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mathematics teachers conceptions and practices of

GeoGebra in England and Taiwan

Yu-Wen Allison Lu

Master of Philosophy in Educational Research

Faculty of Education

University of Cambridge

July 2008

Abstract

The idea of the integration of dynamic geometry and computer algebra and the

implementation of open-source software in mathematics teaching underpins new

approaches to studying teachers conceptions and technological artefacts in use. This

study opens by reviewing the evolving design of dynamic geometry and computer

algebra, teachers conceptions and pioneering uses of GeoGebra, and early sketches

of GeoGebra mainstream use in teaching practices.

This study has investigated English and Taiwanese upper-secondary teachers

conceptions and practices regarding GeoGebra. It has more specifically sought to gain

an understanding of the teachers conceptions of technology and their pedagogies

incorporating dynamic manipulation with GeoGebra into mathematical discourse.

Moreover, the impact of teachers conceptions of GeoGebra with respect to their

practices has been explored. In order to answer the research questions, a multiple-case

study has been followed, involving two English and two Taiwanese teachers. For data

triangulation purposes, various methods have been employed, such as documentation,

expert interviews with observation of the teachers using the software, and informative

interviews with the GeoGebra creator and an advanced user.

According to the results of this study, some teachers tended to perceive GeoGebra as

not merely a tool but rather an environment for teaching and learning mathematics.

They viewed GeoGebra as serving the purpose of supporting pupils learning, and

performing the functions of visualising and conceptualising their mathematical

understandings. The study also found that the teachers employed a wide variety of

strategies to integrate GeoGebra into their teaching practices, such as preparation for

teaching materials, presentation of mathematical content and concepts, classroom

activities for interaction with pupils and investigation of mathematics. Their practices

regarding GeoGebra integration have many weaknesses, but there has been evidence

of some good examples of GeoGebra teaching being applied. The findings also

suggest that teachers teaching practices are considerably influenced by their

conceptions of GeoGebra in relation to mathematical knowledge and their cultural

traditions.

Acknowledgements

First and foremost, I would like to thank my supervisor Dr. Paul Andrews. He has

been a truly inspiring mentor and has offered the most invaluable support over this

past year.

I extend my appreciation to all those individuals whom I interviewed for this project,

and to those who offered suggestions at all stages of this thesis. I am particularly

grateful to Dr. Markus Hohenwarter, the designer of GeoGebra, for his invaluable

information in the interview and help during the data collection.

My sincere gratitude is also given to Cambridge Overseas Trust and St Edmunds

College who supported my study.

Many thanks to my greatest friend Rebecca Day who helped me enormously through

difficulties I encountered.

Last, but not least, my fondest regards are given to my beloved family; especially my

parents and brother who have always given me the greatest love, care and support.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE Introduction ........... 1

1.1 Research Context .. 1

1.2 Rationale and Significance of the Study ....... 3

1.3 Outline4

CHAPTER TWO: Literature Review.. 6

2.1 Introduction... 6

2.2 The Role of ICT in Mathematics Education . 6

2.2.1 Technology Integration in Education... 6

2.2.2 An Overview of Technology Use in Mathematics Teaching .. 8

2.2.3 Cross-Cultural Studies on Technology and Mathematics Teaching . 9

2.2.4 England and Taiwan: Two Opposite Systems? .. 11

2.2.5 Teachers Beliefs, Conceptions and Practices .... 12

2.3 Teaching algebra and geometry with Technology13

2.3.1 Geometry +Algebra=GeoGebra? ................................. 16

2.4 Statement of Research Questions18

CHAPTER THREE: Research Methodology.... 19

3.1 Introduction.. 19

3.2 Theoretical Framework. 19

3.3 Epistemology and Theoretical Perspective.... 20

3.4 Methodology... 22

3.4.1 Selection of Appropriate Research Approach.. 22

3.4.2 Case Study Research Approach.. 23

3.5 Methods..... 25

3.5.1 Data Collection... 25

3.5.2 Interviews.... 26

3.5.3 Research Settings and Participants.... 28

3.5.4 Data Analysis.... 29

3.5.5 Research Considerations........31

4.1 Introduction. 33

4.2 The Cases... 33

4.2.1 Jay... 34

4.2.2 Li...38

4.2.3 Richard.. 43

4.2.4 Tyler.. 47

4.3 Informative Interviews..51

4.3.1 Interview with GeoGebra creator.. 51

4.3.1 Interview with an advanced user.. 52

4.4 Cross-Case Analysis 53

4.4.1 Emerging Categories. 53

4.4.2 Educational Tool.. 54

4.4.3 Teacher Transition... 56

4.4.4 Mathematical Scope 58

4.4.5 Infrastructural Change. 59

4.5 Cross-Cultural Exploration 61

4.6 Summary 62

CHAPTER FIVE: Discussion and Concluding Remarks.... 63

5.1 Introduction.. 63

5.2 Findings.... 63

5.3 Discussion.......................... 65

5.4 Reflections and Limitations..................... 67

5.5 Implications and Recommendations for Further Research..................... 68

5.6 Concluding Thoughts..................... 71

REFERENCES.. 72

APPENDICES ... 83

APPENDIX I: Interview Transcripts. 83

Appendix II: A Matrix for Generating Theme-Based Assertions ...111

Appendix III: Research Timeline 112

Appendix V: Informed Consent- Taiwan .114

Appendix VI: Sample Interview Protocol 115

Appendix VII: Jays Example of Geometrical Constructions 116

Appendix VIII: Lis Examples of Proofs of Theorems and Problem-solving 118

Appendix IX: Lis Revision Worksheet .. 119

Appendix X: Tylers Example of Geometrical Constructions 121

Appendix XI: Summary of Emerging Themes. 123

Tables:

Table 3.1: Data collection for the Intended Study 26

Table 3.2: The themes for within-case analysis.. 30

Figures:

Figure 4.1: One example of Jays geometrical construct with GeoGebra37

Figure 4.2: One example of Lis exponential function constructs with

GeoGebra 42

Figure 4.3: One exampl e of school mathematics website on the topic:

transformations 45

Figure 4.4: One example of school mathematics website on the topic: angles in the

same segment.. 46

Figure 4.5: One example of linking algebra and geometry with GeoGebra by

Richard 46

Figure 4.6: One example of Tylers use of transformation activit y on

enlargement... 50

Figure 5.1: The general schema of teachers conceptions and practices integrating

GeoGebra 65

AST: Advanced Skills Teacher

Cabri: Cabri-Geometry

CAS: Computer Algebra System

DGS: Dynamic Geometry Software

GSP: Geometers Sketchpad

ICT: Information and Communication Technology

IGI: International GeoGebra Institute

IT: Information and Technology

NCETM: The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematic

OECD: Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development

OFSTED: Office for Standards in Education

PGCE: Postgraduate Certificate in Education

PISA: Program for International Student Assessment

TIMSS: Third International Maths and Science Study

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

Algebra is concerned with manipulation in time, and geometry is concerned

with space. These are two orthogonal, aspects of the world, and they represent

two different points of view in mathematics. (Michael Atiyah)

Algebra and geometry are two core strands of mathematics curricula throughout the

world and are considered the two formal pillars of mathematics (Atiyah, 2001). It is

therefore not surprising that they have been specifically targeted by the field of

technology (Sangwin, 2007). Many researchers consider mathematics education as

one of the earlier education fields to introduce technology as an assistant tool in

classrooms (Papert, 1980; Hoyles and Sutherland, 1989; Noss and Hoyles, 1996).

students to generalise and formalise and make links between their intuitive

notions of mathematics and the more formal aspects of mathematical knowledge.

(Godwin and Sutherland, 2004:131-132)

The major application of technology in mathematics education is the integration of

mathematical software in teaching practices. In respect of geometry, the most widely

used computer applications, known as Dynamic Geometry Software (DGS) and

include, Cabri-gomtre and Geometers Sketchpad (GSP), etc. One important feature

of DGS is the drag mode, encouraging interactions between teachers, students and

mathematics (Jones, 2000). The drag mode can be used to explore and visualise

geometrical properties by dragging objects and transforming figures in ways beyond

the scope of traditional paper-and-pencil geometry (Laborde, 2001; Ruthven, 2005).

DGS also has options to visualise the paths of objects as they move. For algebra, the

most widely used applications are known as Computer Algebra Systems (CAS) and

visualisation and symbolic representations of algebraic expressions are implemented

in CAS (Kokol-Vojic, 2003). CAS software processes algebraic variables, equations

and functions and provides immediate computations (Harris, 2000; Lavicza, 2007).

These provide opportunities for investigation and checking as feedback can be given

promptly which assists the learning of algebraic topics.

Using the metaphor of the two formal pillars of mathematics, geometry and algebra

are afforded prominent positions especially at the secondary level (Hohenwarter and

Jones, 2007). However, the connection between geometry and algebra, namely the

beam connecting the two pillars, is apparently missing, as evident that in some

countries geometry and algebra are entirely separate in their curricula (ibid).

Since CAS and DGS are two completely different mathematical constructs, the

beam is weakly constructed within current mathematical software. Historically,

CAS programmes have mainly provided algebraic and numerical computations while

DGS have provided graphical and dynamic demonstrations. Hohenwarter and Jones

(2007) point out that forms of CAS have begun to include graphing capabilities in

order to help to visualise mathematics; likewise, DGS have begun to include elements

of algebraic symbolisation in order to be useful for a wider range of mathematical

problems(p. 127) . In recent years, the need to integrate CAS and DGS has become

apparent as Schumann and Green (2000: 337) claim that [t]here is a need for further

software development to provide a single package combining the desired features [of

DGS and CAS]. The recently published software GeoGebra by Markus Hohenwater

(2004) explicitly links the two (as evidenced by the name Geometry and alGebra).

This integration aims to provide unprecedented opportunities for mathematics

education (Sangwin, 2007; Hohenwarter et al., 2007). GeoGebra affords a

bidirectional combination of geometry and algebra that differs from earlier software

forms. The bidirectional combination means that, for instance, by typing in an

equation in the algebra window, the graph of the equation will be shown in the

dynamic and graphic window. Similarly, by dragging the graph, the equation changes

accordingly (Hohenwarter and Fuchs, 2004). A closer connection between the

visualisation capabilities of CAS and the dynamic changeability of DGS is therefore

offered by GeoGebra (ibid).

2

GeoGebra has the potential to clearly demonstrate to students the close connection

between geometry and algebra and is becoming a recognised part of mathematical

knowledge (Jones and Edwards, 2006; Hohenwarter and Jones, 2007). Edwards and

Jones (2006: 30) believe a significant feature of GeoGebra is its activities which

require high-level thinking and enable pupils to engage with the potential that

technology brings, such as learning through feedback, seeing patterns, making

connections, working with dynamic images, etc.

In addition, teachers and students can download and use GeoGebra at home as it is

open-source1 software. This outperforms commercial software such as GSP, Cabrigomtre or Autograph, which offer similar affordances (Lu 2007; Hohenwarter and

Preiner, 2007). There is therefore a growing belief among international mathematics

educators that GeoGebra has the potential to transform mathematics education

(Sangwin, 2007; Jones and Edwards, 2006). It must not be forgotten, however, that

teachers play a vital role in the enhancement of learning as they are the gateway to

larger cultures of knowledge, and no amount of technology will replace teachers in

this respect (Sutherland et al., 2004).

There is evidence of GeoGebra being used extensively around the globe; it has been

translated into forty languages and has been used by approximately a hundred

thousand teachers worldwide (Hohenwarter and Lavicza, 2007). However, systematic

enquiries into the effectiveness of GeoGebra in teaching practices are limited.

Consequently, this study aims to provide one of the first rigorous accounts of this

potentially liberating software and how it can support or enhance mathematics

teaching.

Cross-platform open source tools and collaborative software provides educators opportunities to join

an online community and overcome technological and financial barriers. All materials in this

environment are subject to a Creative Commons license that allows everyone to make customized

works for non-commercial purposes (Hohenwarter and Preiner, 2007).

implementation in the teaching of geometry and algebra (Ruthven, 1990; 2002; 2005;

2008; Artigue, 2002, Sutherland et al., 2004; Hennessy, et al., 2005; Laborde, 2007).

My rationale behind carrying out this inquiry into GeoGebra is not only due to its

being open-source software with freely available support and online materials (Suzuki,

2006), but also due to its unique capacity to integrate geometry and algebra. The

significance of this research is not only the investigation of how GeoGebra usage can

be incorporated into the teaching of either geometry or algebra alone, but more

importantly, how the teaching of geometry and algebra can be linked using GeoGebra,

thus contributing to a better understanding for students of their interrelationships.

Studies such as this one will contribute to knowledge of GeoGebra-mediated teaching

and the future pedagogical development.

Recent research has indicated that culture influences the ways that teachers behave

and inter-culture differences appears to be stronger than intra-culture differences

(Schmidt et al., 1996; Givvin et al., 2005; Andrews, 2007). In particular, comparing

eastern and western traditions with their respective Confucian and Socratic

underpinnings can be enlightening as there are great differences in teacher beliefs and

practices (Leung, 1995; Tweed and Lehman, 2002; Andrews, 2007). There is little

comparative research of technology use in mathematics education, especially between

Eastern Asian and Western countries (Graf. and Leung, 2001). Consequently, seeing

how culture influences technology-mediated mathematics teaching in England and

Taiwan is a pertinent issue. The comparisons between the two countries will help

obtain a sense of the uniformities and dissimilarities of GeoGebra use. In so doing, I

decided to study the transformative potential of this software and its multiple uses as

well as providing further recommendations for its improvement in teaching practices.

1.3 Outline

Chapter 2 presents a review of theoretical and research literature illuminating the use

of technology in mathematics education. It also highlights teachers conceptions and

practices of new technologies for their teaching of geometry and algebra. Chapter 3

states the philosophical stance and methodology employed to conduct the study. It

also gives an account of the rationale for research design and the methods for data

collection and analysis undertaken on the issue of Taiwanese and English teachers

ways of using GeoGebra. Presentation and analysis of the multiple-case study are

reported in Chapter 4. Results and findings of the study followed by discussion,

reflection and implications for further research are presented in the final chapter.

CHAPTER 2

Literature Review

2.1. Introduction

In this chapter, I firstly review the general role of technology in education and its

contribution to mathematics education, followed by an exploration into the ways in

which mathematical software is used to support mathematics teaching. Secondly, I

give an account of the relationships between teachers conceptions and practices in

relation to their software usage. Thirdly, the decision for a cross-cultural approach is

described by looking at comparative mathematics education. In the final part, I focus

on the research questions extracted from the paradigm used.

2.2.1 Technology Integration in Education

There has been an increasing awareness that interactions between humans and

technologies can facilitate effective teaching and learning (e.g. Hennessy et al., 2005;

Arcavi, 2003). During the 1990s, Information Technology (IT) was a term reserved

for computers and other electronic data handling and storage devices used to provide

speedy automatic functions, capacity and range (Monaghan, 1993; Andrews, 1996).

More recently, the word communication was incorporated to acknowledge the

increase in interaction between people and technology; this is widely known as

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and is a term extensively used in

the UK. Kennewell (2004: 4) explains that the term ICT covers all aspects of

computers, networks (including the internet) and certain other devices with

information storage and processing capacity, such as calculators, mobile phones and

automate control devices. I, therefore, use the term ICT to refer to new technologies

with an emphasis on communication.

activity, which has a number of features. Kennewell (2004) points out that some key

features that ICT can offer in this respect are speed and automatic functions, capacity,

range and interactivity. Deaney et al. (2006: 465) identify teachers practical theory

concerning the contribution of ICT to education as:

The practical theory could be seen as a starting point for the development of explicit

models of ICT into different subject teaching and learning. Nevertheless, after

decades attempting to incorporate technology in education, it is still problematic

(Cuban et al., 2001). A pervading notion suggests that ICT alone cannot enhance

learning (Godwin and Sutherland, 2004; Noss and Hoyles, 2003). In light of this issue,

the constraints preventing some teachers from using ICT to help students learn has

been examined (Sutherland et al., 2004). Four barriers to implementing ICT in the

classroom are pinpointed as (Steen, 1988; Brown, 2001):

access to computers;

on learning the mathematics rather than the programme;

with the curriculum need to be accomplished more effectively;

Consequently, it has been suggested that further areas for development in terms of the

contribution that ICT lends to education include: improvements in pedagogical

and Pimm, 2005; Webb and Cox, 2004; Glbahar, 2007).

whether mathematics education changes when ICT is introduced? Hershkovitz

and Schwartz (1999) research the differences between ICT-integrated environment

and paper-and-pencil environment and suggest that the paper-and-pencil environment

is relatively passive in supporting learning. Current studies have found that there are

changes in terms of active engagement with the implementation of ICT into

mathematics education as ICT holds higher efficiency in mathematics manipulation

and communication as well as interactivity between teachers, students and

mathematics (Hershkovitz, et al, 2002).

cannot be ousted from classroom practices. It can be argued that inappropriate uses of

ICT may potentially block teaching and learning processes in problem-solving and

justifying, or perhaps create cognitive obstacles in understanding (Yerushalmy, 2005;

Arzarello, 2005). Bramald et al. (2000) concur and warn against underestimating the

effect of the personal relationship existing between teacher and student. They cite it as

an important factor in successful educational development. Since ICT and paper-andpencil environments both have advantages and disadvantages, it is not necessary to

separate them but to combine them. Considering the integration of both ICT and

paper-and-pencil can be beneficial; the implementation of ICT into mathematics

education has been the main direction of current research in the field of mathematics

education and ICT (Ruthven et al. 2008; Sutherland et al., 2004; Becker, 2001; Cuban

et al., 2001).

world, the global movement to integrate digital technologies into school

mathematics has had limited impact on mainstream classrooms (Ruthven et al.,

2008:1)

Since the implementation of ICT in classroom practices has been slow, recent studies

shift their attention to the role of the teacher as a mediator for appropriate integration

of ICT into teaching practices (Becta, 2004; Ruthven et al., 2008; Sutherland et al.,

2004). Teachers pedagogical knowledge in the use of ICT to bolster students

learning requires them to tackle potential problems (Ofsted, 2004). Possible

misunderstandings may arise from multiple representations within the software, or

improper use of ICT to investigate mathematical ideas (Deaney et al., 2006). In effect,

there is a constant demand for teachers pedagogical development of embedding ICT

into everyday classroom practice to occur (Godwin and Sutherland, 2004; Hennessy

et al., 2005; Kendal and Stacey, 2001). Consequently, one of my main focuses is

researching teachers instructional practices incorporating technology.

