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Linking Geometry and Algebra: A multiple-case study of Upper-Secondary mathematics teachers conceptions and practices of GeoGebra in England and


Yu-Wen Allison Lu

Thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Educational Research Faculty of Education University of Cambridge

Supervisor: Dr. Paul Andrews

July 2008

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.

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

CHAPTER FOUR: Data Analysis... 33 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 IV: Informed Consent- England .113 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


Table 3.1: Data collection for the Intended Study 26 Table 3.2: The themes for within-case analysis.. 30

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

GeoGebra has changed the way I teach Peter


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)

1.1 Research Context

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).

The dynamic and symbolic nature of computer environments can provoke 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

include programmes such as Mathematica, Maple and Derive. Some graphical 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

1.2 Rationale and Significance of the study

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).

There is a noticeable demand for the pedagogical development of technology 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.


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 The Role of Technology in Mathematics Education

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.

In the context of education, ICT integrates teaching and learning as a complete 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: Broadening classroom resources and references; Enhancing working processes and produces; Mediating subject thinking and learning; Fostering more independent pupil activity; Improving pupil motivation towards lessons.

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): Accessibility of computers: teachers and students need ready and regular access to computers; Openness of programmes: they must be easily available and the emphasis is on learning the mathematics rather than the programme; Curriculum scope: teachers pedagogical practices through using ICT along with the curriculum need to be accomplished more effectively; ICT competence: individual teachers level of confidence and skills in ICT.

Consequently, it has been suggested that further areas for development in terms of the contribution that ICT lends to education include: improvements in pedagogical

development and teacher training of ICT competence (Ofsted, 2004; Johnston-Wilder and Pimm, 2005; Webb and Cox, 2004; Glbahar, 2007).

2.2.2 An Overview of Technology Use in Mathematics Teaching

With the introduction of ICT to mathematics education, one question to consider is 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).

Nevertheless, the paper-and-pencil environment has simplicity and convenience that 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).

Despite official encouragement and enormous investment across the developed 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.

2.2.3 Cross-Cultural Studies on Technology and Mathematics Teaching

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: Understanding of mathematical theory- scientific knowledge versus pragmatic understanding Organisation by subject structure versus spiral-type curriculum Introduction of new mathematical concepts and methods The position and function of proofs Focus on justifications or rules versus work with examples The role of precise language The role of real-world examples Teaching and learning styles

The framework by Kaiser et al. is adapted partially in terms of teaching styles as I 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

TIMSS- Third International Maths and Science Study PISA- Program for International Student Assessment


educational achievements (Broadfoot, et al., 2000: 13) and a high mathematics 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).

2.2.4 England and Taiwan- two opposite systems?

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.

It appears that the awareness and perceptions of using technology in mathematics 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

seems underdeveloped in terms of professional training, curriculum and educational policy in teaching practices.

The notion of technology usage as a provider of information in the teaching of 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

To investigate the ways in which teachers use technology, it would be necessary to 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


inclusiveness of terms. In the following, I examine literature in relation to teachers instructional practices with technology.

2.3 Teaching algebra and geometry 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.


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.

Dynamic geometrical constructions, visualisation for motions of objectives by 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.

Potentially, some mathematical software programmes offer algebraic and numerical 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.

One problem is that most mathematical software in mainstream use is commercial, 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.

2.3.1 Geometry + Algebra= GeoGebra?

Hohenwarter (2004) developed GeoGebra with the intention of supporting secondary 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

Geometry and Graphics Window

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


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.

Although most research attention on GeoGebra pertains to the teaching of geometry, 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). For example, by entering the equation y=x 2 the

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.


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.

2.4. Statement of Research Questions

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: What are the upper-secondary mathematics teachers conceptions of 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? How are the teachers conceptions of technology and GeoGebra related to their teaching practices in both countries?


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.

3.2 Theoretical Framework

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).


Theoretical frameworks for methodological rationale can be used to assist researchers 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.

3.3 Epistemology and Theoretical Perspective

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


software by teachers to help construct meanings for students. Reflecting on my 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

epistemologies are not applicable to my research as it is my belief that knowledge exists through human interactions with social environment and technologies.

On the other hand, constructionist and subjectivist epistemologies acknowledge 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?

In order to answer these questions and select an appropriate research approach, I 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).


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.

3.4.2 Case Study Research Approach

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.

