Mathematical thinking of undergraduate students when using three types of software

Hosein, Anesa; Aczel, James; Clow, Doug and Richardson, John T. E. (2008). Mathematical thinking of undergraduate students when using three types of software. In: The 11th International Congress on Mathematics Education, 06-13 Jul 2008, Monterrey, Mexico.

URL: http://tsg.icme11.org/document/get/531

Abstract

The research investigates how conceptual understanding of mathematics is promoted when using three types of software: black-box (no mathematical intermediate steps shown), glass-box (intermediate steps shown) and open-box (interaction at each intermediate step). Thirty-eight students were asked to think-aloud and give detailed explanations whilst answering three types of tasks: mechanical (mostly procedural), interpretive (mostly conceptual) and constructive (mixture of conceptual and procedural). The software types had no impact on how students answered the mechanical tasks; however students using the black-box did better on the constructive tasks because of their increased explorations. Students with low maths confidence resorted to using real-life explanations when answering tasks that were application related.

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