Since there is evidence that each educational system has a different approach to

mathematics education (Schmidt et al., 1996; Stigler and Hiebert, 1999), one crucial

question to address is what precisely is meant by mathematics education? in

different cultural contexts. Would it be possible to address multiple definitions of

mathematics education by comparing and contrasting different cultural traditions and

approaches to mathematics?

To all intents and purposes, cross-cultural studies usually refer to comparative studies

(Kaiser, 1999a). Osborn (2004: 265) argues that comparative approaches which

combine careful measurement with up-close, deep understanding of real-world

contexts, can be a very powerful mix. The most crucial reason for conducting such

cross-cultural research is that it may contribute towards improving the approaches to

mathematics teaching, thereby providing a better understanding of the context of

different environments (Conway and Sloane, 2005). The contribution of cross-cultural

studies is processed as a means of conveying in a powerful and compelling form

significant applied and theoretical insights across a range of disciplines and

professional fields (ibid: 13).

There are large-scale quantitative studies such as TIMSS 2 and PISA3 and small-scale

qualitative studies, for example, Andrews and Sayers (2004) comparative research in

five European countries. These studies highlight both similarities and differences

between mathematics education in different cultural contexts in depth and in breadth.

Large scale surveys are limited, however, by the fact that they often compare

students academic achievements without taking cultural and social factors into

consideration (Prais, 2007). Quantitative studies such as TIMSS have also been

reproached for their uncritical evaluation and for promoting globalisation over

curricular and cultural diversity (Andrews, 2007). In contrast, small qualitative studies

acknowledge cultural differences without attempts for generalisation. Particularly,

when comparing East Asian and Western traditions with their respective Confucian

and Socratic underpinnings, there is a significant difference between what are

classically designed with the educational traditions (Leung, 1995; Kaiser et al., 2005;

Tweed and Lehman, 2002). In particular, Kaiser et al. (2005) proposed a framework

analysing East Asian and West European cultural traditions in mathematics education.

The framework is listed as follows:

pragmatic understanding

undertake a small-scale qualitative study in countries that exemplify East and West

with a focus on teachers perspective and their use of technology in mathematics

teaching. The Eastern country chosen is Taiwan since it is viewed as the one most

often cited admiringly by educators in the West for the level of its students

2

3

PISA- Program for International Student Assessment

10

performing country in international comparative studies such as TIMSS and PISA

(Mullis, 2003; OECD, 2004; 2007). The Western country chosen for the study is

England due to its contrasting educational system (Broadfoot et al., 2000).

Taiwan and England are at two ends of a value and beliefs continuum, as Taiwan is

influenced by the Confucian-heritage culture of learning (Wong, 2004), in contrast

with English Socratic tradition. Taiwanese core educational values are centred on

Collectivism, based on a teacher-centred classroom culture, whereas in England,

Individualism seems to predominate around a student-centred ideal (Osborn et al.,

2000; Hofstede, 1986). Jacques (1996) compares Taiwanese and English educational

systems pointing out that the Taiwanese educational system has: a commitment to all

children succeeding which means that, unlike Britain, there is no trailing edge of

failure (p.1). Despite Taiwanese students high level of apparent achievement in

response to a particular teaching style or curriculum emphasis, I would argue that the

influence of a rigorous exam-oriented training and rote-learning culture should also be

taken into account.

education varies from nation to nation as education is influenced by the social

environment, economic state and historical background as well as by cultural

traditions (Graf. and Leung, 2001). Technology has been integrated in different ways

internationally, often due to the availability of financial funding. Taiwan is one of the

Asian Tiger economies (Jacques, 1996). Provided that both countries in my study

have sufficient finances for computer technology, investigating the ways in which it is

used differently can be significant.

The use of technology in Taiwan is relatively scarce as it has not been developed and

researched to as great a degree as in England. Taiwanese research shows little

awareness of technology practicability in secondary schools (Hung and Hsu, 2007),

except that, GSP is the most widely used mathematical software for secondary school

mathematics (Yen, 2003). Compared with England, the use of technology in Taiwan

11

policy in teaching practices.

mathematics has become evident in a significant number of countries cross the world.

After surveying the literature of cultural studies, I contend that not enough

comparative research in technology and mathematics education has been done despite

a few examples of research (e.g. Kyriakidou et al., 1999; Graf. and Leung, 2001).

Consequently, there is also a lack of theoretical frameworks for cross-cultural studies

on teachers uses of technology in Eastern and Western cultural contexts.

2.2.5 Teachers beliefs, conceptions and practices

study how their views, attitudes, beliefs, or conceptions influence their practices as

research suggests that teachers conceptions are crucial factors with regard to their

practices (Thompson, 1992). Teachers behaviour and choices of technologies can be

seen related to their attitudes, conceptions and beliefs; accordingly, this would

influence their technology integration into instructional practices. Therefore, an

understanding of teachers conceptions in relation to their practices is necessary in

order to allow a reflective transfer of effective measures from one system to another

(Kaiser, 1999b; Andrews, 2007). There have been studies examining the relationships

between teachers beliefs of mathematics and their instructional practices which

indicate that they are related in a complex way (Thompson, 1984; Ernest, 1989).

There are factors, such as cultural underpinnings of practices and sources of cultural

and educational traditions that influence mathematics teaching, teachers beliefs,

conceptions and practices. However, the complexity of terms in relation to beliefs,

such as conceptions, attitudes and views are difficult to delve into, therefore,

researchers have organised beliefs into belief systems which can be called

conceptions (Nespor, 1987; Ernest, 1989). Thompson (1992) defines conceptions as

conscious or subconscious beliefs, concepts, meaning, rules, mental images and

preferences (p. 132). I adopt the term conceptions providing clarity of the

12

instructional practices with technology.

Providing immediate graphing and calculation to benefit mathematics teaching and

learning are some of the merits of technology (Papert, 1996; Hoyles and Jones, 1998;

Noss and Hoyles, 1996). Wright (2005) asserts that ICT, particularly mathematical

software, helps to provide better visual and dynamic representations of abstract ideas

and the links between symbols, variables and graphs. Consequently, I have chosen to

investigate the ways in which teachers gain from using mathematical software in their

teaching practices. In the following sections, I discuss mathematical software used for

teaching geometry and algebra, followed by an account of open-source software and a

combination system of geometry and algebra. I then position my research and identify

research questions.

Generally, there are several types of software used in the teaching of mathematics:

Computer Algebra System (CAS), Dynamic Geometry Software (DGS) such as GSP,

Cabri-gomtre, and open source software- Java Applets, GeoGebra, etc. (Laborde,

2001; 2003; 2007; Strsser, 2001; Kokol-Voljc, 2003). Each form is generally

associated with particular aspects of mathematical teaching and learning. For example,

CAS is often used for teaching algebraic topics, whilst DGS programmes are used for

geometrical topics. CAS focuses on manipulation of expressions and DGS

concentrates on relationships between points, lines circles and so on (Schneider,

2007). However, such distinctions are not always clear with considerable overlap due

to the duality of mathematics in terms of geometry and algebra. Schumann and Green

(2000) state that graphical, numerical and algebraic should not be considered

separate, but rather as constituting a holistic comprehensive computer-aided

approach (p.324). The awareness of integrating graphical, numerical and algebraic

representations has become noticeable in recent years.

13

Pederson (2004) claims that geometry is a skill of the eyes and the hands as well as

the minds. There are more visual and dynamic areas in geometry than in algebra.

Since mathematical software offers great visualisation capability and dynamic

changeability for teaching, it is well placed to support this important element. The

properties of DGS and the ways in which it supports learning are demonstrated in the

following.

dragging and investigation under various angles are some affordances of DGS

(Laborde, 1998; Osta, 1998; Olivero, 2003; Healy and Hoyles, 2001). Laborde (1998)

emphasises the properties of DGS on a real model for the theoretical field of

Euclidean geometry where it is possible to handle theories in a physical sense. The

feedback of diagrams resulting from the use of geometrical primitives is also a vital

component of DGS. There are a myriad of opportunities offered by DGS. These are:

the direct interaction with the tools provided by the system that allows construction,

manipulation and exploration of figures and discovery of the relationships between

multiple representations. Also, the essential features of DGS are efficiency in

mathematics manipulation and communication for learning. Furthermore, the efficient

coupling of visual representation with other forms of representations and interactivity

between students and mathematics can enhance learning (Healy and Hoyles, 2001).

DGS is not only for teacher demonstrations but also for students interactive learning.

computations and symbolic representation providing the linkage between multiple

representations. This sort of mathematical software, known as Computer Algebra

System (CAS), include: Derive, Mathematica, Maple, etc (Fey et al., 1995; Ruthven,

2002; Kendal et al., 2005). CASs can work with strings of symbols enabling students

to concentrate on developing their conceptual understanding of mathematics (Keller

and Russell, 1997; Shaw, 1997; Cuoco, 2002). Ruthven (2008a:1) argues that when it

comes to mainstream use of these technologies, the uptake of dynamic geometry has

been wider and more longstandingsimilar studies are currently lacking for computer

algebra. This can be explained by Artigue (2002:1): professional mathematicians

and engineers know that these sophisticated new tools do not become immediately

efficient mathematical instruments for the user: their complexity does not make it

14

easy to master, and fully benefit from, their potential. Yerushalmy (2004) mentions

the transformation of the content of algebra curricula by technology as this new

digital culture may shift teachers pedagogical strategy. However, the transitions

between fundamental concepts and operations remained the difficult and non-trivial

parts (Yerushalmy, 2004: 19) and still needs further research. Ruthven (2008a: 1)

researches the specific examples of computer algebra and dynamic geometry, and

highlights three important dimensions- interpretative flexibility, instrumental

evolution and institutional adoption-of the incorporation of new technologies into

educational practices. The interpretative flexibility of technologies refers to varied

conceptions of technologys functionalities and modalities of use (ibid). The

instrumental evolution of scenarios is categoried as four types: a convenient parallel

to paper-and-pencil, invariant properties through visual salience under dragging, new

types of solution to familiar problems and posing novel forms of problem. The

institutional adoption means that the official curriculum should show explicit

recognition and provide the instrumental genesis of manual tools. These three

dimensions cover the major issues concerning the incorporation of new technologies

into mathematics teaching.

Although research into current technology use of computer algebra and dynamic

geometry in teaching practices separate each sphere into distinct areas for study; I

argue against this separation as there are areas overlapping algebra and geometry such

as functions and graphs (Dubinsky and Harel, 1992). Examining both together has

great educational implications and the connections between the two should not be

ignored (Edwards and Jones, 2006). However, there is a gap in the literature dealing

with this linkage between both fields and the use of technology. Despite an awareness

of the need for a combination of DGS and CAS (Hohenwarter and Fush, 2004),

software designers struggle to combine them as there are completely different

constructs in software design. GeoGebra could be seen as pioneering software,

although whether or not it is successful in linking DGS and CAS still needs research

as the supporting evidence is limited at present.

which means the availability of software is subject to the school or students finances.

Therefore, some teachers or students who cannot afford to buy commercial software

15

search for free, open-source software for their own purposes. The wide-spread usage

of open-source software is beyond researchers awareness since Hippel and Krogh

(2003) explain that the phenomenon of open-source software development shows

that users programme to solve their own as well as shared technical problems, and

freely reveal their innovations without appropriating private returns from selling the

software. There is positive potentiality and improvement offered by encouraging a

collaborative community of open-source software users and voluntary software

developers.

mathematics teaching by bridging students understanding of the connection between

geometry and algebra. GeoGebra is a multi-platform dynamic mathematical software

with its window divided into two parts (Fig. 2.1, Hohenwarter, 2006) - Algebra

window (left side) and Geometry and Graphics window (right side).

Algebra Window

Figure 2.1: GeoGebra window- Algebra window and Geometry and Graphic window

16

On the one hand, GeoGebra is a dynamic geometry system, much like any other,

which works with points, vectors, segments, lines, and conic sections. On the other

hand, equations and coordinates can be entered directly into the grid at the bottom of

the window (Fig. 2.1). It provides a bidirectional combination and a closer connection

between visualisation capabilities of CAS and dynamic changeability of DGS.

GeoGebra has great potential in the teaching of algebra which lies mainly in functions

and graphs. Functions can be defined algebraically and then changed dynamically

afterwards (Sangwin, 2007).

corresponding graph can be seen directly. The visualisation of two windows provides

a connection between algebraic and geometric representations. It also works the other

way around, by dragging the line or curve of the graph to change the equation. The

change in the equation can be seen on the algebraic window. This encourages the

investigation of the connection between variables in the equations and graphs in a

bidirectional experimental way (Hohenwarter and Preiner, 2007). This is particularly

significant as it connects the crucial parts of multiple representations of mathematics,

which are numerical, algebraic, geometrical and graphical; far beyond the reach of

other DGS and CAS.

GeoGebra being open-source software may face criticism as it may be thought that

free software lacks quality control compared to commercial software. Acknowledging

that it would be insufficient to only provide free software without proper training and

collegial support, the International GeoGebra Institute (IGI)4, therefore, is organised

for supporting the collaboration between teachers and researchers and provides

professional development for teachers (Hohenwarter and Lavicza, 2007). Since it is a

non-profit organisation, funding has been sought mainly from Europe and the U.S.

(Hohenwarter et al., 2008). Teachers need a support system and professional

development to improve their skills in teaching mathematics using GeoGebra

(Hohenwarter and Preiner, 2007). With this guidance and support from IGI,

GeoGebra enhances teachers willingness to integrate this new technology into their

teaching practices. Despite its important ramifications, there has been little research

4 IGI is a virtual, not-for-profit organization which has established the following three goals: training

and support, development and sharing, and research and collaboration.

17

into this area. It is hoped that this cross-cultural study will contribute to the IGI

development of GeoGebra implementation in mathematic teaching in terms of

pedagogical strategies and innovative ways of using GeoGebra in classroom practices.

Nevertheless, one might ask the question: does GeoGebra offer sufficient linkage

between geometry and algebra?; does it provide both functionalities of DGS and

CAS? I, therefore, aim to explore whether GeoGebra offers linkage between

geometry and algebra in teachers practices.

A cross-cultural study between Taiwan and England will help obtain a sense of the

commanalities and discrepencies of teachers conceptions and practices in relation to

GeoGebra use. I have chosen to research at the upper-secondary level (students aged

15-18) as this level is less researched but is a crucial step for bridging students

secondary mathematics learning and higher education. Therefore, the overarching

research questions are:

technology in relation to GeoGebra in England and Taiwan?

In what manner is GeoGebra used for the teaching of geometry and algebra by

Taiwanese and English teachers?

their teaching practices in both countries?

18

Chapter 3

Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction

The previous chapters were concerned with literature examining the use of technology

in mathematics education; particular attention was paid to the teachers perspective of

implementing mathematical software into classrooms. Also highlighted in the

literature was the apparent need for research on open-source software and possible

assistance of a cross-cultural approach. Integrating the literature review and research

questions, I outline my decisions with respect to my research design to address these

issues. The research design aims to investigate how the use of open-source software

supports the teaching associated with the links between geometry and algebra. In this

chapter, I introduce the theoretical framework used for research design, epistemology,

theoretical perspective, methodology and methods followed by a discussion of

research considerations.

The research process often follows a certain path, beginning with the problem to be

solved or an issue, which then becomes the core concern of the study. This is

followed by identifying research questions, reviewing the literature, choosing research

methods, developing the research design, collecting data, analysing the data,

interpreting the results, formulating conclusions and identifying implications (Robson,

2002; Cohen et al., 2007; Creswell, 2007).

