Faculty of Education
Investigating Studentsí Mathematical Thinking Using Video Diaries
Research by Donna Kotsopoulos, Joanne Lee
Not surprisingly, studentsí inability to complete homework has been linked to achievement (Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006). Although in some instances motivation and social circumstances contribute to studentsí inabilities to complete mathematics homework, the curriculum and how it is experienced in the classroom by students are important key influencing factors. This research project investigates studentsí ability to independently make sense of mathematics encountered in school, while completing homework in their own settings, after a lapse in time from the initial classroom learning experience (i.e., that evening or the next evening). The purposes of this research are
(1) to capture studentsí verbalized cognitive processes as they try to make sense of the mathematics during homework,
(2) to identify the sorts of conceptual challenges students encounter in the curriculum,
(3) to examine the connections between the classroom experiences and studentsí verbalized cognitive processes, and
(4) to track, over the course of one year, how studentsí abilities to communicate about their mathematical challenges, shift over time and curriculum.
Six eighth-grade students are documenting their mathematical experiences at-home using video diaries. Daily mathematics classes are also being videotaped for cross-analysis, given that teaching practices contribute to studentsí ability to makes sense of mathematics in other settings (Ball, Bass, Sleep, & Thames, 2005; Lerman, 1998). Documenting studentsí cognitive processes in real-time, in their own settings as they are doing the homework, may yield important insight in terms of how learning might be better supported in mathematics classrooms.