A Mobile Multimedia Computer Laboratory Mentorship Approach to Improving Undergraduate Mathematics Education

  • St John, Dennis (PI)
  • Lee, Carl (CoPI)
  • Lenker, Susan (CoPI)
  • Mathews, David (CoPI)

Grant Details

Description

This project is assembling a completely mobile, state-of-the-art multimedia laptop computer laboratory, networked through wireless infrared technology. This laboratory is being used for undergraduate mathematics courses for majors, client disciplines, and preservice teachers. This portable laboratory represents an extremely versatile configuration that enables any classroom to be used as a normal classroom, as a technology demonstration room, and as a computer laboratory. The ACE Teaching Cycle forms the unifying theme for the different content areas using the mobile computer laboratory. This pedagogical approach implements the findings of current constructivist learning theory research by providing students with an experiential base with mathematical ideas through carefully constructed computer activities in cooperative learning groups before formal discussion of the material. During the first phase, each of the co-PI's fully implements activity-first mathematics courses using the mobile computer laboratory. Two of the five courses targeted during this phase are directed at elementary and secondary school pre-service teachers. Other courses include Calculus II, Introduction to Statistics, and Business Calculus. The second phase involves doctoral candidates teaching undergraduate courses using the mobile computer laboratory under the supervision of the co-PI's. (These interns in the mathematics doctoral program with concentration in the teaching of college mathematics can concurrently be involved in their second research-based course in the teaching of college mathematics.) The final phase involves an increased number of undergraduate courses throughout the undergraduate mathematics curriculum using the laboratory with additional graduate faculty members mentoring interns in teaching college mathematics. As more of our students, graduate interns, and faculty gain experience with hands-on computer activities before formal discussion of material, interns are expected to view 'reform' in term s of learning theory and pedagogy rather than in terms of 'calculus' or 'differential equations,' etc. Both the wireless portable lab and the mentor/internship program serve as national models for improving undergraduate mathematics instruction through research-based use of technology.

StatusFinished
Effective start/end date08/1/9607/31/99

Funding

  • National Science Foundation: $69,900.00

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