19

in highlighting and structuring the range of approaches, and the methods to

investigate their research questions. Crotty (1998) proposes a general framework

containing four elements: epistemology, theoretical perspective, methodology and

methods. Epistemology deals with how education researchers can know the reality

they wish to describe the belief they have about the nature of that reality (Scott and

Morrison, 2005: 84). The theoretical perspective here means the philosophical stance

lying behind the methodology (Crotty, 1998:66). Methodology holds the assumption

that a researcher conceptualises the research process in a certain way (Creswell, 2007)

and detailed procedures of data collection, analysis and writing, are called methods

(Creswell, 2003). This framework allows careful development of research processes.

These elements help researchers answer how their philosophical underpinnings,

epistemology and theoretical perspectives relate to methodology and methods.

Epistemology helps researchers make sense of research information transforms it into

data detailing how that analysis might be patterned, reasoned, and compiled and

shows the belief they have about the nature of the reality they describe (Willis, 2007;

Creswell, 2007; Scott and Morrison, 2005). In the following, I provide a brief

description of the philosophical theories and discuss the justifications of my

theoretical perspective.

Crotty (1998) points out the great divide between objectivist research and

constructionist/subjectivist research. Acknowledging there is a debate against this

divide (Howe, 2003), my discussion of epistemology still targets these two strands as

they are representative of the mainstream research. On the one hand, positivism

claims that knowledge exists whether we are conscious of it or not (Crotty, 1998;

Cohen et al., 2007). Post-positivism has a commitment to objectivity but is

approached by recognising that reality or knowledge can only be known imperfectly,

and researchers biases yield limitations in the production of knowledge (Philips and

Burbules, 2000; Robson, 2002). My research focuses on the usage of mathematical

20

research questions, I inquire as to how technology is used by teachers in their teaching

practices; therefore, I do not take the position of assuming that knowledge is

independent

from

social

construction.

The

positivist

and

post-positivist

exists through human interactions with social environment and technologies.

different sets of beliefs. For instance, constructionism is the belief that knowledge is

constructed by people and we come to know through our interactions with others;

each one of us constructs his or her own knowledge based on a unique set of

experiences with the world (Bassey, 1999). Social constructionism, more specifically,

is the understanding of the world and each other as socially constructed through our

interaction with the environment (Crotty, 1998; Robson, 2002; Creswell, 2007).

Interpretivism is a quest to generate understanding of the subjective world of human

experiences. In symbolic interactionism, people act on the basis of the meanings and

understandings that they develop through group actions and interactions (Blumer,

1969; Crotty, 1998; Cohen, 2007).

Due to the research focus being the subjective nature of various perceptions of

teachers use of technology; I have not attempted to claim to be an objectivist. I see

knowledge as constructed within interactions that people have with other people or

social environments. In my view, meaning and understanding of knowledge are

created, constructed and negotiated rather than told, given or shown. Thus, humans

construct meaning in engaging with the world through their interpretation of it. In

taking a constructionist epistemology, I adopt an interpretivist theoretical perspective

with a view of symbolic interactionism as I look at teachers accounts of mathematics

teaching through technology, as teachers act on their understandings and beliefs

about the use of technology in classroom practices.

I agree with the ontological assumption that reality is subjective and multiple as

evidenced by participants responses in the study (Creswell, 2007). However, I do not

intend to find evidence of multiple realities on multiple quotes from individuals to

present different perspectives. Ontological questions such as: what is the nature of

21

mathematics and what is the pedagogy of mathematics are not the focal point of my

research, but rather the epistemological questions about how technology can help to

construct an understanding of mathematics and how GeoGebra can be used

interactively to scaffold the construction of mathematics knowledge. In an attempt to

discover the answers to my research questions, I have tried to minimise the distance

or objective separateness between those being researched and myself (Guba and

Lincoln, 1988: 94).

3.4 Methodology

3.4.1 Selection of Appropriate Research Approach

Before discussing the methodology, I revisit my research questions in the light of the

decision concerning theoretical perspective. The questions informed by the literature

are: What are the upper-secondary mathematics teachers conceptions of technology

and GeoGebra in England and Taiwan? ; in what manner is GeoGebra used for the

teaching of geometry and algebra by Taiwanese and English teachers? how are the

teachers conceptions of technology and GeoGebra related to their teaching practices

in both countries?

begin with an investigation of three approaches to research suggested by Creswell

(2003), namely qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. Quantitative research and

statistical data mainly provide the knowledge about what is happening, rather than

why or how (McKnight, et al., 2000). Mixed methods research considers the

knowledge for both what is happening and why or how and could be considered for a

large-scale project as both breadth and depth of a research topic can be examined.

These approaches are not applicable to the study as my inquiry of knowledge is based

on how questions in a small scale approach. My proposed research lends itself to the

qualitative approach, as it tends to focus on a single concept or phenomenon, bringing

personal values into the study, studying the context or settings of participants and

validating the accuracy of findings (Creswell, 2003).

22

Yin (2003) states that case studies are the preferred strategy when how or why

questions are being posed, when the investigator has little control over events, and

when the focus is on a contemporary phenomenon with some real-life context.

Amongst all qualitative research traditions, a case study would fit best with my

methodology in relation to the how research questions I have proposed.

Consequently, I have chosen to use case study research, as I do not intend to study

historical or phenomenological perspectives of the research topic.

Case studies examine the particularity and complexity of a bounded system, single

case or multiple cases over time (Stake, 1995; Bassey, 1999). The method involves

the detailed, in-depth data collection and recording of data about a case or cases,

involving multiple sources of information rich in context (Creswell, 2007: 73). Stake

(2006) categorises two types of case studies: single-case and multiple-case studies. A

single case study can be seen as a single scrutiny bounded by time and activity that

necessitates the collection of detailed information (Merriam, 1998). Multiple-case

studies are special efforts to examine something having a number of cases, parts or

members when four to fifteen cases are involved (Stake, 2006) as a larger number of

cases might require different methodology to tackle. They aim to answer specific

questions, involve an empirical investigation of a particular contemporary

phenomenon and seek a range of multiple sources of evidence (Robson, 2002). The

evidence has to be abstracted and collated to get the best possible answers to the

research questions (Stark and Torrance, 2000). My study examines teachers

mathematical software uses in Taiwan and England, and thus involves multiple-cases

rather than a single case. Multiple-case studies help obtain valuable information from

different cases between countries and therefore they are used as my main research

strategy.

phenomenon (Hennessy et al., 2003; Laborde, 2003; Deaney, et al. 2006), there is

little research into the use of open-source software to guide this investigation. In view

of my research assumption that GeoGebra may be useful in upper-secondary

23

mathematics teaching, and by exploring these case studies, I can have a deeper

understanding of how GeoGebra is adopted by teachers. Thereby I comprehend the

applications for possible usage and affordances using the case study approach. Yin

(2003) writes that case studies can be exploratory, descriptive or explanatory. The

object of this study is framed into the exploratory model though elements of

explanatory and descriptive models are in use inside this context. In order to

investigate GeoGebra, which is a new tool, I emphasise that my multiple case studies

are not simply aimed at describing or explaining how GeoGebra can be used, but

rather exploring its potentialities in supporting mathematics teaching. Since there is

little research into GeoGebra usage to date, this study is exploratory (Marshall and

Rossman, 2006; Creswell, 2007).

research focuses on this particular mathematical software, requiring specific teachers

who utilise GeoGebra to teach upper-secondary level mathematics. Comparing and

contrasting cases of teachers with interest in using GeoGebra from Taiwan and

England provide a comprehensive understanding of how GeoGebra can be used in

two very different cultural traditions, pedagogies and curricula.

I define mathematics teaching with the use of GeoGebra in Taiwan and England as

the two main units of analysis. These have embedded cases of teachers who use this

software. Moreover, within the units, four cases of English and Taiwanese teachers

are studied to obtain evidence of their views on GeoGebra teaching practices.

Studying teachers use of technology in two countries invokes a particular

methodological response asking what is comparable? In order to compare,

conceptual, linguistic, measurement and sampling equivalence must be ensured

(Warwick and Osherson, 1973, cited Osborn, 2004). To achieve the comparability

between cases and units, pre-determined themes: teacher background, views on

technology and GeoGebra, software comparisons and ways of using GeoGebra have

been set for research design and data collection which are illustrated as follows.

24

3.5 Methods

and learning in relation to GeoGebra and its usage in teaching geometry and algebra. I

also consider teachers conceptions of strengths and weaknesses of GeoGebra for

upper-secondary mathematics teaching both in Taiwan and in England. To delve into

my research questions comprehensively, I explore the reasons for, and ways of,

utilising GeoGebra. Following a qualitative research approach and multiple-case

study methodology, the data was collected mainly through interviews with teachers.

In seeking to gain insights into professional perceptions of the role of teachers for

integrating GeoGebra in practice, I was mindful of the opportunity for informative

interviews with GeoGebra creator and an advance user.

To gain a more in depth picture for each case, I espoused data triangulation (Denzin

and Lincoln, 2008) for different resources and information with respect to using

GeoGebra and teaching with the use of GeoGebra. This serves as a means by which

the weaknesses of one data collection technique could be compensated for by the

strengths of another technique. External information about technology facilities and

technological issues might also be investigated through observations, documentation,

informal conversations and e-mail communications with the teachers. The methods I

intend to use for data collection in my case studies are fully documented in Table 3.1.

25

Data collection

Participants

Techniques

Data

Documentation

Teachers

GeoGebra-

Print-outs

Teachers and

Informal

Teachers

communications

related

researchers views in

websites,

teaching

materials.

technical problems

Emails and

GeoGebra-

related

teachers

websites

Formal

Teachers

interviews

Video

recording

directly on the case

study topic

Observations of

Teachers

Note-taking

teachers

mathematics

constructs with

software

GeoGebra

Informative

GeoGebra

Video

Interviews

creator and

recording

evidence of practical

advanced

users

from international

perspectives and

disciplines

3.5.2 Interviews

Interviews have a central importance in social research because of the power of

language to illuminate meaning (Legard et al., 2003: 139) and can provide access to

the meanings people attribute to their experiences and social worlds. Therefore,

26

interviews are the focus of my research and the major method for data collection.

However, interviews can take different forms for various purposes. This next section

discusses these in relation to my research questions.

There are a number of interview types with different terms used. For instance, Denzin

and Lincoln (2008) categorise interviews as structured and unstructured interviewing,

group interviewing, creative interviewing, post-modern interviewing, gendered

interviewing and electronic interviewing. Bogdan and Biklen (1992) add semistructured interviews. I offer a summery of these types of interviews with their

strengths and weaknesses before explaining why I dismiss them as inappropriate.

Unstructured interviews have questions that emerge from the immediate context and

are asked in the natural course of discussion with no predetermination of question

topics or wording (Cohen et al., 2007; Patton, 1980). They allow for the salience and

relevance of questions but are less systematic. However, the interview flexibility in

sequencing and wording questions can result in substantially different responses, thus

reducing the comparability of responses. Structured interviews use predetermined

questions and fixed response categories. Data analysis of this sort of interview data is

simple but may be perceived as impersonal, irrelevant and mechanistic (Cohen et al.,

2007). I have chosen not to use these approaches, as they do not fit the nature of my

exploratory and multiple-case study. I also require the data not only to be comparable

between cases but also exploratory which means there is space for interviewees to

express their thinking without any influence by directive interview questions.

opening questions can be determined in advance (Patton, 1980). As the interviews

were conducted in Taiwan and England, translation of wording might create problems

in respect of reliability. To increase the comparability of responses, the use of exact

wording in interview questions can reduce this concern. Pre-determined set questions

also reduce interview effects and bias and facilitate organization and analysis of the

data (Cohen et al., 2007).

27

There are some strategies for achieving depth of interviews through the use of content

mining questions (Legard et al., 2003: 150). These include amplificatory probes 5 ,

exploratory probes 6 , explanatory probes 7 and clarificatory probes 8 (Legard et al.,

2003). These interviewing strategies were employed to encourage participants to

elaborate on their thoughts. To ensure the interview data was being collected

appropriately with these strategies, I conducted pilot interviews with two teachers

prior to the formal interviews, to allow time for amendment of interview questions

and personal reflections. In the pilot study, I discovered that I could not gather useful

information when the teachers were not particularly skilful or experienced with

GeoGebra. I then decided to find teachers who have at least six months of experience

teaching with GeoGebra.

grasping teachers points of view and personal accounts through talking about the

software. One may argue that the teachers might not show their authentic experiences

with the software through talking alone. As an aid to communication during the

interviews, a laptop with GeoGebra was prepared for the teachers. They were invited

to demonstrate their thoughts and ideas about GeoGebra that came up in the

discussion. This observational method was an interview aid and helped me understand

the ways in which they use the software and its related teaching tasks or activities.

Before introducing the criteria for selection of participants, I give a brief description

of the Taiwanese Education system. In Taiwan, formal schooling starts at the age of

six and includes two six-year phases: elementary and high school. High schools

include junior high schools (students in the 12-15 age range) and senior high schools

(upper-secondary equivalent, students aged 15-18). In England, the upper-secondary

level often refers to post-16 education. To ensure the age equivalence, I decided to

5

Amplificatory probes are used to encourage interviewees to elaborate further by questions such as

can you tell me a little more about ? (Legard et al. 2003: 150)

6

Exploratory probes help to explore the views and feelings that underlie descriptions of behaviour,

events or experience and show the meaning that experiences hold for interviewees (ibid).

7

Explanatory probes are repeatedly sought for reasons by asking why? (Legard et al. 2003: 151).

8

Clarificatory probes explore issues in depth, which require a high degree of precision and clarity

(ibid).

28

choose teachers who teach in the 15-18 age range as the upper-secondary level in both

countries.

The data collection took place in one grammar school and one Village College in

England and senior high schools in Taiwan. A total of four cases were involved in this

study. GeoGebra is newly-published open-source software with online resources and

networking on the GeoGebra User Forum. These GeoGebra related websites,

conferences, workshops and seminars provided a great opportunity to gain access to

the participants in both Taiwan and England. My focused participants were teachers

who are enthusiastic about and skilled in the use of GeoGebra in teaching, as they

have experience and knowledge of GeoGebras applications and limits.

The use of multiple sources of evidence, with their strengths and weaknesses, is what

characterises a case study (Yin, 2003; Stake, 2006). A complete set of data was

collected from four school visits. All of the interviews were audio and video-recorded,

lasted for approximately an hour each and took place in classrooms using either a

laptop or a computer connected to an interactive whiteboard. Through observations

during the interviews the teachers demonstrated ways they utilised the software. The

interview data were collated and summarised for each of the four case studies. The

interview data was later transcribed (Full transcripts in Appendix I) according to the

predetermined themes for each case analysis.

To ensure the comparability, the framework proposed by Kaiser et al. (2005) was

partially adapted with a focus on teachers perspective of the use of technology. I predetermined the themes (Table 3.2) as a framework for the within-case analysis (Stake,

2006; Miles and Huberman, 1994). The decision for pre-determined themes is

because it is vital to explore and describe individual cases before comparisons

between cases, especially cases from two different countries. After within-case

analysis, similarities and differences between cases were noted through cross-case

analysis (Appendix II, Stake, 2006). I used a mixture of a priori analysis (top-down)

in relation to my research questions and inductive analysis (bottom-up) that allowed

new categories to emerge from the cross-case analysis (Dey, 1993). The transcriptions

29

categories to emerge from the data.

Table 3.2: The themes for within-case analysis (adapted from Stake, 2006, P. 43)

Key Themes

Sub Themes

Theme 1:

Teaching experience,

Participant

acceptance of and

Background

participation with

technology

Student age and

achievement

Theme 2:

Teacher conceptions of

Conceptions of

technology and

GeoGebra

in relation to geometry

and algebra

Theme 3:

Strengths and

Software

weaknesses of

Evaluation

GeoGebra,

comparisons with other

softwares

Theme 4:

Ways of using

GeoGebra Usage

teach?

mathematical topics

them?

GeoGebra

During the cross-case analysis, new categories emerged from the data according to the

themes using the constant comparison method (Glaser and Strauss, 1967). This

method has four distinct stages (Lincoln and Guba, 1985: 339):

1. comparing incidents applicable to each category;

30

3. delimiting the theory, and

4. writing the theory.

The reason for my choice of constant comparative method is that the qualitative

analysts effort at uncovering patterns, themes, and categories is a creative process

that requires making carefully considered judgements about what is really significant

and meaningful in the data (Patton, 1990: 406). This is an important aspect where I

tended to display my data in an organised and compressed way that allowed me to

make verifiable findings (Denzin and Lincoln, 2008). A sequence of procedures was

involved, firstly, according to Creswell (2003), I read through the interview

transcripts several times to get an overall sense of the data. Secondly, I connected

relationships in the process of comparing and contrasting the data. After categorising

data by the themes, some categories were developed until the data was exhausted.

