Integrating writing and technology into mathematical learning
YUAN YUAN yuan@mail.nhltc.edu.tw
M athematic Education
National Hualien Teachers College Taiwan
Abstract
Recently teaching and learning with understanding has been a focus
issue in mathematics education, and it is believed that teaching
mathematic well calls for increasing understanding of the math we
teach, seeking greater insight into how children learn math. This leads
to an increased interest in studentsˇ¦ works of writing mathematically.
Studentsˇ¦ writing can reveal how they view their mathematics
instruction and based on these resources teachers also have the
opportunity to know if their students understand the math concepts they
learn in school. However, the writing done in secondary school
mathematics classrooms of Taiwan has been extremely restricted. Besides
the time consuming factor, teachers donˇ¦t know what writing tasks to
assign is another reason to restrict this application. The purpose of
this study was to design writing materials and if appropriate
manipulating software were developed to help high school girls explore
the writing works. A quasiexperimental design was also used to study
its effect on high school studentsˇ¦ learning of mathematics. A virtual
classroom was created on the web (http://inforscience.nctu.edu.tw) so
that students in the experimental group could type their answers and
submitted their works to. When students completed submitting their
works to the destined site, the teacher gave feedbacks and graded the
assignments on the web. Ten writing works were assigned to the students
in the experimental group during the study semester. Results from this
study showed that the experimental group did perform better than the
control group on the achievement test at a significant level
(*P<05). In this study, we found that more discussions occurred
during school time among students in the experimental group. However,
the amounts written by students were small. Students prefer to solve
the problems by writing short answers to respond to the writing works,
and few used their words to explain their reasoning process. Students
were not familiar to writing mathematically. Teachers may need to
integrate it into mathematics instruction and make it a continuous task
so that students can write more to explain their thinking processes.
