Integrating writing and technology into mathematical learning
M athematic Education
National Hualien Teachers College
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 quasi-experimental 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.