Thus, the final findings were discovered after delimitation.

Some weaknesses of case studies are that they are not easily open to cross-checking,

hence they may be selective, biased, personal and subjective, and prone to problems

of observers bias, despite attempts made to address reflexivity (Cohen et al., 2007:

256). I was aware of these research weaknesses and tried to be objective both while

conducting the case studies and analysing the data. It could be argued that we cannot

avoid subjectivity. This is because even in quantitative studies that claim to be

objective, the data chosen and the procedures used to analyse the data go through a

human filter and thus rely on a certain level of subjectivity (McKnight et al., 2000).

If this study was not constrained by a time limit (Appendix III), it could be addressed

by a large-scale quantitative approach or by using mixed methods research. The

research questions could be elaborated in other ways, for instance, to what extent

does upper-secondary teachers use of GeoGebra highlight the relationship between

algebra and geometry?. Therefore, pragmatic views with a mixed-methods approach

could be applied for further or larger scale study.

31

Ethics

Letters of consent were sent to the teachers prior to the interviews (Appendices IV

and V). This was to give assurance that they remain anonymous in any written reports

arising from the study. The contents in the interviews are treated in the strictest

confidence.

The theoretical perspective of the researcher and the nature of reliability and validity

are relative (Maxwell, 2002). Validity refers to the appropriateness, meaningfulness,

correctness, and usefulness of any inferences a researcher draws based on data

obtained through the use of an instrument (Fraenkel and Wallen, 2003). In the

qualitative research, the validity of interviews is dependent upon: depth, honesty,

extent of triangulation and objectivity of the researcher (Cohen, et al., 2007).

Reliability stands for the extent to which research findings can be replicated

(Merriam, 1998:205).

To ensure greatest validity and reliability, I took the following actions. I used

methodological

triangulation

(including

interviews

with

observation

and

documentation) to strengthen the validity (Yin, 2003; Cohen et al., 2007). Since there

were a variety of instruments for data collection: video-recording, audio-recording,

field-notes and observations - this enhanced the validity of the findings. When

interviewing the participants, I video-recorded all the conversations, allowing my

contribution to be identified and enabling more careful analysis of the participants

answers to be carried out. This also reduced the danger of data distortion due to

selective memory, thereby improving the reliability of the study. As similar wording

of open-ended questions (Appendix VI) was used for every participant, reliability of

the interviews could also be heightened.

32

CHAPTER 4

Data Analysis

This is different. This is maths by interacting;

This is maths by trying things out, by conjecturing, by having a go

Tyler

4.1 Introduction

This chapter discusses a summary of each teachers conceptions and practices of

technology and mathematics teaching in relation to the use of GeoGebra. It is

presented in accordance with the pre-determined themes in the methodology section,

that is: the teachers background, their conceptions of technologies and views on

GeoGebra compared to other mathematical software and their methods of using

GeoGebra. In order to report the cases in a systemic way, I follow Thompsons (1984)

framework for the data analysis to discuss each case study as they pertain to the four

themes.

This chapter is structured by the presentation of a mixture of a priori analysis (topdown) and inductive analysis (bottom-up) of the data. Firstly, within-case analysis of

the four individual cases by the pre-determined themes is demonstrated. Secondly, I

report two informative interviews with the software creator and one advanced user.

Finally, emerged categories from cross-case analysis and cross-cultural exploration

are discussed.

In an attempt to validate the collected data, I volunteered to join the GeoGebra

translation team in Taiwan and have worked as a research assistant on the NCETM9

GeoGebra project. Through commonality of background along with my five-year

mathematics teaching experience, the Taiwanese teachers- Jay and Li were able to

The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics where the GeoGebra project is

funded in the U.K.

33

educational system. My involvement with GeoGebra workshops, conferences and

seminars allowed me the opportunity to meet English teachers who use GeoGebra.

Since Richard and Tyler have acted, respectively, as a software developer and as a

GeoGebra trainer, they were enthusiastic, cooperative and willing to share their

thoughts and practices.

4.2.1 Jay

Background

Jay has been teaching mathematics for twelve years in two senior high schools in

Taiwan (students aged 15 -18) and has also worked as a system analysis engineer (SA)

in the field of IT for two years in the US. Being a SA engineer helped him perform

actively in translating software and develop advanced skills in using mathematical

software, such as GSP and GeoGebra. His mathematical knowledge was enriched

during his undergraduate study, when he majored in mathematics.

Jays views about the incorporation of technology into teaching practices are

generally more negative than positive. He inferred that both students and teachers

viewed computers as a tool for entertainment rather than a learning or teaching tool.

He described this phenomenon in relation to technology in Taiwan:

software. However, they might think that they do not even have enough time to

learn mathematics, so how can they spend time learning and investigating the

software? We consider that there is an improvement through software use, but

they might think that it is going backwards.

Jays remarks about this situation also applied to the teachers:

People take the computers as a tool for entertainment rather than as a tool for

research. Consequently, teachers are no exception to be honest; most teachers

are not used to this software because using a computer itself is a challenge. At

present, it is still like this for most teachers.

34

Furthermore, he noted that the human brain does the thinking, believing that a

computer:

has its own limitation. It cannot do the logical and deductive thinking for you.

We need human brains to do that job. Some theories are a process of deduction.

The software itself helps to strengthen the fact that these are right; however, it

does not explain why they are right.

When he talked about students of higher abilities, he also devalued technology and

expressed that:

Mathematically talented students might not need to use this kind of software to

help them learn. Sometimes, doing mathematics is a matter of logical thinking

and deduction.

On the contrary, he held positive attitudes only with regard to GeoGebra. He claimed

GeoGebra to be a convenient tool, which can be used for demonstrations, checking

and visualisation as well as research. He states that: I would use this software for

drawing graphs or even calculation as it has command list functions for calculations.

They are very convenientI consider it convenient tool. He mentioned that

GeoGebra provides powerful capabilities that other software packages cannot offer:

It is actually very good, especially when you want to do addition and subtraction in

the grid coordinate system. He added that GeoGebra links algebra and geometry: as

you might know, its name is a combination of geometry and algebra. Therefore, I

think it has been done perfectly well regarding this part. His views on GeoGebra are

revealed in the following statements:

makes GeoGebra stand out and it is really useful.

(b) It is easier for students to come to an understanding of the described situation

when we drag one point to see how it affects the motion of another point.

Otherwise, it is difficult to relate concepts to images...it makes life so much

easier having this software.

35

Consequently, I use it to make mathematics come to life. It is resurrection

software!

technology and both students and teachers attitudes toward mathematical software in

Taiwan. He also asserted that support from mathematical software was limited as

human brains do the logical deduction. However, he emphasised that GeoGebra

provides quality functionalities that encouraged his use of this software in his teaching

practice.

GeoGebra has been the most successful software among similar software

packages so far. It is very impressive because it has the capability of algebra. I

really must use it at certain times.

Jay highlighted GeoGebras distinguished features and made comparisons between

GSP and GeoGebra. He argues that:

GeoGebra has buttons that you can basically do the same thing apart from the

conic section. GSP is not good at that, as it does not have this function. In fact, it

does not have much about circles, only a few of them. On top of that, there are

parts like tangent lines, etc. that GSP does not have. GeoGebra, in contrast, is

very good at them, which make it very convenient for users. For instance, if you

use GSP to make tangent lines, it is very difficult as you need to calculate it

yourself at times.

However, he pointed out two weaknesses of GeoGebra: - the lack of the animation

button and iteration capability. Apart from these two parts, he thought GeoGebra

provides much better capabilities than GSP for mathematics teaching: The algebra

window and command line, especially the command line and the bottom part with

equation input. These are where GSP cannot even compare. It does not even have

these. He mentioned that his school purchased Cabri but he dismissed it due to its

lack of command line and algebraic window.

36

There are different modes where Jay specifically used GeoGebra. He stated:

I mainly use GeoGebra as a tool for teaching and researching I use it as a

checking toolto test and verify thinking, or sometimes, when it is

inconvenient to draw graphs on the blackboard, I use it as a demonstration tool to

emphasise their impression.

He mostly used GeoGebra to teach Cartesian coordinate systems. Occasionally, Jay

used GeoGebra for preparation, investigation or classroom practice. He said:

demonstrate conic sections, it is very inconvenient to draw by hand.

Consequently, I use the software; enter equations, the graph shows up. You dont

need to draw for a long time and students think that is very cool.

He demonstrated examples of his strategies in operating GeoGebra with one of them

about the trace (Fig.4.1 and Appendix VII for step-by-step constructions).

37

He illustrated that:

We often see this kind of exercise in textbooks: one point moving on the edge of

a circle, if we take the perpendicular bisector of the segment to find the

intersection of another segment. We ask students what the trace of that

intersection is. Very often, students are dumbfounded after this long description.

If you draw the graph, they can visualise it so they can feel it... It really moves

along with a trace of an ellipse. At the least you can use it as a demonstration

tool.

His skilfulness at geometrical constructions and algebraic calculations are apparent,

however, he only used GeoGebra for presentational purposes which are strongly

bounded to textbooks. This limited inclusion of the software does not engage students

to its full potential.

The salient categories emerged from the data are listed as follows:

Tool use

checking, test and verify, teaching and research

Mathematics topics

Teaching style

Textbook-oriented

Infrastructure

4.2.2 Li

Background

Li has thirteen years of teaching experience at the upper-secondary level (Year 10-12

equivalence) in Taiwan. Since his first degree was in applied mathematics, he gained

an interest in IT during his undergraduate study. He was enthusiastic about new

technologies and volunteered to translate the Traditional Chinese version of

GeoGebra. Moreover, he had been creative in using different software packages, free

software in particular, and trying to use a combination of different open-source

software to make teaching materials. He has written some journal articles comparing

new, free software packages detailing how they might be incorporated into

mathematics teaching for Taiwanese teachers. He maintains the school mathematics

website which includes GeoGebra related teaching and problem-solving materials. In

addition, he proposed and conducted GeoGebra training courses and workshops in

38

senior high schools in Taipei. He had also set up his website and uploaded his up-todate GeoGebra materials and step-by-step tutorial materials for students or teachers.

Li had a similar opinion to Jay on students and teachers attitudes towards the use of

computers. He said:

I do not think the use of computers raised students motivation, because since

they were young, they perceived computers as a tool for entertainment. When

they discovered you can actually use computers for mathematics, they think it is

interesting but it still can not motivate them to learn mathematics with computers.

He also added that, Generally, people are afraid of using computers in teaching

mathematics because it feels different from using Microsoft Office on the computer

Consistent with Jays comment he also mentioned students passive attitudes about

technology in learning:

when you are demonstrating mathematics on the computer to students, some

of them at the back of the classroom might fall asleep if they are not interested.

They do feel that using computers is interesting but if you want them to use or

design with it, it is impossible. Using computers to them is for entertainment,

such as surfing the Internet, chatting, and playing computer games. Now some

students in my class can be called - kidnapped by the computer. They are

addicted to it.

Despite knowing how students and teachers feel about the software, he feels proud of

his achievements in developing and translating GeoGebra not to mention creating

related Traditional Chinese websites and GeoGebra teaching materials. His

enthusiasm for using GeoGebra when teaching mathematics was bountiful. He

insisted that: you can use GeoGebra to teach almost all topics. It is brilliant!

GeoGebra evaluation

Li had published one journal article about the comparisons between GSP and

GeoGebra. Four areas of differences between them were found: price, speed, Java10

10

One programming language- Java technologies are made available most as free software under

General Public Liscense.

39

GeoGebra is free, its potential to have a great impact on mathematics education could

be all-pervading. In terms of speed, since GeoGebra has algebraic capabilities, some

graphs made by GSP could take more than ten steps, whereas in GeoGebra equations

are simply keyed in and the enter key pressed to form them. Furthermore, since

GeoGebra was written in Java language, it inherited the advantages of Java in terms

of multi-language, multi-platform and the support for Latex language. In his view, it

could be a great choice for mathematicians to discuss mathematical problems over the

GeoGebra websites such as user forums. This would serve as an international

community within which everyone could benefit from support of others.

highlighted one weakness of GeoGebra: In the Grade II (Year 11 equivalent), there

are topics like vectors in the space. It is trickier when it is in the 3D. Therefore, he

chose to use SketchUp for the three dimensional topics instead.

Li has used GeoGebra for one and a half years trying many different ways of using it.

He is positive that exploiting GeoGebra can change students attitude towards

mathematics learning. Some of his designed teaching materials and tutoring examples

of using GeoGebra in solving examination problems were displayed on the websites.

He also encouraged students to use the websites for reference and discussion. His

ideal teaching environment would incorporate technology and GeoGebra, he said:

I would bring them [the students] to the IT room and introduce them to the

GeoGebra websiteI would also use projectors and computers in the

classroom. I would show them how to use it and tell them about my website I

mainly want students to use the website for reference and hope they will go

home and visit it. Then they can make the connection between graphs and the

contents in textbooks.

When talking about the content and topics, he stated:

11

40

calculation and graphs. Actually both, it really depends as these two parts have

very close relationships As for our curriculum, it doesnt separate geometry

and algebra in a clear and detailed way. When teaching functions we link the

concepts to graphs because we have to follow the curriculum. In the textbooks,

they always link geometry and algebra together.

This could account for his view on GeoGebra linking geometry and algebra as

Taiwanese curriculum does not necessarily separate them.

stress on examination exercises and problem-solving as well as proofs of theorems

(Appendix VIII). He occasionally took students to the IT room where they went

through revision for examinations. One of these lessons was observed. He preprepared a worksheet (Appendix IX) for students to investigate graphs of linear

function, quadratic functions, trigonometry, exponential functions, and logarithmic

function. He mediated GeoGebra for demonstration first, and then guided students to

interact with it and investigate properties of the function family.

One example that he created with GeoGebra where he used the slider to show the

changes of graphs of exponential functions is shown (Fig. 4.2). This example

indicates the changes in the graphs in relation to the base number a of y= a 2. His

scenario was initially a presentation followed by a pre-prepared sheet guiding students

to investigate by typing in different equations or moving sliders to observe the

changes in the graphs. It could be argued that he orchestrated interaction between the

students, mathematics and software; however, this didactic way of supporting

students revision provides less freedom for students to explore themselves.

The salient categories emerged from the data are listed as follows:

Tool use

Graphing,

calculations,

demonstration,

problem-solving,

Mathematics topics

Teaching style

Curriculum-based, textbook-oriented and exam-driven, selfdeveloped teaching materials and website with GeoGebra

Infrastructure

41

(1) The graph of y= a 2 when a <1, (a is at the left side of the slider)

(2) The graph of y= a 2 when a =1 (the point on the slider was moved to the right)

(3) The graph of y= a 2 when a >1 (the point moved to the right)

Figure 4.2: One example of Lis exponential function constructs with GeoGebra

42

4.2.3 Richard

Background

Richard has taught secondary and A-level mathematics for twelve years in England.

He is skilled in computer programming and is in charge of the school mathematics

website where a combination of GeoGebra, Yacas 12 and JavaScript 13 are used for

developing online mathematics materials and tests. He designed a piece of DGS and

used it to teach before starting to use GeoGebra. Previously, he was working as a

software developer and cooperated with the NCETM GeoGebra project.

convinced that GeoGebra links geometry and algebra but then stated that: it does the

connection between algebra and geometry much better than other programmes anywhere you can enter a number you can also enter a formula.

He asserted that GeoGebra had changed the way he taught as he had been taking

students to IT rooms more often and some students liked the revision with GeoGebra

as it sped up some processes of preparation for examinations and for accuracy. He

added that some students, however, preferred printed-out sheets with longer questions

as in examinations they had to use paper-and-pencil.

combination of GeoGebra and JavaScript to create online materials, he stated: I think

because of the interface of JavaScript, you can display anything you want. You can do

anything you want to. You really CAN do anything! He stressed the fact that you

can animate any variable by turning it into a slider is a very powerful feature.

12

13

A programming language that controls a software application

43

Nevertheless, he also pointed out that GeoGebra is a tool that like any other tool can

be used badly or well.

GeoGebra evaluation

GeoGebra and compared it to GSP:

The fact that it is free that students can use it at home, the fact that it is Java

that you can use in any platform and with JavaScript you can control and put it in

the webpage. For me, that is tremendously usefulIt is specialised, not many

people can write with JavaScript Geometers Sketchpad, I dont like how it

looks, I dont like its interface. So GeoGebra looks nice and the interface is easy

to use.

He picked out that GeoGebra was good for teaching gradients of a curve, both for

the concept and the proof. However, he pointed out one weakness of GeoGebra was

that the fractions could not be typed in.

With respect to pedagogical practices, Richard discussed two ways in which he used

GeoGebra to teach. Firstly, he used it for demonstration in the classroom due to the

fact that it does the questions quickly. It is quite easy if I want to demonstrate on the

board. His way of using GeoGebra in the classroom followed an orderly sequence of

using paper-and-pencil first, and then demonstrating graphs using GeoGebra. He

taught topics with linkage to graphs such as transformations in a different order as he

explained: possibly because it takes a long time to draw the graphs.

