Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Integrating Dynamic Mathematics Software into Cooperative Learning Environments in Mathematics

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Integrating Dynamic Mathematics Software into Cooperative Learning Environments in Mathematics

Article excerpt

Introduction

Social changes have triggered rapid development. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have affected human life and have resulted in new opportunities to emerge and new information to be created. These innovations require perspectives and expectations towards mathematics, the use of mathematics in different ways and a review of mathematics instruction. In line with these changes and developments, new problems have occurred in our life each passing day and individuals who have realized the importance and value of mathematics and who have developed their power of thinking are needed more than ever (Turkish Ministry of National Education [TMoNE], 2013). However, as mathematics is more abstract and difficult (Herzig, 2002) when compared to other disciplines (Dienes, 1971; Frenkel, 2013; Sarama & Clements, 2009), it results in difficulties in the teaching and learning of mathematics (Yenilmez & Avcu, 2009).

As most mathematics concepts are abstract, they cause difficulties in the teaching and learning processes. Functions are one of the most important concepts which are difficult to learn, resulting in misconceptions (Ural, 2006) and play both a central and connective role among mathematics topics (Selden & Selden, 1992). As a result of the close relationship between functions and mathematical thinking, the active use of functional thinking for solving problems in different disciplines (Bayazit & Aksoy, 2013), the important role of learning functions and graphs in understanding mathematics (Kutluca & Baki, 2013) and the difficulties while learning the topic are increasing more and more. Quadratic functions and graphs are special and important states of functions and they are the basic principles of functions for secondary school students (Even, 1990). However, it is known that students have difficulty with quadratic functions and graphs just like with functions (Kutluca & Baki, 2009; Sajka, 2003; Tatar, Okur, & Tuna, 2008; Zazkis, Liljedahl, & Gadowsky, 2003). After the functions topic is taught in the 9th grade in the secondary school mathematics curriculum, students again encounter quadratic functions and graphs in the 10th grade in Turkey. Similarly, in 11th grade, there are topics which mainly involve functions. The sequences topic which is linked to the functions topic is one of the main topics in which students have difficulty in understanding in the 11th grade in Turkey (Akgun & Duru, 2007; Durmuc, 2004; Tatar, Okur, & Tuna, 2008).

Functions, quadratic functions and graphs, sequences, numbers and algebra are generally among the difficult topics to learn. Students continue to meet these topics in the numbers and algebra learning domain of the curriculum in the mathematics courses taught in their undergraduate studies, particularly relating to the knowledge of functions. It is important that these concepts which are used as basic ideas in mathematics courses like advanced analysis and differential equations, should be learned (Bayazit, 2010). Therefore, it is considered that research studies on these topics which are included in the learning domain of numbers and algebra would be useful to students, mathematics teachers, and mathematics educators.

Boosting mathematical topics which involve abstract concepts with ICT can enable mathematics to be concretized and help concepts to be learned more easily (Baki, 2002). Moreover, students who are actively engaged in the problem-solving process with the use of ICTs, experience different representations of concepts rather than repeated calculations, and work on real mathematics problems (TMoNE, 2013). Open source dynamic mathematics software (DMS) GeoGebra is a freely available and easy-to-use ICT (Dikovic, 2009; Hohenwarter & Preiner, 2007).

Examining and utilizing ICTs within the scope of suitable learning approaches is as important as choosing the most appropriate tool. …

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