Tool Use in an Innovative Learning Arrangement for Mathematics

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* Tool_Use_in_an_Innovative_Learning_Arrangement_for_Mathematics (dutch)



  • Granted by the Netherlands Science Foundation NWO-PROO project number 411-04-123
  • Time period: 1 januari 2006 - 31 december 2008
  • Project team:
    • Peter Boon, researcher and software developer
    • Dr. Michiel Doorman, researcher
    • Dr. Paul Drijvers, researcher and project leader
    • Ir. Sjef van Gisbergen, teacher-researcher
    • Prof dr. Koeno Gravemeijer, supervisor

Although technology is integrated in education, little is known about the relationship between the use of technological tools and cognitive development, and the way in which the teacher ‘orchestrates’ tool use. This issue is addressed for the case of mathematics education. The theoretical framework consists of domain specific theories, activity theory and the instrumental approach. In a design research methodology, an innovative instructional sequence using applets is developed and tested in grade 8. To investigate the interplay between learning, teaching and the use of technological artefacts within a suitable learning ecology, the following research questions specify the more general research topic:

  1. How can applets be integrated in an instructional sequence for algebra, so that their use fosters the learning?
  2. How can teachers orchestrate tool use in the classroom community?

Learning arrangement

The project developed a learning arrangement for grade 8 on the concept of function. The arrangement takes about 8 lessons of 50 minutes each. Students work both in school and at home in a digital learning environment, the Digital Mathematics Environement (DME). The student materials consist of a textbook and a set of tasks in the DME. The latter focus on the use of an applet entitled AlgebraArrows (available on the wisweb). The learning arrangement aims at developing of a rich function concept through the integration of different media and different working formats, in which interaction plays an important role. The theoretical framework includes theories on Realistic Mathematics Education and on instrumentation and orchestration.

  • Student textbook Pijlenketting en functie (in Dutch)
  • Digital tasks
  • Teacher guide (in Dutch)


  • Boon, P. (2006). Designing didactical tools and microworlds for mathematics education. In Hoyles, C., Lagrange, J.-b., Son, L.H. & Sinclair, N. (Eds.), Proceedings of the seventeenth ICMI study conference ’Technology revisited’.
  • Drijvers, P., Doorman, M., Boon, P., Van Gisbergen, S., Gravemeijer, K. (in press). Tool use in a technology-rich learning arrangement for the concept of function. Paper accepted for publication in the proceedings of the CERME5 conference, February 2007, Cyprus.
  • Tool

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