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The use of mobile technology apps when teaching and learning geometry in Sri Lankan secondary schools

In the last decade, there has been rapid development of digital technologies (DT), and their adoption in mathematics education has been widely discussed in the research literature. The Sri Lankan curriculum stipulates the use of digital technologies in learning, but the practice differs among most teachers. The purpose of this study was to explore different perspectives surrounding the use of mobile technology applications (apps) by pre-service mathematics teachers with a focus on the pedagogical approaches used when teaching geometry to year ten students in Sri Lanka. The interpretive paradigm was selected as the most appropriate philosophical basis and paradigm for underpinning the study. It enables the interpretation of the identification of any pattern, permits insights into the pre-service teachers’ beliefs and knowledge, and outlines the research setting (block-teaching) of GeoGebra being used for teaching and learning (social processes). Pre-service teachers’ knowledge about the use of GeoGebra for teaching and learning geometry was analysed with the technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) framework. This study followed the mixed method approach. Two case studies were conducted in two teacher education institutes (TEIs) in Sri Lanka to examine pre-service teachers’ beliefs and knowledge of the use of apps in geometry after their block-teaching experience. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used for the data collection. Two case studies conducted with the survey questionnaire were followed by semi-structured focus group interviews with pre-service teachers and individual interviews with teacher educators. The purposive sample of 163 pre-service mathematics teachers and eight mathematics teacher educators from pre-service TEIs in Sri Lanka participated in the study. Findings have revealed that pre-service teachers not only need an understanding of geometry for GeoGebra, but their beliefs about DT and their geometry content knowledge have played crucial roles as they influence both their interpretation and engagement. The study proposes four ways that apps can influence mathematics pre-service teachers’ perspectives. Namely, pedagogical (which focuses on teaching and learning geometry); technological (the affordances of GeoGebra and features of the dynamic geometry environment (DGE) relevant to the curricula); epistemological (understanding about GeoGebra for the development of geometrical concepts); and political (which considers context, including policy, social, and cultural settings). These aspects were identified as being relevant to the use of apps in the selected geometry content during the block-teaching practices. Findings from this study also suggested that it may contribute to the literature in the field by the identification and consideration of metacognitive technological pedagogical content knowledge (M-TPACK) relevant to the selected geometry concepts.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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