The mathematics education research community has been involved in lively debate concerning the use of ICT, particularly computers, in the teaching and learning of mathematics for over two decades. However, despite research evidence that computers have the potential to contribute to the learning of mathematics in significant ways, this potential is frequently under utilised and the use of computers in mathematics classrooms has not become embedded to the extent that early research suggested might have occurred. Reviews of the research literature suggest a need for attention to the processes in which students engage as they work on computermediated tasks in authentic mathematics classrooms. This study contributes to this research agenda, by exploring in detail students’ mathematical activity in these situations. It aims to investigate the mathematical learning of the students as they engage in classroom mathematics tasks which involve the use of computers. Two further aims are to investigate the ways in which computer feedback and teacher interventions influence the students’ learning.The thesis develops a theoretical framework for the analysis of student learning, suggesting that students need to engage in a range of ‘dialectics’ within both the pragmatic/empirical and the mathematical/systematic fields. The analysis of the data shows that, from the perspective of this framework, the students’ mathematical learning was limited. The analysis provides evidence of the important mediational roles of teacher interventions and computer feedback; but shows that neither supported the students in making transitions between the pragmatic/empirical and mathematical/systematic fields or in engaging in all types of dialectics. Analysis of the design of the task, however, demonstrates the key importance of the task in promoting or inhibiting the students’ mathematical learning. The findings point to the need for teachers to consider the dialogic relationship between mathematics and computer feedback in engineering classroom tasks, so as to exploit the power of computer feedback and plan their own interventions accordingly.
Date of Award  2007 

Original language  English 

Awarding Institution   The University of Bristol


Supervisor  Rosamund Sutherland (Supervisor) 

Classroom mathematical learning with computers: the mediational effects of the computer, the teacher and the task
Joubert, M. V. (Author). 2007
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis › Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)