The Use of a Digital Environment to Improve First Year Science Students' Symbol Sense
Sietske Tacoma, Paul Drijvers, Peter Boon, Utrecht University - Freudenthal Institute, Netherlands
JCMST Volume 30, Number 4, ISSN 0731-9258 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA
Dutch universities complain that freshmen in studies such as chemistry, physics, economics and mathematics do not master the required algebraic skills. In the worldwide discussions on mathematics education, mastery of algebra is also a prevalent issue. Often a distinction is made between basis procedures and algebraic reasoning, so-called symbol sense. One means of improving algebra education on both aspects is the use of technology. How technology can be used for the development of algebraic reasoning skills, however, is still unclear and therefore subject of this study. The setting for this study is a one week summer course for freshman chemistry students in a Dutch university. In this course, a digital environment is used to practice algebraic skills. The activities in the digital environment are designed both to train basic algebraic procedures and to develop algebraic reasoning skills. Results from tests before and after the course show that the students’ algebraic skills have slightly improved. Analysis of students’ work in the digital environment explains the observed improvements and the extent to which they concern algebraic reasoning skills.
Tacoma, S., Drijvers, P. & Boon, P. (2011). The Use of a Digital Environment to Improve First Year Science Students' Symbol Sense. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 30(4), 403-428. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
© 2011 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)