As the rapid growth of technology use in secondary schools is a relatively modern 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).

In brief, exploratory and multiple-case studies are my chosen methodology as the 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.


3.5 Methods

3.5.1 Data Collection

The emerging issues of my research are teacher conceptions of mathematics teaching 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.


Table 3.1: Data collection for the Intended Study Data collection Documentation Participants Teachers Techniques GeoGebrarelated websites, teaching materials. Informal communications Teachers Emails and GeoGebrarelated websites Formal interviews Teachers Video recording Transcripts To provide insightful and targeted evidence directly on the case study topic Observations of teachers mathematics constructs with GeoGebra Informative Interviews GeoGebra creator and advanced users Video recording Transcripts To obtain in-depth evidence of practical usage of the software from international perspectives and disciplines Teachers Note-taking Field notes To obtain a more holistic sense of the ways teachers utilise the software Data Print-outs Aim of data collection Teachers and researchers views in respect to GeoGebra and its teaching as well as technical problems Field-notes To achieve feedback and confirmation from the teachers

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,


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.

Consequently, semi-structured interviews can be useful for my research as wording of 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).


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.

To get empirical experiences of GeoGebra usage from teachers, interviews assist in 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.

3.5.3 Research Settings and Participants

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

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).


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.

3.5.4 Data Analysis

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

of these interviews were subsequently highlighted by themes, which helped several categories to emerge from the data.

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

Key Themes
Theme 1: Participant Background

Sub Themes
Teaching experience, acceptance of and participation with technology Student age and achievement

Examples of Interview Questions

How many years have you been teaching? What grade or year of students have you taught/ do you teach?

Theme 2: Conceptions of GeoGebra

Teacher conceptions of technology and GeoGebra, the teaching in relation to geometry and algebra

What to you think about GeoGebra? Do you think it provides linkage between geometry and algebra?

Theme 3: Software Evaluation

Strengths and weaknesses of GeoGebra, comparisons with other softwares

What advantages and disadvantages do you think that GeoGebra has?

Theme 4: GeoGebra Usage

Ways of using GeoGebra and its materials and websites Reasons for the chosen mathematical topics when teaching with GeoGebra

How do you use GeoGebra? For which topics do you use GeoGebra to teach? Why and in what ways do you teach them? Do you use GeoGebra in bridging geometry and algebra?

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;


2. integrating categories and their properties; 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.

3.5.5 Research Considerations 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.



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.

Triangulation, Validity and Reliability

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.


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.

4.2 The Cases

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.


talk openly, with a common understanding of the mathematical content and 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.

Views on the use of technology and GeoGebra in mathematics teaching 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:

Nowadays, there is a reactionary phenomenon in Taiwan; students will notice the 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.


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:

(a) It is difficult to display and demonstrate on the blackboard. This is what 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 makes life so much easier having this software.


(c) Mathematics is alive, but when it is written in textbooks - it becomes dead. Consequently, I use it to make mathematics come to life. It is resurrection software!

In general, Jay was discouraged by the current educational environment regarding 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 evaluation in relation to other mathematical software

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.


Ways of Using of technology and GeoGebra in mathematics teaching

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:

I bring my laptop to the classroom whenever I need to. For example, to 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).

Figure 4.1: One example of Jays geometrical construct with GeoGebra


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 Graphing, calculations, visualisation, demonstration, dragging, checking, test and verify, teaching and research Mathematics topics Teaching style Infrastructure Cartesian coordinate systems, both algebra and geometry Textbook-oriented Laptop demonstration in the classroom

4.2.2 Li

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.

Views on technology and GeoGebra 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


One programming language- Java technologies are made available most as free software under General Public Liscense.


and Latex 11 support and international cooperation. He believed that because 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.

By contrast, GSP is scarcely comparable to GeoGebra in these areas. However, he 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.

Ways of Using of technology and GeoGebra

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:


A programming language for writing professional papers


I use GeoGebra to teach more on geometrical topics and some algebraic 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.

Li provided a number of strategies for exploiting GeoGebra and put a significant 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,

revision, investigation, and interaction Mathematics topics Teaching style Geometrical topics and algebraic calculations Curriculum-based, textbook-oriented and exam-driven, selfdeveloped teaching materials and website with GeoGebra Infrastructure Home, IT room or computer and projector in classroom


(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


4.2.3 Richard


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.