Transformations, this is what I might get student to the IT room first in the future.

Richards second way of using GeoGebra was taking students to the IT room to work

on activities or revision. However, he attempted this less frequently than in

classrooms as he believed that students should learn in a paper-and-pencil

environment initially as: in the exam theyve got to use paper-and-pencil. I think if I

do everything on the computer. Theyre probably not gonna do well. Theyll get

bored. I do it with Year 11 for one lesson every fortnight. I think thats been about

44

right. He described the ways in which IT lessons were carried out: I take the class

into the IT room I tend to do two activities in a lesson. I set up a combination

system. The good students you get them to move on to different activities.

A few examples of online lessons are presented in the following figures. He set up

tests (Fig. 4.3) for pupils on his school website in which he used GeoGebra and Java.

The example shown in the figure 4.3 is used for testing students understanding of

transformations of equations and their graphs.

Figure 4.3: One example of school mathematics website on the topic: transformations

The example in the figure 4.4 is a designed activity on Richards school website for

students to drag the points interactively and discover that angles in the same segment

within a circle are the same.

45

Figure 4.4: One example of school mathematics website on the topic: angles in the

same segment

Richard demonstrated his idea of linking algebra and geometry with GeoGebra

(Fig.4.5). He plotted several points by using GeoGebra and the input sequence [(n,

4n-2), n, 1,100] followed by entering the equation y=4x-2 to show the link between

the algebraic and graphic representations.

Figure 4.5: One example of linking algebra and geometry with GeoGebra by Richard

46

The salient categories emerged from the data are listed as follows:

Tool use

activities, investigation with the slider

Mathematics topics

transformations

Teaching style

computer environments

Infrastructure

4.2.4 Tyler

Background

Tyler has taught mathematics to 11-16 year olds in a college for twelve years. He has

spent three days a week teaching at the school and one day a week teaching secondary

trainee mathematics teachers for PGCE 14 in a university. He has also acted as an

AST15 supporting schools and as a part-time school consultant, cooperated with the

NCETM GeoGebra project and hosted a GeoGebra training workshop at his college.

Tylers utterances reflected a view of GeoGebra as an environment for exploring

dynamic geometry rather than algebra. He viewed GeoGebra as a replacement to

Cabri, which he used before GeoGebra. However, he mentioned that his experience

with GeoGebra was approximately half a year, which meant that there were areas of

using GeoGebra that were under-explored and underdeveloped, such as using

GeoGebra in teaching algebra. He stated his expectation for GeoGebra development:

Its still very new. But its really exciting so far. Its going to be really, really

exciting to see how it develops and how we can develop using it.

14

15

Advanced Skills Teacher

47

terms of the IT rooms and school websites. He described his intention to change the

way his pupils work from being passive to actively involve in learning through

software. Getting pupils to work with mathematics in the IT room was difficult in his

experience. Moreover, he did not expect that students would not undertake much

thinking in the IT room. In addition, some school mathematics websites have

mathematics tests for pupils to log on to at home with their personal passwords which,

in his view, allowed no room for discussion and interaction. He pointed out that

GeoGebra is interactive and intuitive so he could set up diagrams and activities for

students to interact with easily: This is different. This is maths by interacting; this

is maths by trying things out, by conjecturing, by having a go.

teachers but also as an investigation tool for pupils.

GeoGebra evaluation

the font size, projection capability and the slider in which he considered GeoGebra

outperformed other DGS packages such as Cabri and GSP. He used Autograph in the

way he preferred to have pupils conjecture on topics related to trigonometry such as

sine waves. However, he specified that the bidirectional capability of GeoGebra in

linking algebra and graphs which can also be used by pupils to investigate at home

was superior to other software.

An enthusiasm for GeoGebra was apparent in Tylers strategies of using GeoGebra in

mathematics teaching. He systematically summarised three different ways in which he

considered GeoGebra could be used for teaching:

Demonstration

He thought potentially teachers could potentially use GeoGebra as a presentation tool

where there is only interaction between teachers and GeoGebra: One way is where I

48

demonstrate to the class.

Interaction

The second way was setting up some particular parts of mathematics for pupils to

work on and find out as a whole class activity in advance. At this stage pupils interact

with GeoGebra within the whole class. I set up particular GeoGebra files for them to

look at, to explore, to make changes to, and then for them to make hypotheses of

what might be happening.

He offered one example of pre-prepared files on the topic of transformation (Fig.4.6,

Appendix X) as a whole class teaching activity. He demonstrated how he would use

this activity while teaching enlargement:

We can spend a proper amount of time talking about what happens if I move this

to the left. And only at the very end of that discussion, do we then actually do

it then wonderfully pupils want to know: can you make it a decimal? Thats

how they call it, what happens if I make this point to the centre? Can you make it

negative? What happens if thats a zero? There are very nice things you can do

with this.

From this example, his ways of questioning to provoke students thinking along with

the designed activity revealed that the whole class activity worked under teacher

demonstration and interaction.

(1)

Enlargement with a=2.4 (a>1), the transformed triangle on the left became

bigger

49

(2) Enlargement with a=0.3 (a<1), the transformed triangle on the right became

smaller

(3) Enlargement with a=- 0.7 (a<0), the transformed triangle on the right became

smaller and inverted

Investigation

The third way of using GeoGebra was conceived to be an ideal state where pupils

investigate their mathematical ideas with GeoGebra by making conjectures and

testing them out. He exemplified his experience of using GeoGebra this way:

50

Its in the IT room that children use GeoGebra for themselves. There they work

in pairs, they discuss what they are doing, and they are encouraged to have ideas

and test those ideas out they started to create things. Some of them started

with a blank sheet and they wanted to us, maybe, the reflection and they

wanted to do reflections to make their own pictures and interact.

Overall, Tyler was reflective and explorative about different practices with GeoGebra,

and eager to find out possible areas where GeoGebra could be useful in mathematics

teaching. He also drew a distinction between knowing how to use it and getting

used to using it in relation with GeoGebra. This inferred that he acknowledged the

differences between using GeoGebra and teaching with the use of GeoGebra.

The salient categories emerged from the data are listed as follows:

Tool use

hypothesis, creation, projection capability and the slider

Mathematics topics

Teaching style

Infrastructure

Markus created GeoGebra during his Masters study in Computer Science and

Mathematics Education and finished the first prototype in March 2002. He received

the European Academic Software Award 2002 while he was teaching in a high school

in Austria. His PhD was funded for GeoGebra development and he now works as a

visiting professor in Florida. When talking about how GeoGebra could be used by

teachers, he said:

I think there is a huge variety in how teachers use it. This depends a lot on the

teachers background. Both their background in mathematics, mathematics

content knowledge and of course also how much they have been doing in

technology before.

51

concluded there are four different stages that teachers possibly go through from

learning to use GeoGebra to teaching mathematics with GeoGebra:

Stage 1: teachers have to get comfortable with the software alone at home, using

the software to create nice pictures for tests;

Stage 2: teachers use GeoGebra as a presentation tool;

Stage 3: teachers do construction on the fly. They use GeoGebra to visualise

what has been discussedAnd then the way to get students interact a little bit

more would be to let them present. So students do some kind of exercise and

GeoGebra can be used as a checking tool. Then students walk out to the

teachers computer. They type in what they think is the answer and show it to the

class and we compare different answers. GeoGebra can just be used to present by

students as well;

Stage 4: teachers can ask much more open questions. Students can play with

GeoGebra to come up with conjectures. So not just checking the conjecture but

also developing the conjectures. That is what I really want to see.

During the discussion about whether teachers would use GeoGebra to teach geometry

or algebra, he clarified: Basically, lower grades can use it for geometrical

constructions and higher grades for families of functions with the sliders and basic

calculus like derivatives.

When talking about what had been missing in the status quo, he mentioned that there

was not enough training and support for teachers new to technology as well as limited

research on the impact of GeoGebra for teaching and learning of mathematics.

Peter has been teaching mathematics in a university and masters course for higher

ability students (Year 10-12) for eight years in England. He taught with GeoGebra at

university and upper-secondary levels. He emphasised that: the simplicity and ease of

use and the ability to go between algebra and graphics and again contribute to

factor, make GeoGebra an effective tool.

Peter used GeoGebra mostly for showing diagrams and suggested that:

52

You can pre-prepare things and then they look great, but I think it is useful to go

through the construction, I think it is crucial to go through the construction stepby-step in front of them so that they can understand.

Since he warmed to GeoGebra he found it useful and effective for illustrating

graphical part as he could show proper graphs briefly and quickly when students have

questions. I would say GeoGebra has changed the way I teach. I am incredibly into

this. GeoGebra certainly makes things, some things, easier and that has benefits

Some extracted findings from each case were collected in the within-case analysis. By

following the constant comparative method (Glaser and Strauss, 1967), several

categories emerged from the data when comparing incidents applicable to each

category. The classification involved subdividing the data as well as assigning the

data into as many categories as possible that fitted an existing category. For example,

the category of teachers conceptions and uses of GeoGebra as an educational tool

emerged quickly from comparisons of the teachers responses to the ways in which

they viewed and used GeoGebra as a tool for a variety of purposes.

Categories appeared when comparing the interview data across the cases. In relation

to environments within which teachers use GeoGebra, infrastructural change of IT

facilities and settings seemed to be one of the major concerns. With regard to

teachers behavioural change, two aspects, teachers mathematical and IT

background and the transition that they experienced through using GeoGebra, were

scrutinised. The third category is the way they viewed GeoGebra as an educational

tool. The fourth main category- mathematical topics had been targeted for different

levels of mathematics. Out of those categories, some sub-categories emerged, which

will be discussed in the following analysis.

After splitting categories into sub-categories, I followed Deys (1993: 139) strategy

for splicing categories: when we splice categories, we join them by interweaving the

53

different strands in our analysis. This is for the purpose of integrating categories and

their properties. Following the sequence of splitting, splicing categories and linking

the data, a framework for analysing cross-cases was then identified. In the final stage,

there are four main categories (Appendix XI) in relation to the use of GeoGebra

integrated:

(a) the ways in which teachers view and use GeoGebra as an educational tool

(b) the transition that teachers experience when they go through different stages

from learning GeoGebra to teaching with the use of GeoGebra

(c) the mathematical topics that teachers choose for teaching aided by GeoGebra

(d) the infrastructural change of technology environment under which teachers

work in relation to their practices of GeoGebra

These four dimensions are used to examine the differences and similarities among

these four cases in the following.

The case studies show that, besides differences in teachers views on and methods of

using GeoGebra, they all referred to GeoGebra as an educational tool. Two

possibilities of GeoGebra as an educational tool are that teachers might view it as a

tool or use it as a tool in their classroom practices. As a consequence, this dimension

overlaps two themes- views on and uses of GeoGebra. Applying comparative analysis

cross the cases and themes, GeoGebra can be identified as an educational tool for:

54

Jay viewed GeoGebra as a tool for research, checking, calculation, teaching and

demonstration and used it mainly for presentation in the classroom. He mentioned that

GeoGebra was a resurrection tool that activated and visualised some mathematical

concepts in textbooks. He also stressed his position of viewing GeoGebra merely as a

tool which was useful and convenient. After one year of using GeoGebra, he had not

changed the way he viewed it as an additional tool for speeding up teaching processes.

He did not give students guidance to learn or to engage with GeoGebra. Jays limited

ways of using GeoGebra could be the result of his conceptions that its effectiveness

was low and that not many teachers would use it or students find it a useful tool.

teaching materials, editing online tutoring worksheets for problem-solving,

conjectures, geometrical proof of theorems, students reference after school and

revision for examinations. This is likely to reflect his high level of enthusiasm and

confidence in GeoGebra. Moreover, his extensive production of GeoGebra

applications could be inferred from his profound mathematics content knowledge.

However, a lack of pedagogy in teaching with GeoGebra seemed apparent. During

observation of a lesson in the IT room, he used GeoGebra as a revision tool. Students

followed his pre-prepared worksheet step-by-step to observe how graphs change when

different functions were typed in. It seemed that students simply acted according to

the required task and did not engage in actively thinking about the task. Therefore,

this is understandable that students might unlikely to be inspired or motivated by

learning through GeoGebra. This view of missing appropriate pedagogy was also

indicated in his aspiration to raise students motivation to learn by using GeoGebrahe uttered: I hope to use GeoGebra to move students hearts and grasp them back.

Although Lis self belief that his design work with GeoGebra might persuade students

to engage more fully with mathematics, the unappreciative reaction of his students to

his efforts indicate otherwise. This has prompted him to improve the situation.

Richard regarded GeoGebra as a tool for a variety of practices, even for different

subject areas such as physics. He asserted that you really can do anything with

GeoGebra, such as designing tests or tasks on school websites. Nevertheless, his main

use for it was as a presentation device in the classroom and a tool for revision for

examinations in the IT room. His enjoyment of mathematics was derived from

55

combining different software packages for producing online tests for students to

practice at home. One limitation of his use of GeoGebra stemmed from the fact that

most of the material he designed only required yes or no answer. Additional

explanation or help was not offered if students answered questions incorrectly. His

intention was to help students learn through these online tests, IT room activities,

classroom tasks and demonstration. Arguably, these activities might assist students

with procedural understandings rather than conceptual ones.

Tyler did not appear to consider GeoGebra as a tool but rather as an environment for

exploring mathematics. However, he stated that he would use GeoGebra as a

presentation tool in the classrooms but preferred students to use it as a tool for

working on tasks, investigation and testing conjectures. He was aware students simply

observing teachers present work with the software hinders their interactive

participation and is different from doing the work themselves. Therefore, he claimed

that GeoGebra is most useful when students actually experiment and investigate with

it. He viewed GeoGebra as an educational tool, not only for teachers but also for

students.

Comparing the four teachers behaviours with GeoGebra, Richard and Li approached

GeoGebra in a similar fashion although they are from different countries. They both

had a combination system of working with GeoGebra, creating their own teaching

materials and websites as well as providing revision section for students examination

preparation. However, Jay and Tyler both approached GeoGebra differently. Jay was

more demonstration-oriented which indicated that his teaching practice was consistent

with his conceptions of GeoGebra being software for visualising mathematics. Tylers

practice was student interaction-based which might be in relation to his conceptions of

GeoGebra being interactive.

Teachers might experience changes in their manipulation of GeoGebra providing

more time and exploration. According to the interview with Markus, he thought that

56

teachers seem to go through phases and changes from starting to learn GeoGebra to

teaching utilising GeoGebra. These four stages are:

(a) Preparation- teachers begin with basic constructs, such as making triangles,

circles and graphs of equations. They create diagrams for preparation of

arranged lessons and generate printed worksheets or test sheets.

(b) Presentation- teachers start using GeoGebra in the classroom for demonstration,

either displaying pre-prepared files or constructing graphs step-by-step in front

of students.

(c) Interaction- teachers design whole class activities and encourage interactions

between students and GeoGebra.

(d) Investigation- teachers ask open questions and students work in pairs to

investigate their mathematical ideas, conjectures with GeoGebra.

Given this framework for examining teacher transition, I determined that Jay was the

only one who stayed at the presentation stage; Li and Richard seemed to move on to

the interaction stage whilst Tyler had proceeded to the investigation stage as a result

of his personal expertise as an AST. However, I could argue that these teachers are

not teachers who are new to using technology: some might have experiences using

other software in the past, particularly similar DGS packages. Therefore, they did not

necessarily need to go through the first stage. For instance, Jay had experience using

GSP during the past twenty years and he started GeoGebra straight into the second

stage without changing for years. His perception of the uses of GeoGebra was limited

and possibly so were his intentions of exploring different uses of mathematical

software. Consequently, there are probably teachers who stay at one stage, never

moving forward.

The data suggested that teachers can be categorised into three types: unskilled

teachers who have never used technology in teaching, technology-skilled teachers and

GeoGebra advanced skills teachers. Some teachers who are not used to technology

can download GeoGebra online materials or worksheets for their classroom practices.

They could be at the pre-stage phase where they might simply want to use it for

demonstrations and are unwilling to learn more advanced mechanisms of the software.

Teachers who are skilful using technology are possibly the ones who progress from

57

stage to stage. Advanced skills teachers use GeoGebra across all stages as a network.

They change their plans adapting to different topics or student abilities and employ

GeoGebra for preparation of lessons to encourage interaction with students,

preparation for presentation on particular topics or preparation of activities for student

investigation. Given more time and experiences of teaching with GeoGebra, a

combination of all stages is exploited.

The mathematical topics that GeoGebra supports in terms of my research focus can be

categorised as algebraic topics, geometric topics or both algebraic and geometric

related topics. The differences and commonalities of the four teachers choices of

mathematical topics using GeoGebra are discussed.

