Talk 4th March: Mobile learning with Math Trails

On Thursday 4 March between 11:00am -12:00pm, Professor Dr Nils Buchholtz will present a CALRG session, reporting on the experience of students’ mobile learning when working with digital supported math trails in maths education.

“The fact that mathematics takes place outside the classroom for once is a welcome change from everyday school life”, shared Prof Dr Nils Buchholtz, Professor of Mathematics and Didactics at the University of Cologne’s Institute for Mathematics Didactics.

Presenting research conducted with school-age maths students, Prof. Buchholtz’s CALRG session will expore Math Trails, a mobile learning activity that allows students to experience maths with objects in their immediate environment.

Math trails take students on a guided tour through their city or the close surroundings of their school. On these tours students can solve different maths problems by estimating, measuring and calculating sizes, providing an dynamic layer to activities pupils would do in the classroom.

The CALRG session will provide insight from video-recorded research conducted with ten groups of students from two maths classes, showing students complete math trails supported by the app Actionbound.

Analysis of the math trail videos revealed different phases of the modelling processes and how mobile devices supported and scaffolded students’ mobile learning during their work on the trail.

Discussing these findings, and the importance of encouraging students to learn maths outside of the school setting, Prof. Buchholtz stated: “The fact that mathematics takes place outside the classroom for once is a welcome change from everyday school life. However, since the tasks on Math Trails also involve objects and phenomena from the students’ immediate environment, this can provide a special content-related motivation (e.g., when regular mathematical patterns are suddenly discovered in floor tiles, or the climbing frame on the playground suddenly becomes the subject of discrete math considerations, for example, when vertices and edges are counted).”

“The use of digital devices when supporting math trails digitally can provide additional motivation, since smartphone use is not permitted in many places, at least in Germany.”

“The results are encouraging. We can observe at many points as students work with the tasks that they engage in a variety of different activities, ranging from strategic planning to interpreting and validating mathematical solutions.”

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