. Participating teachers and the specialist highlighted that the TALS provides teachers the opportunity to conduct LS without missing their own classes, examine student thinking in depth, and review and discus lessons critically. The unique contribution of the study is discussed.

Volume 20  Issue 4  

Developing Mathematics Knowledge and Computational Thinking Through Game Play and Design: A Professional Development Program

by Hannah Smith, Avery H. Closser, Erin Ottmar & Ivon Arroyo
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The Game Play and Design Framework is a project-based instructional method to engage teachers and students with mathematics content by utilizing technology as a vehicle for game play and creation. In the authors’ prior work, they created a technology tool and game editing platform, the Wearable Learning Cloud Platform (WLCP), which enables teachers and students to play, create, and experience technology-augmented learning activities. This paper describes a 14-week Game Play and Design professional development program in which middle school teachers played, designed, tested, and implemented mathematics games in the classroom with their own students. Examples are included of teacher-created games, feedback from the students’ experience designing games, and evidence of student learning gains from playing teacher-created games. This work provides a pedagogical approach for educators and students that utilizes the benefits of mobile technologies and collaborative learning through games to develop students’ higher-level thinking in STEM classrooms.

Volume 20  Issue 3  

Coding for the Core: Computational Thinking and Middle Grades Mathematics

by Leslie Suters & Henry Suters
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National standards and frameworks for mathematics, computer science, and technology emphasize the importance of teaching all children computational thinking (CT) skills. These skills are important for preparing citizens that are literate in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and for participation in a society that is rapidly changing with emerging technologies. This paper describes a 72-hour summer institute for grades 6-8 middle school mathematics teachers (n = 22) with a comprehensive approach to professional development, including training in computer programming with Bootstrap Algebra and Lego® Mindstorms® robotics, mathematics content sessions, and mathematics pedagogy sessions. Results of an assessment used to measure content knowledge and CT skills as well as the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge survey yielded statistically significant increases. Participant reflections revealed they valued opportunities for collaboration within grade-level professional learning communities and integration of CT strategies through both programming and robotics. Based upon participant feedback we recommend choosing either the use of Bootstrap Algebra or Lego Mindstorms within shorter timeframes to better prepare teachers for classroom implementation. These middle school teachers were receptive to mathematics-specific content sessions focused on developing conceptual understanding of mathematics they teach as well as grade-level appropriate manipulatives.