Views on technology and GeoGebra

Richard has an ambivalent view of GeoGebra. He expressed that he was not 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.

Since Richard had a personal interest in computer programming and he utilised a 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

One open-source software which is viewed as a CAS A programming language that controls a software application


Nevertheless, he also pointed out that GeoGebra is a tool that like any other tool can be used badly or well.

GeoGebra evaluation

Richard summarised several features which he particularly appreciated about 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.

Ways of Using of technology and GeoGebra

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.


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


The salient categories emerged from the data are listed as follows: Tool use Graphing, calculations, demonstration, revision, student activities, investigation with the slider Mathematics topics Mainly geometrical topics, gradients of a curve and transformations Teaching style Activity-based, a combination system of paper-and-pencil and computer environments Infrastructure Home, IT room or computer and projector in classroom

4.2.4 Tyler


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.

Views on technology and GeoGebra 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

Postgraduate Certificate in Education Advanced Skills Teacher


Some criticisms about current usage of technology in schools were brought up in 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.

He emphasised that GeoGebra could not only be used as a presentation tool by teachers but also as an investigation tool for pupils.

GeoGebra evaluation

Tyler spoke positively about the features of GeoGebra in terms of changeability of 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.

Ways of Using of technology and GeoGebra 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, so with me at the board, using it as a teaching tool using it to 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.


Enlargement with a=2.4 (a>1), the transformed triangle on the left became bigger


(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

Figure 4.6: One example of Tylers use of transformation activity on enlargement

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:


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 Demonstration, interaction, investigation, exploration, testing hypothesis, creation, projection capability and the slider Mathematics topics Teaching style Infrastructure Mainly geometrical topics A whole-class teaching activity Home, IT room or computer and projector in classroom

4.3 Informative interviews

4.3.1 Interview with the GeoGebra creator

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.


Based on his experiences training mathematics teachers to use GeoGebra, he 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.

4.3.2 Interview with an advanced user

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:


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

4.4 Cross-Case Analysis

4.4.1 Emerging Categories

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


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.

4.4.2 Educational Tool

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: research and analysis; immediate feedback and reflective checking; creating teaching materials and online materials; demonstration, presentation and visualisation; problem-solving, computation and calculation; classroom activities, tasks- investigation, experimentation and conjecture; geometrical proof of theorems; revision for examinations;


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.

Li considered GeoGebra as a tool for a broader range of affordances, such as making 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.

4.4.3 Teacher Transition

Teachers might experience changes in their manipulation of GeoGebra providing more time and exploration. According to the interview with Markus, he thought that


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


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.

4.4.4 Mathematical Scope

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

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.


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.

4.4.5 Infrastructural Change

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.

One three dimensional DGS which is commercial


Jay and Li conceived of the infrastructure of GeoGebra usage for conventional 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.

4.5 Cross-Cultural Exploration

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.


Finally, in terms of pedagogy, the Taiwanese teachers tended to follow a curriculum 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.



Discussion and Concluding Remarks

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


conceptions of GeoGebra seemed to be strongly rooted in their conceptions of the 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.

Secondly, GeoGebra was commonly used as a tool for visualisation, demonstration 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.

In effect, GeoGebra can be implemented in upper-secondary mathematics teaching as 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.


Infrastructural change Re-conceptualisation Teacher transition Conceptions Mathematical scope Practices Educational tool Implementation of GeoGebra + New pedagogical practices

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


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.


and institutional adoption 20 are recognised in this study. In respect of interpretive 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.

According to the interviews, teachers in both countries valued the bidirectional 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.

In contrast, the development of CAS capabilities in GeoGebra has limited 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


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.


has been premature at the upper-secondary level as well as the integration of 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.

Uniting the use of technology in mathematics teaching, many factors appear to 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.

5.4 Reflections and Limitations

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


postgraduate study in mathematics education in England, and therefore, was not 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.

Moreover, there is a limitation to my study as GeoGebra has only recently been 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.

5.6 Implications and Recommendations for Further Research

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.


Becoming advanced users of GeoGebra or role models of students use of GeoGebra 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.

Another area of investigation is whether the educational infrastructure, school 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

experimentation along with their mathematics content knowledge influence their 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

followed by teachers resulting in sufficient implementation of GeoGebra into classroom practices. With more direction regarding successful teacher practices with GeoGebra, curriculum-focused mathematical topics could then be incorporated.

