Technology in Spherical Geometry Investigations: Reflections on Spontaneous Use and Motivation
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Sinclair, M. (2010). Technology in Spherical Geometry Investigations: Reflections on Spontaneous Use and Motivation. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 29(3), 269-288. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/33178.
Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching
Volume 29, Issue 3, August 2010
Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) Chesapeake, VA
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Students in a graduate geometry class used items such as paper, ribbon, plastic spheres, cardboard tubes, and markers to carry out investigations in spherical geometry. The hands-on activities helped students develop a new appreciation of geometry as a study of shape and space; however, the difficulty of subduing wayward elastics and drawing lines on spheres to create accurate models for conjecturing, led some students to try either Cinderella (Richter-Gebert & Kortenkamp, 1999), or Spherical Sketchpad(Austin & Dickinson, 2002) as supplementary exploratory tools. The students developed the required technical expertise on their own, and devised various methods to mark up printouts for assignments. They used technology in a natural way – throughout the course and in conjunction with other methods. Reflecting on student comments and this spontaneous use of technology by individuals, I theorized that the software supported visualizing, and making connections to prior understandings, which in turn led to an increased sense of confidence. This research leads us to question how we introduce and use software, and how we might foster spontaneity in regard to technology use. Keywords: spontaneous; confidence; dynamic geometry; mathematics education; spherical geometry; adult; technology.
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