Jay taught with GeoGebra mainly on topics related to coordinate systems, which is a

possible subcategory of both algebra and geometry. Li listed all topics16 related to a

wide range of mathematics areas apart from 3D topics which can also be set to both

algebra and geometry. Both Taiwanese teachers viewed algebra and geometry as two

sides of a coin that should not be separate. Li pointed out that there were no particular

separation in the curriculum, therefore, they both sometimes taught algebra and

geometry at the same time which seems to be the reason why they used GeoGebra to

teach both algebraic and geometric related topics.

In contrast, Tyler and Richard used GeoGebra mainly for geometric topics possibly in

consequence of their perception that GeoGebra is a DGS. They expressed that they

would not want to use GeoGebra for all topics as there are certain topics that are not

appropriate for incorporating technology. Therefore, they preferred to find out what

topics GeoGebra is appropriate for then use it for those specific topics. For example,

Tyler had shorter period of time exploiting GeoGebra and was interested in exploring

16

Cartesian coordinate systems, linear equations, graphs of polynomial functions, quadratic functions

followed by higher order functions, exponential functions, logarithmic functions and trigonometry,

circles and balls- the equations of circles and conic sections- parabolas, ellipses and hyperbolas.

Furthermore, there are topics related to pre-calculus such as differentiation and integration involving

rectangles, upper sum and lower sum and tangent and inequality and symmetric graphs.

58

GeoGebra for topics related to algebra. According to the interviews, both Richard and

Tyler chose to use different software for algebraic topics as they did not seem to be

convinced by the algebraic capability of GeoGebra. The difference between

Taiwanese and English teachers choices of topics might be due to discrepancies in

the structure of mathematics curricula and their perceptions of GeoGebra.

According to the teacher evaluation of GeoGebra and other software, most of them

regarded GeoGebra as a replacement to GSP and Cabri. However, GeoGebra could

not work with particular topics such as 3D topics for Taiwanese teachers. Jay chose to

use Archimedes 3D 17 whilst Li chose SketchUp for the 3D related topics. Richard

designed online materials with Yacas and JavaScript for algebraic topics whilst Tyler

used Autograph for teaching topics related to functions. When the weaknesses of

GeoGebra capability were discovered all teachers were proficient in embracing other

software packages for their chosen topics.

The infrastructure of the educational environment is closely related to the ways

GeoGebra can be used. Since GeoGebra is open-source software, one advantage

offered by it is that both teachers and students have options to use it at school and at

home. Teachers can use GeoGebra at home for either research or preparation for

mathematics teaching materials whilst students can do coursework with it at home.

According to the interviews, some of the teachers encouraged students to go on

GeoGebra-related websites to practice mathematics exercises at home. Most teachers

used GeoGebra to demonstrate mathematical objects or visualise mathematics in their

classrooms using a laptop or a computer connected to a projector. Some of them

brought students to the IT room and a few prepared laptops in the classroom for

students to investigate. There are therefore three different environments that teachers

used GeoGebra at home for research or preparation, in classrooms for

demonstration or student interaction and in IT rooms for activities, revision or student

investigation.

17

59

presentation of mathematical work in classrooms. Before teaching, both of them used

GeoGebra at home, however, Jay would use it for research and making teaching

portfolios whereas Li used it for making GeoGebra worksheets, online tutorial

materials and examination sheets as well as teaching preparation. During teaching,

Jay used GeoGebra solely for demonstration in classrooms where he brought a laptop

and showed graph works to the class whenever needed. Li would not use GeoGebra

in classrooms but in IT rooms for demonstration and revision.

Richard and Tyler worked with GeoGebra in different ways. Richard used it at home

for designing mathematical tasks and tests on the school website, whereas Tyler set up

activities for presentation at home and student investigation in IT rooms. Richard

mainly used it for demonstration in classrooms and revision in IT rooms. Tyler used it

for activities in classrooms and tasks for students to investigate in IT rooms where

they work in pairs, making conjectures and testing their mathematical ideas out.

Comparing these four cases, the English teachers taught both in classrooms and IT

rooms whilst the Taiwanese teachers chose one environment instead of switching

between classrooms and IT rooms.

Most teachers expressed that there was a certain degree of difficulty in approaching

appropriate IT facilities as the time spent on setting up laptops and projectors or

getting students in IT rooms and logging on to the computers could take up to 20

minutes in one lesson. In addition, there were distractions when computers were

available as students occasionally attempted to check emails, surf the web, or listen to

music. These factors could contribute to their frustrations towards implementing

GeoGebra.

Compared with English teachers, Taiwanese teachers held more negative attitudes

with respect to infrastructure of technology and therefore it influenced their ways of

using GeoGebra. This is not only because it is more time-consuming but also due to

students passive response to technology. For example, Jay stated that, I dont dare to

say that it enhances students motivation in learning. In fact, I dont even put the idea

in my head. Because learning in the field of mathematics, is considered a hard subject,

60

students need very strong motivation if they are willing to learn or they are interested

in logical thinking.

There are several areas with respect to the use of GeoGebra in Taiwan which are

different from England. However, ascertaining the commonalities and differences of

the use of GeoGebra between Taiwan and England is not particularly easy as cultural

influence is a complex issue. In addition, the presentation of four cases cannot offer a

broad understanding or generalisation of what is happening in both countries. What

this study offers is an exploration into teachers commonalities and discrepancies in

using GeoGebra in England as compared to their Taiwanese counterparts according to

their personal characteristics, conceptions and practices.

By adopting Kaiser et al. (2005)s framework for analysing mathematics education in

Eastern and Western traditions, teachers conceptions of mathematics and their

practices in relation with GeoGebra and cultural influences are chosen for crosscultural comparison. In an attempt to identify what is universal and what is context

bound (Osborn et al., 2000), this study would help understand the role played by

cultural context and the ways in which teachers use GeoGebra with different forms of

pedagogy as Taiwan and England have contrasting values.

Responding to what is context bound, there are three aspects generated from the data

that could be seen as significantly different between the cultures in England and

Taiwan. Firstly, teachers attitudes towards technology in both countries varied. The

participating Taiwanese teachers held negative conceptions of technology use for

teaching practices, whereas the English teachers were positive about it not only

because they were confident and comfortable about using technology but also because

students seemed to have a higher level of acceptance. Secondly, the Taiwanese

teachers experienced greater difficulties pertaining to infrastructure as the classroom

settings were not particularly designed for technology use in Taiwan whilst the

English classroom settings implemented interactive whiteboards and projectors which

offered convenience for teachers.

61

based teaching strategy and mostly related GeoGebra exercises to textbooks; therefore,

GeoGebra was used specifically for assistance of visualisation of textbooks examples.

Again, the English teachers appeared to be more creative and flexible in choosing

their teaching methods. As the Taiwanese educational system has an examinationdriven culture, there are several areas being used extensively such as problem solving

for university entrance examinations and proof of theorems as well as revision for

examination preparation. In contrast with Taiwan, the English educational system has

a focus on individual learning, therefore, there seemed to be an emphasis on students

individual investigation and interaction with GeoGebra. Identifying what is

universal cross cases, one noticeable commonality is that all teachers conceived

GeoGebra as a useful tool for mathematics teaching practices.

4.6 Summary

Teachers practical elaboration of GeoGebra can be seen as interrelated within the

four dimensions. The infrastructure of technology has a great impact on the ways in

which teachers regard GeoGebra as an educational tool since if technology facilities

are not available or advanced, it would definitely influence the way teachers use the

software. Given technology provision, teachers mathematical content knowledge and

conceptions may affect their mathematical scope utilising GeoGebra. Certainly,

provided there is sufficient support for the use of GeoGebra, teachers might start

experiencing changes in their behaviour with GeoGebra. This teacher transition will

move them from beginners to advanced users of GeoGebra as well as help them

develop their pedagogical practices in teaching practices.

In spite of these common dimensions between Taiwan and England, there are

substantial discrepancies in technological artefacts and adaptation of curricular

resources which underpin English and Taiwanese teachers decisions and practices

with GeoGebra applications. These significant differences could be explained by the

two opposing Eastern and Western cultural traditions.

62

CHAPTER 5

5.1 Introduction

In this chapter, I summarise the findings and elaborate on their contribution to current

thinking. I discuss firstly the findings in relation to the research questions and

literature. Secondly, I offer my reflections on my role as a researcher and thirdly, I

consider the implications of the study in connection with the reviewed literature.

Finally, I suggest areas for further research and introduce my proposed future study.

5.2 Findings

I begin this study with, in essence, three research questions. Firstly, I investigated

teachers conceptions regarding technology and GeoGebra in Taiwan and England.

Secondly, I set out to see the manners in which GeoGebra is used for the teaching of

algebra and geometry. Thirdly, I intended to understand whether or not their

conceptions are related to their practices with GeoGebra in both countries.

The purpose of this study is neither to draw generalisations nor to criticise or rank the

teachers but rather to explore the relationship between their conceptions and practices

regarding GeoGebra in order to make suggestions for improvement. Analysing the

data thematically across the case studies revealed four salient dimensions in relation

to GeoGebra-assisted teaching: educational tools, teacher transition, mathematical

scope and infrastructural change.

The findings are introduced in the following, which indicate that understanding the

linkage between teachers conceptions and practices is crucial. Firstly, the teachers

63

effectiveness and infrastructure of technology. The English teachers imbued a more

positive attitude towards technology than their Taiwanese counterparts. However,

teachers in both countries expressed favourable opinions regarding GeoGebras

agreeable contribution to their teaching.

and interaction of mathematical topics, whereas for algebraic topics it was rarely

utilised in England. It appeared that the English teachers associated GeoGebra

primarily with geometric topics. Conversely, Taiwanese teachers worked with

GeoGebra on both geometric and algebraic topics as they did not consider algebra and

geometry to be necessarily separate; possibly as a result of the structure of Taiwanese

curriculum and textbook-oriented culture.

Thirdly, there were three different environments where teachers engaged with

GeoGebra: - preparation of teaching materials at home, presentation and interaction in

classrooms and activities for pupil investigation in IT rooms. Teacher transitions

evolved from and were influenced by the infrastructure as they moved from

preparation to presentation, incorporating interaction with pupils and finally

encouraging investigation.

a network of preparation, presentation, interaction and investigation whereby teachers

mediate their practices with flexibility. Based on the findings above, I present the

general schema of this thesis (Fig. 5.1). Arguably, there is a conceptual change in

accordance with infrastructural change when technology is introduced in

mathematics teaching. Teachers are the first to encounter this re-conceptualisation of

pedagogical practices. They not only experience changes in their conceptions but also

modification of their practices when they experience the transition. This transition

would possibly alter teachers choices of the mathematical scope and their uses of

GeoGebra as an educational tool in light of their new pedagogical practices.

64

Infrastructural change

Re-conceptualisation

Teacher transition

Conceptions

Implementation

of GeoGebra

+

Mathematical scope

New pedagogical

practices

Practices

Educational tool

Figure 5.1: The general schema of teachers conceptions and practices integrating

GeoGebra

5.3 Discussion

A number of studies have highlighted significant policy-rooted pressure on and

academic support for English teachers integration of technology into classroom

practice (e.g. Sutherland et al., 2004; Hennessy et al., 2005; Hayes 2007). It is

possible that this may explain why Richard and Tyler appeared positive about

technology. They seemed confident and skilful exploiting GeoGebra and this might

due to their enthusiasm for it. In Taiwan, on the other hand, educational policies

expect little by technology use with the consequence that, perhaps, study teachers

often felt unsupported in terms of infrastructure and pedagogical support. Inevitably,

organisational and pedagogical challenges of technology integration are clearly major

issues in both countries. Ruthvens (2008b) exposition regarding the limited success

of the existing policies and provisions of technology is supported by my findings. His

proposed three dimensions of the incorporation of new technologies into mathematics

educational practices in terms of interpretative flexibility18, instrumental evolution19

18

Varied conceptions of technologys functionalities and modalities of use, discussed in Chapter 2.3.

19 The instrumental evolution of scenarios is categories as four types: a convenient parallel to paperand-pencil, invariant properties through visual salience under dragging, new types of solution to

familiar problems and posing novel forms of problem.

65

flexibility and instrumental evolution, I spotted the evolution of teachers material

design and their propagation as a finished product and appropriation as a practical tool

from teacher transition. Evidently, Taiwanese mathematics curriculum needs further

institutional adoption of new technologies.

However, I argue that the practical theory21 proposed by Deaney et al. (2006) is too

idealistic in its claims as I perceived limited evidence in this study that support the

contribution of technology in terms of improving pupil motivation towards lessons.

Prominently, the Taiwanese teachers were against the idea that technology could

improve students motivation and this may be due to the cultural differences in their

conceptions of technology in mathematics teaching.

capability of GeoGebra as a key feature. Bidirectional interaction not only includes

the drag mode but also the inverse way of changeability in the algebraic window,

which is an improvement over DGS. DGS has been used for supporting the

development of geometrical concepts and Euclidean geometry in particular. This is

characterised by the drag mode- a dynamic modelling of the traditional paper-andpencil environment which allows interaction and becomes a progressively more

central salient feature in the design of DGS (Kokol-voljc, 2003; Olivero and Robutti,

2007; Ruthven et al., 2008). It is evident that GeoGebra was valued as an advanced

DGS.

achievement which is not only acknowledged by Hohenwarter but is also supported

by this study. The data analysis indicates that some teachers did not appear to be

aware of or intend to include CAS in their teaching practices. Owing to different

contents and levels of curricula, CAS can be seen as being more widely utilised at the

university level (Lavicza, 2007). Therefore, I argue that the implementation of CAS

20

The institutional adoption means that the official curriculum should show explicit recognition and

provide the instrumental genesis of manual tools.

21

Disscussed in Chapter 2.2.1, page 7.

66

GeoGebra in algebraic topics.

Consistent with the findings of Thompson (1984), this study ascertained that teacher

conceptions appear to play a significant role in affecting instructional decisions and

behaviour, although conceptions and practices are related in a complex way. For

instance, the Taiwanese teachers conceptions were related to their practices in a

contradictory manner as they were negative about general technology integration but

enthusiastic about using GeoGebra in mathematics teaching, while the English

teachers conceptions and practices were linked in a straightforward manner.

interact with teachers conceptions, decisions and behaviour. These could be, for

example, their choices of mathematical software and pedagogical issues linking

mathematical content knowledge and technology implementation. In accordance with

the study of Almas and Krumsvik (2008), for teachers who do not feel comfortable

with changes in classrooms, their teaching practices stay the same. This reflects one

of the reasons why the Taiwanese teacher Jay did not change his practice in years.

Furthermore, Almas and Krumsvik (2008) suggested that teachers are more likely to

develop a digital pedagogical content knowledge in technology-rich classrooms. This

can be evident by the English teachers willingness for pursuing pedagogical

development as they worked under better technology-assisted environments.

My experience of being a mathematics teacher helped me understand the cultural

context, educational system and curriculum structure in Taiwan. I felt confident and

comfortable speaking in my first language to the Taiwanese teachers who had similar

interests in the field of mathematics and technology. Fortunately, I have been

involved in the GeoGebra NCETM and IGI projects, workshops, seminars and

conferences, gaining insight into the workings of GeoGebra in England. Although I

interviewed the teachers with English as a second language, I would argue that I had

accumulated a degree of knowledge about mathematical practices during my previous

67

wholly an outsider. However, the roles I had experienced in Taiwan and England

were different and could have been differentiated from the role of a researcher. These

involvements might have biased the way I conducted the study, therefore, I have

striven to maintain the validity and reliability by data triangulation.

The studys limitations stemmed from the exploratory nature of my research- there are

difficulties in determining teachers practices using GeoGebra through interviews.

Interviews with teachers might not reveal a great detail about the existing relationship

between teaching and GeoGebra. Due to limitation of resources and time, the study

could not be as in-depth as hoped for. More time spent in conversation with

informants and increased observation of teaching would have been advantageous as it

would have allowed me to identify discrepancies between their conceptions and

practices more clearly. Language barriers and preconceptions of foreign researchers,

and social expectations could have influenced in probing and prompting during the

interviews. In addition, the Taiwanese teachers were given longer notice, thus, more

time for preparation might have affected the quality of the data. Consequently, the

data collected in England was less detailed compared to that collated in Taiwan.

published. Most teachers in both Taiwan and England were at the stage of learning

and exploring rather than having fully implemented GeoGebra into their classroom

practices. Any research has the potential for follow-up studies, where it would be

constructive to look in depth at teachers teaching practices in relation to students

mathematics learning processes using GeoGebra.

The research findings helped me gain a better understanding of teachers pioneering

use and extract the potentialities of GeoGebra elaboration in practice. I recommend

three areas that need further research- teacher pedagogical development with

GeoGebra, evaluation into GeoGebra integration in teaching practices and cultural

implications.

68

has become the next challenge of teachers practices. According to the findings,

teachers encountered difficulties in delivering mathematical knowledge through

GeoGebra. Thus, pedagogical issues of GeoGebra in teaching practices have become

apparent. Teaching practices of presentational skills such as step-by-step

constructions and ready-made demonstrations are also in need of examination. In

addition, there is also a demand for the development of pedagogical support in terms

of linking affordances of CAS and DGS.

