Keywords

Algebra -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Case studies, Educational technology -- Case studies, High school students -- Case studies, Problem solving -- Case studies, Visualization -- Case studies, Word problems (Mathematics) -- Case studies

Abstract

In this multiple-case study, I developed cases describing three students‘ (Mary, Ryan and David) solution methods for algebra word problems and investigated the effect of technology on their solution methods by making inferences about their preferences for visual or nonvisual solutions. Furthermore, I examined the students‘ solution methods when presented with virtual physical representations of the situations described in the problems and attempted to explain the effect of those representations on students‘ thinking preferences. In this study, the use of technology referred to the use of the dynamic software program Geogebra. Suwarsono‘s (1982) Mathematical Processing Instrument (MPI) was administered to determine their preferences for visual and nonvisual thinking. During the interviews, students were presented with paper-andpencil-based tasks (PBTs), Geogebra-based tasks (GBTs) and Geogebra-based tasks with virtual physical representations (GBT-VPRs). Each category included 10 algebra word problems, with similar problems across categories. (i.e., PBT 9, GBT 9 and GBT-VPR 9 were similar). By investigating students‘ methods of solution and their use of representations in solving those tasks, I compared and contrasted their preferences for visual and nonvisual methods when solving problems with and without technology. The comparison between their solutions of PBTs and GBTs revealed how dynamic software influenced their method of solution. Regardless of students‘ preferences for visual and nonvisual solutions, with the use of dynamic software students employed more visual methods when presented with GBTs. When visual methods were as accessible and easy to use as nonvisual methods, students preferred to use them, thus demonstrating that they possessed a more complete knowledge of problem-solving with dynamic software than their work on the PBTs. iii Nowadays, we can construct virtual physical representations of the problems in technology environments that will help students explore the relationships and look for patterns that can be used to solve the problem. Unlike GBTs, GBT-VPRs did not influence students‘ preferences for visual or nonvisual methods. Students continued to rely on methods that they preferred since their preferences for visual or nonvisual solutions regarding GBT-PRs were similar to their solution preferences for the problems on MPI that was administered to them to determine their preferences for visual or nonvisual methods. Mary, whose MPI score suggested that she preferred to solve mathematics problems using nonvisual methods, solved GBT-VPRs with nonvisual methods. Ryan, whose MPI score suggested that he preferred to solve mathematics problems using visual methods, solved GBT-VPRs with visual methods. David, whose MPI score suggested that he preferred to solve mathematics problems using both visual and nonvisual methods, solved GBT-VPRs with both visual and nonvisual methods.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2011

Semester

Summer

Advisor

Dixon, Juli K.

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Education

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0003900

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0003900

Language

English

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Education, Education -- Dissertations, Academic

Included in

Education Commons

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