Waikato Journal of Education


This article reports on aspects of an ongoing study examining the use of digital media in mathematics education. In particular, it is concerned with how understanding evolves when mathematical tasks are engaged through digital pedagogical media in primary school settings. While there has been a growing body of research into software and other digital media that enhances geometric, algebraic, and statistical thinking in secondary schools, research of these aspects in primary school mathematics is still limited, and emerging intermittently. The affordances of digital technology that allow dynamic, visual interaction with mathematical tasks, the rapid manipulation of large amounts of data, and instant feedback to input, have already been identified as ways mathematical ideas can be engaged in alternative ways. How might these, and other opportunities digital media afford, transform the learning experience and the ways mathematical ideas are understood? Using an interpretive methodology, the researcher examined how mathematical thinking can be seen as a function of the pedagogical media through which the mathematics is encountered. The article gives an account of how working in a spreadsheet environment framed learners' patterns of social interaction, and how this interaction, in conjunction with other influences, mediated the understanding of mathematical ideas, through framing the students' learning pathways and facilitating risk taking.

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