The pedagogy of GeoGebra should not be limited for presentation, as using it beyond

demonstration contributes to exploring challenges and potentialities of GeoGebra

implementation. To mediate GeoGebra in an interactive environment, it is important

for students to follow the mathematics step-by-step processes slowly; learning to

engage and then achieve results, working alongside GeoGebra. Consequently, a

further recommended study investigating students coursework in making conjectures

and testing whilst proving their finding, would also be favourable.

academic objectives and individual student mathematics level of attainment and

achievement influence how teachers deliver their mathematics lessons using

GeoGebra.

Does

teachers

personal

preference

of

using

GeoGebra

for

teaching behaviours? What factors contribute to teachers creativity in presenting and

interacting mathematical ideas with GeoGebra? Do the educational implications of

GeoGebra being open-source software with the nature of internationally-shared

materials significantly contribute to factors?

Several features and functional tools of GeoGebra, such as hiding and then revealing

strategies, as well as the bidirectional interaction of the drag mode are incorporated as

a way of evaluating teachers effectiveness using the programme. Using a certain

criteria, teachers abilities to utilise GeoGebras capabilities can be monitored.

Hohenwarter and Preinder (2007) have developed a handbook containing professional

knowledge in using GeoGebra. The next stage is to ensure these guidelines are

69

classroom practices. With more direction regarding successful teacher practices with

GeoGebra, curriculum-focused mathematical topics could then be incorporated.

on teachers mediation of GeoGebra. Despite the highest student mathematics

performances internationally, are Taiwanese teachers applying their excellent

mathematics content knowledge to using GeoGebra to teach? The effectiveness of

Taiwanese teachers extensive applications of revision, problem-solving and

geometrical proofs to enhance learning needs examination.

improvement. It would be significant to compare the different ways Taiwanese and

English teachers benefit from GeoGebra and learn from each other. For example, the

study has indicated that the English teachers were likely to be more flexible and

creative with their engagement exploiting GeoGebra and the Taiwanese teachers were

skilful in implementing GeoGebra into examination and textbook to improve

students mathematical achievement. More research on cultural exchange of

GeoGebra implementation could benefit pedagogical development.

Within the recommended areas for further research, I would like to extend my future

work on the cross-cultural investigation of pedagogical application of GeoGebra in

relation to teaching practices. To research further, I propose to study how GeoGebra

support upper-secondary teachers teaching practices and explore the underlying

mathematics in depth and how these representations enhance students learning.

Answering these questions and achieving the stated objectives will contribute to the

growing development of GeoGebra usage in designing geometrical and algebraic

pedagogy that promotes mathematics learning.

70

The journey exploring teachers conceptions in relation to their use of GeoGebra has

been stimulating. I have come to acknowledge that GeoGebra could be used more

than as merely a tool, in line with Markuss expectation, Peters suggestion and

Tylers utterance- it can be an environment where teachers and students collaborate

for the creation of complete pieces of mathematical work. Implementing GeoGebra in

classroom practices effectively will result in a plethora of mathematical ideas,

thoughts, conjectures and investigation between teachers and students.

Despite the potentiality of GeoGebra, teachers have not fully discovered its capability

to link geometry and algebra but acknowledged that it offers pervading possibility in

teaching practices. As Markus Hohenwarter puts it, GeoGebra is free software

because I believe education should be free. This philosophy makes it easy to convince

teachers to give this tool a try, even if they havent used technology in their

classrooms before.

With the widespread idea of using open-source software, there is evidence showing

that GeoGebra is widely used across the world. However, research into its mainstream

use is still limited. I would like to conclude by highlighting the importance of

instrumental dimensions and the underlying mathematics within the use of GeoGebra

and the crucial role of interface features, the underlying mathematics and the

pedagogical possibilities of open-source software integration into teaching practices.

71

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APPENDICES:

Appendix I:

Interview Transcripts

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Interviewer (I): How many years have you been teaching?

Richard (R): Since 1996, 12 years

I: When did you know about GeoGebra?

R: Probably a year ago, not very long.

99

R: ummabout a year I started doing more intensively last year and I started doing

some development.

I: Are you the software developer or? I am wondering if you can do programming.

R: Its just my hobby really. I use a combination, mainly GeoGebra and everything

outside is Java Script.

I: Did you do your first degree in mathematics or?

R: Just mathematics. Just I mean here just saysthis just changes the points are at

different place andenlargement just different transformations.

I: Does it do enlargement automatically?

R: It randomly does enlargements, reflection, rotation

I: Do students have to try to get the answer or? Does it have the button shows that are

how you do it?

R: It could do. It could be quite of an enhancement.

I: But it is more interactive?

R: Yeah None of them got any teaching on it. Its for them that they can practice.

I: It is the school website so they can visit, play and practice?

R: I use it two ways; I take the classes into the IT room which probably 50 minutes

lessons. It takes about 10 minutes for pupils to log on, so that two loses about 20

minutes. So I tend to do two activities in a lesson.

I: What kind of activities do you use?

R: I sort of set combination system. The good students you got them to move on to

different activities.

I: Do you use GeoGebra more to demonstrate or?

R: I might use this to demonstrate because it does the questions quickly. It quite easy

if I want to demonstrate on the board transformations... Ive got something for this

I: I am just wondering that it is a task, is it asked the concept of transformation?

R: I probably use that to teach them and probably get them go on the board.

I: So what is your way of teaching mostly? Using in a variety of ways?

R: Probably a variety of ways. I am using mostly on the whiteboard using the pen.

I: On the whiteboard or on the screen (smart board)?

R: Just on the whiteboard. As for algebra I use a lot of writing on the board.

I: Do you use GeoGebra in teaching algebra?

R: Yes I will show you in a minute. So we do classes one or two on sequences, the

connection between (Using GeoGebra and input sequence [(n, 4n-2),n,1,100] and

enter the equation y=4X-2)

100

R: Yes. Mostly for the moment, I am always looking for new things to try out but its

quite hard to put things to link these twoIts always quite difficult to

I: Do you think GeoGebra links geometry and algebra?

R: Not convinced yet.

I: Why?

R: I dont know. I cant find things I can try at the moment

I: How about functions?

101

R: mmm these are more related to algebra and geometry. I dont normally use the

algebra window

I: Do you teach all different years? all of them?

R: Yes.

I: How do you differentiate the way you teach to different levels?

R: Weve got to have setsa few are good at mathsbottom sets and top ones apart

from Year 7.

I: What kind of topics of A-level do you use GeoGebra in teaching maths with

GeoGebra?

R: Probably with the graph work. So this is all module C which I do in the year 13.

Just very simple you predict the function The curve

I: So when you teach you use already made ones for them to try out?

R: Yes mostly probably more.

I: Do you construct image steps in front of them or?

R: Sometimes, but yeahprobably a mixture. Sometimes I use pre-made ones,

sometimes, when teaching gradient, Ill probably show them how to use GeoGebra to

make little triangle, show them tangent or things like that.

I: So do they try as well?

R: Probably just in this room. (Classroom)

I: Have you ever taken them to the IT room?

R: No no I havent tried that yet. Sometimes its difficult to arrange the IT rooms.

Probably get some laptops. I encourage them to use it at home but not sureits hard

to tell how

I: Do you have some activities used which are more related to Geometry? or your

favourite one?

R: I will show you again I am not sure how good this is as I was just learning

GeoGebra reallyThese are the GCSE, sometimes I have done some revision

lessons

I: Do students know about GeoGebra?

102

R: Some do. So I just sort of get students to recognise this. I try and get students

recognise all sorts of different triangles.

R:

I: Did you prepare all materials?

R: yes just me

I: If a teacher wants to learn GeoGebra, how long does it take?

R: Probably about a month.

I: This year since you started teaching with GeoGebra, did it change the way you

teach?

R: Yes definitely. I go to the IT room a lot more. Probably its not just GeoGebra, its

more a combination of GeoGebra and Yacas. Its another CAS.

I: How did you know about it?

R: I knew it quite a while. I looked it a couple of years agoI emailed the author and

asked a few java functions to do some interaction stuff and he did that. So I have been

using Yacas to check students answers. Every time I do to make it better, so this one

I can stand at the back of the room to see what all students are doing and help them

out ask them to go to the front which is quite good.

I: What do you think students think about this computer aid?

R: I think they like it. I asked Year 8 yesterday for what is the best sort of revision for

them. And a few of them thought using the computer stuff is better. Most of them

thought the actually printed out sheets are better. Some of them said they speed for the

exam for the accuracy. So you dont need to do the same thing again and again to be

able to understand it. But still, they dont prefer this, they still prefer the written work,

longer questions as well.

I: They use it as a checking tool or?

R: They just stuck on when they want to revise a certain topic they just do.

I: How do they know?

R: Just tell them right or wrong, thats what it does. They get the score. But I havent

got yetit would be nice to get the scorepicked upthatll be really cool.

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R: Yes I think so, I had my bottom set Year 11. They finished last Friday and we had

the last lesson for the exam in the IT room. I got some work with them. Last lesson

was surprising.

I: So the revision?

R: Yes I gave them some revision. They were pretty well motivated.

I: Do you think they first start learning, they basically learn use paper-and-pencil

environment, latter they use computer to review or?

R: Yes thats how I do it. I prefer to use paper-and-pencil first. Possibly Ill say

transformations cause it takes a long to draw the graphs. Transformations, this is what

I might get student to the computer room first in the future. But still, in the exam

theyve got to use paper-and-pencil. I think if I do everything on the computer.

Theyll probably not gonna do well. Theyll get bored. I do it with Year 11 for one

lesson every fortnight. I think thats been about right.

I: In the normal classroom you use the projector?

R: Yes I use quite that a lot.

I: Is it every lesson or sometimes when you need to?

R: Yeah when I need to really.

I: Do you use it quite often or once a week?

R: Depends on what topics I am doing, probably once a day on average. Probably

more the start of the year, because the first term we do a lot more on teaching and the

rest are a lot of revision.

I: Which Year you use more on the computer?

R: mmmmmmmprobablythe thing I found it hard to teach was transformations

I think this topic is probably Year 8. This is a Grammar school so we do things a bit

earlier. But its gonna be they do SATS in Year 9. So there are simple transformations

like reflections, rotations, enlargements yah, so UK Year 9, everyone went on to

Year 9, simple ones. Then they doFor GCSE, for Year 11 theyll probably do

enlargement with matrix. Thats the topic I find most useful for cause that I dont

think I could be quicker just before.

I: Students here are more able?

R: they are selective so should be quite able.

I: Do you have any favourite functions or activities in GeoGebra?

R: I should have thought about it before you came, but I will find something. Ohh..

this is a great one.

I: So you take GeoGebra as what kind of software? For geometry or algebra?

R: mmmdepends if you can use the algebra, graphs of algebra? Its nice as it does

everything.

I: Is anything you think you can not teach with GeoGebra?

R: It cant do fractions at the moment

I: Yeah I think Markus does

R: I suppose you can do I suppose you cant type inYou can make worksheet

with fractions but you cant type in half quarter or stuff like that. I think because the

interface of that Java scripts. You can display anything you want. You can do

anything you want to. You really CAN do anything.

I: So you can teach with it in any topics?

R: If you get the right idea, you can do anything. You can do any subject you can do

Physics if you have the idea and time to do it.

I: What do you think the strengths of it if you compare to other software?

104

R: Strengthsthe fact that it is free that students can use it at home. The fact that it

is Java that you can use in any platform and with Java script you can control and put it

in the webpage for me thats tremendously usefulIt is very specialised use not many

people can write with Java Scripts. Just the fact that it looks nice. Geometers

Sketchpad, I dont like how it looks I dont like its interface. So GeoGebra looks nice

and the interface is easy to use.

I: Did you use Sketchpad before?

R: I got one of myself called Cabriolet. It just does Geometry First of all I use this a

little bit.

I: Do you compare?

R: So what Autograph can do it, Autograph does graphs like hexagons better.

I: Do they have 3D?

R: yes its got 3D. But in the syllabus here there is not much 3D here. They do a little

bit in GCSE, in Year 13 they use Pythagoras in a cuboids.

I: How did you know all these software?

R: Just search and people telling you. One of my colleagues told me about GeoGebra.

He went to a course and the course tutor told him this is good and he came back and

mentioned it to me. When I tried to use I realised it is better than I thought.

I: what do you think about GeoGebra as a piece of mathematical software and an

educational tool?

R: It does the connection between algebra and geometry much better than other

programs - anywhere you can enter a number you can also enter a formula eg you can

enter (4,5) but also expressions like (3 a,2-b) so it's not actually necessary to have the

algebra window open for students to see the connection. Also the fact that you can

animate any variable by turning it into a slider is a very powerful feature. As an

educational tool: like any other tool it can be used badly or well.

I: what benefits do you think GeoGebra brings to your teaching of geometry and

algebra at the A-level?

R: I've some files to help show the proofs for the formulae for

Sin(A+B) etc. It's very good for teaching iteration (cobweb file attached). It's very

good for teaching gradient of a curve (both the concept and the proof)

I: Could I possibly also have the GeoGebra files (check box and rolling polygon) you

showed me?

These are the files:

http://www.geogebra.org/en/upload/files/piman/Non_Standard_Wheels.zip and this is

the thread with explanations:

http://www.geogebra.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3249&start=75

Tyler

Interviewer (I): How do you view GeoGebra as a piece of mathematical software?

Where did you do your degree and how you have come to be a teacher?

Tyler (T): I did a Maths degree in Oxford and I then did a PGCE in KCL. I have been

in Comberton Village College for 12 years. I was a cross teacher first and I stand head

of maths for four years. I also teach one day a week to teach PGCE for the faculty. I

have worked as an AST, supporting teachers of maths, sometimes in primary school

and secondary schools.

I: Sounds very busy

T: mmm yes it is.

I: When did you start using GeoGebra?

T: Earlier this year, about 6 months ago.

105

T: Ive used it with 10 year olds from our primary school through to Year 11.

I: How do you use GeoGebra when you teach?

T: Ok Ive used it in three different ways or I can consider there have been three

different ways it can be used, Ive used along three of these ways. One way is where I

demonstrate, so to me at the board, using it as a teaching tool using it to demonstrate

to the class, using it for the class to react, it seems that I am doing for them to be able

to say. So I used like that with some pupils. Certainly, Ive set up in advance at some

particular things for them to work out, to find out, but thats a whole class activity.

Ive used it where Ive set things up for them to pupils to interact with. So with Year

11 when we studied circle theorems, so things like the angle of semi-circle is always

90 degrees, the angle at the centre is twice as the side, I set up particular GeoGebra

files for them to look at, to explore, to make changes to, and then for them to make

hypothesis of what might be happening.

I: So thats in the classroom?

T: No its in the IT room thats children using that for themselves. There they work in

pairs, they discuss what they are doing, and they are encouraged to have ideas and test

those ideas out.

I: You prepare some pre-made files?

T: Thats it, so thats me preparing things for them to interact with. So Ive done the

work preparing some activity Ive don the work and prepare the files so pupils just

interacting with things what Ive made. And again, its for them to find out specific

links to things about particular parts of maths, particular areas of maths. We also then,

as parts of that, discover the ideas of proof and GeoGebra wasnt providing proof.

The particular angles were the same, or particular angles added up to 180 degrees or

particular angle were twice other angles. But we were then able to use those diagrams,

the diagrams that GeoGebra produced, in fact, some of the children to screen shots,

for them to look at geometrical proofs.

I: So many pupils just investigate these ideas?

T: Yes thats right

I: Did you ask them to make conjectures to test and produce a piece of mathematics

work or?

T: Yes and for something we called alternate circle theorem, when if youve got

tangent to the circle (making the constructs with GeoGebra) so this I didnt tell them

whats going on and ask them to find out what happened, and try to explain, so they

conjectured it and I set up the diagram for them to find out whats going on.

I: So you didnt tell them and ask them to investigate?

T: Thats right, so they can, first of all, see whats happening, so they could answer

questions like, if I move this point, which angles will be bigger, which angels will get

smaller which angles will stay the same, if I move this point around the circle to the

right, which angles will get bigger, so they will say, well this angle at A get bigger,

these angles at C get smaller, these angles stay the same. So they will have a real

feeling for as I move these, these angles getting bigger, this angles getting smaller,

this angels getting bigger as to whats going on. And we discuss very often if we

move a point pass the other point then things change. If you take this point here, then

it ended up two angles are 90 degrees.

So they will be able to see how it works, what things going on, so they will be able to

see properly and dynamically, So a conjecture if we dont have the tangent

involved. We know this angle as we move this point, as

106

Well also so maybe there is a linkso they both can be increasing in the same

way. They were just using it for

For example if they do this so they know the tangent form 90 degreesso they

know in this particular diagramso Can we prove that? As a way into it, in one

hour session, its perfect.

I: How often do you use it in the IT room?

T: Up to now, we have a week lessons of circle theorem. Ive used it in a one hour

section with 10 year olds, Year 6. Its been it so far. One of the things Ive like to do

is to explore what sort of subject areas GeoGebra can do and to see how pupils might

be able to learn to use themselves.

I: You mentioned three days?

T: Yes I think of it at the moment, there are three different ways, using it to

demonstrate something. If I use it to the whole class, if I was to say what happens if I

move this point, thats me demonstrating something, children having ideas of using

this as a dynamic programme. But one projective version, the pupils might not have

ideas. The second one is for them to work with a computer with a partner, interacting

this with their partner. The third way then is with Year 6 where they starting to learn

to some tools, they started to create things. Some of them started with a blank sheet

and they wanted to use like the reflection and they wanted to do reflections to make

their own pictures and interact which is lovely. We are doing things like

I: How do you guide them without using GeoGebra as a recipe?

T: With these pupils

T: They can create pictures they loved. They really enjoy it. I like this.

I: So you mainly use it for teaching geometry or?

T: So far yes,

So for example, I am quite intrigued by the idea of using this with transformations, it

uses for rotations, uses A dashed, B dashed to show the reflections, so show

transformations,which is lovelywhich it will be a very interesting way of

working or a very interesting way to use, there will be, it may bethat some pupils

can understand the rotation. So yes we have to wait and see.

I: How do you view GeoGebra as a piece of mathematical software?

T: Because where Ive come from, I used Cabri in the past so I started by seeing it as

a replacement to Cabri so as dynamic geometry theyeahso thats so far

thats how Ive used it so it will be interesting to see what are the ways of using.

appropriate ways of using it for algebra as well.

I: So comparing to Cabri how do you think about GeoGebra and why you think

GeoGebra can replace it?

T: Comparing to Cabri, I think there are a number of advantages over Cabri. One is

that the axes are very much clearer that you can change axes much much more easily

and much much more regularly. The fact that font size changes every font size, I think

its brilliant. And it changes font size of the icon size at the top that it change the font

size for everything I think it is stunning. The fact the axes and grid are so easy to use.

Its brilliant. The fact that the properties and changing colours is so easy to use, I

think this has and it projects far better than Cabri does. So thats why huge

advantage and changing the properties on Cabri is frustrating and annoying. Its far

far superior in terms of projection. It also now can be used to put pictures at the

backgroundbut to put pictures can be rotated and reflected. One of the things that I

am really looking forward to do with some pupils is reflecting and rotating and

enlarging pictures. So being able to ask them to take a photograph and we could then

use as part of these. Thats what Cabri cant, as far as Ive known, do yet. Yes you can

107

use it at the background but its only in Cabri II. Cabri is also a commercial package.

Weve got Cabri II at school. Cabri II+ is different. Cabri II+ will run Cabri II files

but they are not backward and compatible. So my Cabri II wont run Cabri II+ files

which I think is naughty cause that means its a different version, and it ought to be

called version III. But to update to upgrade from version II to version II + you have to

pay itagain its a different version, and thats expensive. For pupils to be able

download it to use it at home. It would be absolutely ideal.

I: So the fact it is free, will you ask pupils can use it for homework or course work at

home in the future?

T: Ideally yes. We have One of the things that worries me mathematics teaching in

general is that we have subscription at school and in the same way that lots of school

do to a website that pupils can access at home. They have their own passwords for it,

this is my maths. I have a personal password for it. They can get on the website and

they can answer, it shows them particular areas of maths and they can answer

questions. The problem is that it really is very very constraint and the technology is on

the stage that it will take yes no questions and it will mark answers to questions. But it

wont actually allow pupils to explore things properly which means that pupils seeing

maths as its something where you listen and read the instruction and then you do

results. This (GeoGerba) is very different. This is maths by interacting. This is

mathematics by trying things out, by conjecturing, by having a go

I: How about algebra? What software do you use to teach algebra?

T: Ive used in fact with the same Year 11 group I used Autograph with them. The

reason Ive used Autograph. I wanted it to start with the sine wave and I wanted to

start the sine curve they be able to write it like that. The way Autograph doesis

using gradients. I could have defined f(x) as sine. But I wanted to start with y equals f

(x).So then pupils can explore y=sin(x). How does that transform? What happens with

4 sin(x) and sin (4x) the lovely thing about the trick of functions, you can tell the

differences between vertical and horizontal stretch and squash. You cant tell its been

squashed it out. And again children would use Autograph to conjecture.

I: Do you think GeoGebra can do this?

T: I think it can. I would want it to be able to make y=sin(x). So if there is a way of

making it happen on GeoGebra, I think it will be ideal.

What happens if y=x cubed. So they will be conjecturing and testing those conjectures.

I: But when you type in y=f(x) does it work with Autograph?

T: You will have to type y=f(x). If I use y= sin(x) I am assuming that I can does

pi works here as pi? Soyeah we can do it like that but it happens to draw to use this.

So now if I do that will work but thats forto the left by 90 But like I said I

want it to work that way. It does the work around here but it didnt do what exactly I

wanted to do. So I used Autograph.

I: So compare GeoGebra to Autograph you still think you will?

T: Well only becauseThe only thing that Autograph still has overwellthe

solution is to put in the degrees so perfect so if I do y= cos(x)

degreesyeahtry y=sin x degrees take away 5 so it worked. If you put degrees in

it then works I didnt see that happen but I do now.

I: Will you use GeoGebra to teach algebra in the future?

T: It makes sense to me because of things you can do with it, you cant do on

Autograph. So if I drag this left and right we can see the changes happening (on the

algebraic window) so yeahthats a big deal. The pupils again can it with Autograph

but they can also do it with GeoGebra at home.

I: Have you used it for upper level?

108

T: Only with Year 11. Year 11 is the highest weve got. Thats the circle theorems.

I: What topics do you think you can use GeoGebra?

T: I think semi-circle theorems, transformations, some transformations. I wouldnt

personally want to use areas of circles or conferences of circle. Thats what I want

pupils to do in practical ways. I think these would be more powerful than something

on GeoGebra. So thats why I wouldnt use it for that, whereas the circle theorems,

where the alternatives is either been taught they all are like that or having to draw lots

of diagrams and measure lots of things. Thats sensible as it is not accurate when the

things youve made are not accurate. So similarly with trigonometry graphs, it might

at some point be useful to introduce the ideas of a sine graph by using a circle by

doing some measuring. But if you want to do transformation for the graphs, it doesnt

seem worth to re-plotting all the points every single time. You want to use the power

so let GeoGebra to do that. Similarly with reflections and rotations, there is one stage

having a mirror and see how it is reflected, its great. Having a piece of paper you can

fold, its great, its important and its great but after a while if you are wanting to do

multiple transformations, it may well be that GeoGebra is more effective.

I: So you use a mixture of different ways?

T: Yeah what I wouldnt want to do is to get to a stage where you are using

GeoGebra for everything, whether sensible or not. Because it is clearly there are times

when interacting with physical materials, its going to be more useful.

I: Do you think GeoGebra links Geometry and algebra?

T: Thats particularly obvious for the drawing graphs and thats one of the reasons

why I like to use this for drawing graphsits that it with pupils Id talk about

different representations, talk about how y= 3x+2 could be a way of describing a

sequence. It could be algebra it could be about it could be formula it could be

equations of lines or graphs it could be different ways of presenting the same idea

and they might mean very different things, where you take a taxi journey, youve got

something to do with the cost about the taxi journey you cant do all the fractions

with penny. You have 20 pence, 20 pence equivalence. Nowadays so there is some

kind of integer issue going on whereas the graph straight lines every point of line is on

there. So then, this is a nice way to talk about the link between the algebra and picture

which again is another thing that GeoGebra still has over Cabri or Geometers

Sketchpad that you see specifically some of those ...

I: Is there any thing or functions you particularly like about GeoGebra?

T: I love concepts I love the idea you can set up diagrams and interact with it. I love

the slider.

I: Do you use it?

T: I do, some of them I showed on Saturdayyes Ill probably. (drawing the graph

with GeoGebra) so yes for pupils to see what happens to be able to see what

happens if its minus

I: Do you create lots of GeoGebra worksheets yourself?

T: Yes a few like this.

I: Whats your favourite?

T: This one. Because partly not for the part of GeoGebra sheet but to saywhat will

happen if I take that enlargement to the left And as I mentioned on Saturday, if I

move this to the left, almost everybody thinks this will get bigger. Its really

interesting to unpick why and I think the reason is that lots of people when they

first introducing enlargement as a torch or an overhead projector where if you have

torch if you move the torch away, the size changes. Thats a fundamental

misunderstanding of how an enlargement works. Because with a torch its been

109

projected to a wall or a screen but that wall or screen is not moving whereas here

thats not how it works. So the idea we can talk about what will happen without even

having to do it. So we can show: what happens if I move this point downwards? The

other point moves three times as fast, shows that they are linked, then we can spend

proper amount of time talking about what happens if I move this to the left. And only

at the very end of that discussion, do we then actually do it. So yeah when we have

a file a few down to c then it does stay the same. Then they want to know things like:

What happens if I make this one, then wonderfully pupils want to know: can you

make it a decimal? Thats how they call it, what happens if I make this point to the

centre? Can you make it negative? What happens if thats a zero? Then again there

are very nice things you can do with this.

I: Is there anything youd like to add about your views on GeoGebra?

T: Only that its still very new. But its really exciting so far. Its going to be really

really exciting to see how it develops and how we can develop using it.

I: Anything you think could be improved?

T: Well I didnt know how to do the trig graphs so y=sin(x) I couldnt get how to

make it work in degrees but now I can get it to work in degrees. So weve sorted. So

nonot nothing I can think of at present I am sure there will be things that crop

up. But I have got enough things to be thinking about that I can use it for. Thats

intuitive. But I do make a difference between I would draw a distinction between

knowing how to use it these tools and still getting used to using it as tools. Youve

seen that I make mistakes and I am still learning. I wanted to do something and Ive

gone to the wrong menu. But its nice enough it works in a way I found its intuitive

so if I want to find one, I go on to the next one until I find what I am wanting. So

thats not a big deal. But making a different between the tools and knowing how to

use GeoGebra toolsand the ways of using it, so which topics do you use? So sort of

pedagogical ways of using it.

I: As you mentioned tools? What tool do you take it?

T: As an environment for exploring dynamic geometry.

110

Finding Rated Important (adopted from Stake 2006, P. 51)

Jay

Finding I

Finding II

Finding III

Li

Finding I

Finding II

Finding III

Richard

Finding I

Finding II

Finding III

Tyler

Finding I

Themes

Teacher

Background

1

12

years

teaching

experience

Views

on

GeoGebra

2

Positive about

GeoGebra

Translator

Software

Evaluation

3

GSP and GeoGebra

Ways of using

GeoGebra

4

HomeResearch,

Teaching

portfolio

and ClassroomDemonstration

Negative about

ICT in general

SA/ IT

Negative about

student attitude

towards

technology

1

2

13

years Positive about

teaching

GeoGebra

experience

SketchUp

GeoGebra

School

website

designer

Yacas

GeoGebra

and IT roomActivities

Revision

3

Cabri

GeoGebra

4

and Homeresearch/

teaching

material

3

4

GSP and GeoGebra HomeResearch/

teaching

material

preparation

School

Less

positive Cabri

and IT roomwebsite

about

GeoGebra

Demonstration,

designer

technology in

Revision

general

GeoGebra

Negative about

translator/

student attitude

trainer

towards

technology

1

2

3

4

12

years Balanced views GSP and GeoGebra Hometeaching

on GeoGebra

research/

experience

teaching

material

preparation

Software

Balanced views Cabri

and Classroomdeveloper

on technology

GeoGebra

Demonstration

Positive about

student attitude

towards

technology

1

2

12

years Balanced views

teaching

on GeoGebra

experience

111

Finding II

Finding III

preparation

GeoGebra

Balanced views Autograph

and Classroomteacher

on technology

GeoGebra

Demonstration

trainer

Student

interaction

AST/ school Positive about GSP and GeoGebra IT roommathematics

student attitude

Activities/

consultant/

towards

student

PGCE tutor

technology

investigation

Appendix III:

Research Timeline

Task

March

2008

observation

Documentation- website pages, publications

Semi-structured and in-depth interviews

from

from

from

to

to

Teacher observations

from

to

Analysing interviews

April

2008

2008 2008

to

from

to

from to

Writing up

from to

112

Appendix IV:

Informed Consent- England

Cambridge CB3 0BN

Dear teachers,

I am investigating the educational experiences and views of pre-university

mathematics teachers on ICT (particularly the use of GeoGebra) in the teaching of

mathematics cross-culturally. Therefore, I hope to interview teachers form Taiwan

and England.

For the purpose of data preservation, the interview will be video-recorded and will

take approximately one hour. The data and results of these interviews will be used for

academic purposes only.

For ethical reasons, the names of participants will be anonymous. Participants have

the rights to opt out from the research as well as the rights to review materials in

respect of the interviews both in written and taped form. All involvement in the

interview is voluntary.

It is my greatest wish that this study will facilitate the improvement of and

contribution to educational development in mathematics teaching with the use of ICT.

I do sincerely hope you will be willing to be involved and thank you very much in

advance for participating in this study.

Yours sincerely,

Yu-Wen Allison Lu

113

Appendix V:

Informed Consent- Taiwan

GeoGebra

114

Background

How long have you been teaching mathematics?

Do you use any kind of technology applications for your teaching?

Probe: How do you use these technologies? How did you become familiar

with GeoGebra?

Actual use of GeoGebra

What kinds of changes would you want in ICT/ GeoGebra when you would

consider using ICT in your teaching?

Views on GeoGebra

What do you think about the use of technology in your teaching practices?

Do you think GeoGebra is useful for your teaching?

Follow up

Is there anything that we did not mention before and you would like to add?

Thank you very much for your time!

Would you be interested in receiving a summary about findings of the study?

115

116

117

Appendix VIII:

Lis Examples of Proofs of Theorems and Problem-solving

118

Appendix IX:

Lis Revision Worksheet:

.GeoGebra

1. ^ : Shift 6

2. | : Shift

3. CTRL-Z

4. ,

, , ,

ESC,

1.

(1). y = mx+k , m: k: Y

a, b X Y

, m, k

y= mx+k

2.

| |, abslute value

119

(2).

x

y

1,

a

b

y=|x| y=abs(x)

y=|x|-1 y=abs(x)-1

y=|x-1| y=abs(x-1)

y=|x-1|-1 y=abs(x-1)-1

3.

y=ax2+bx+c

y=2x2+x+1 y=2x^2+x+1 ,

1 y=x2+|x-2| y=x^2+abs(x-2)

2 y=|x2+x|-2 y=abs(x^2+x)-2

4.

y=x4-x3-9x2+2x+12 y=x^4-x^3-9x^2+2x+12

f(x)=x4-x3-9x2+2x+12,

,

x

-3

f(x)

-2

-1

5.

y = ax

6.

, : a

: 3 : 0 ,

ESC

y=a^x

y = logax

, : a

: 3 : 0 ,

ESC

y=ln(x)/ln(a) ()

7.

( y=sin x ) y = a sin( bx+c ) + d

a: b: c, d

y= sin(x) y=2sin(x) 2 y=sin(2x)

y=sin(x+2) 2 y=sin(x)+2 2

------------------------------------------------------ y=sin(x+pi/2) 2 , ..

,

y=Asin(x)+Bsin(x)

y=sin(x)+cos(x)

y=sin(x+45)

y=1.41*sin(x +45)

y=tan(x)

x=pi/2 ( ) x= -pi/2

x= -3pi/2

y=tan(x)

?

120

5

-4

-11

-20

7

(2) tan 4 (3) tan 5

(4) tan 6

(5) tan 7

3

:

a= 7pi/3

a= 7pi/3

b= 5pi/4

c= - 4pi/5

d= -11pi/6

e= - 20pi/7 (a, tan(a) ) (b, tan(b) )

(c, tan(c) ) (d, tan(d) ) (e, tan(e) ) 5

GeoGebra cot(x), sec(x), csc(x)

y= 1/tan(x) y= 1/cos(x) y= 1/sin(x)

8.

y= asin(x)

y= acos(x)

y= atan(x)

(1) tan

Appendix X:

Tylers Example of Geometrical Constructions

121

122

1) Conceptions of Mathematics- Mathematics Content Knowledge

2) Conceptions of the use of technology- Conceptions of GeoGebra Conceptions

of mathematics teaching and learning in relation to conceptions of GeoGebra

Teacher transition- teaching practices

Benefit for students future studies and work

GeoGebra as a educational tool

3) Infrastructure Change- Technology related themes

Critiques of hardware

Critiques of software

Encouraging advancement of technology

4) Practices with GeoGebra Teachers mathematical content knowledge

GeoGebra affordances

Mathematical Scope- algebra-related, geometry-related or both

algebraic and geometrical topics

5) Cultural issues

Student-centred interactive pedagogy/ Teacher-centred didactic

Curriculum-focused

Textbook-oriented

Exam-driven

123

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