The Taiwanese educational system has an examination-driven culture which impacts 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.

Moreover, learning from different cultural contexts is useful for pedagogical 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.

Suggestions for my proposed PhD research

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.


5.6 Concluding thoughts

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.


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APPENDICES: Appendix I: Interview Transcripts Jay

Interviewer (I): ? Jay (J): I: ? J: I: J: I: ? J: SA IBM Windows 95 I: GeoGebra ? J: OK I: WIKI ? J: WIKI wikipedia sam BOX I: J: ! I: ? J: I: ? J: I: ? J: ... I: ? J: ... !


I: ICT package ? J: web conference I: ...? J: ... I: ? J: I: J: I: ? J: I: J: I: ? J: 3D 3D I: 3D ? J: Cabri 3D I: Cabri-Geometre? J: I: Calques 3D Archimedes 3D


J: ? I: google J: GeoGebra (?) feedback I: ? J:

J: : ? I: ? J: web start I: ? J:


... I: ? J: ... I: ? J: I: ? J: ? I: ? ? J: I: ? J: ? I: ?


J: ? I: ? J: I: ? J: ? I: J: I: ? J: GSP GSP I: ? ? J: I: ? J: I: ? J: ... I: ..., ? J: .. I: slide? J: ... ... m=3, n=4... ... x m ... () ... slide m n ? ... GSP (GeoGebra) I:


J: I: ? J: I: ... J: I: ? J: ...... ... ...... ... ... ... ok ... I: .. J: I: ? J: ... ......... GSP GSP ok GSP I: ? J: ... GSP ... I: ? J: EXCEL, SPSS, SARS online worksheet ok I: EXCEL ? J: Microsoft office open office online google documents I: GeoGebra? J: ... ... 3D GSP 3D


command ... I: transformation ? J: transformation linear transformation I: ... J: a b c a+b+c ( ... ... abc ... ) I: ? J: GSP I: GSP 3D ? J: GSP GSP GSP ... iteration fractle GSP GeoGebra GSP I: ? J: (Algebra window) (Command Line) (Equation input) GSP ? ... I: GSP ? J: GSP GSP GSP GeoGebra GSP ... I: ...? J: I: GSP ?


J: I: Cabri ? J: Cabri Cabri ... command line I: ... ? J: command line GeoGebra Geometry Algebra I: ? ? J: I: ? J: solve root show ? I: ? J: ... I: ? J: I: ? J: dvd... I: ? J: I: ? J: ? ? I: ......


J: GSP ? I: ? J: GSP I: GSP GSP ? J: GSP I: ? GeoGebra ? J: GSP GeoGebra ? ? I: ? ? J: ... I: GeoGebra ... J: ... ? I: ? J: ? I: J: I: ? J:


I: ? J: I: ? J: I: J: I: J: ... I: J: I: J: I:

Interviewer (I): ? Li (L): 84 1995 2008 13 I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ?


L: I: ? L: I: L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: L: I: ? L: y=a x y=a x I: ? L: y= logax a I: ? L: a I: ? L: Lambert 94 Lambert ? Lambert (:, ? Lambert . GeoGebra , Java ,


,,,., Wink , ) I: L: F F P () Lambert F I: ? L: word Lambert H I (algebra window) GeoGebra GeoGebra Latex html Latex I: GeoGebra ? L: GeoGebra I: ? ? L: GeoGebra I: ? L: GeoGebra GeoGebra html html... ... GeoGebra Java Java ru.4 Latex I: ...? L: GeoGebra I: ? L: I: L: GeoGebra ? I: L: I: GeoGebra ? ?


L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: wink I: ? L: I: ? L: keyboard I: ? L: I: GeoGebra? L: ? I: ? L: I: ? L:


I: GeoGebra? L: .. I: 3D? L: 3D I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: GSP GeoGebra I: ? L: GSP GeoGebra GSP GeoGebra GSP GSP GSP GeoGebra GSP GeoGebra enter GSP GeoGebra GSP I: ?


L: GeoGebra GSP I: L: I: ? ? L: (GeoGebra GSP GSP(Geometry Sketch Pad) GSP 50 1600 GSP GeoGebra GeoGebra Java Java GeoGebra Acer 512TE 7 CPUPentium III 680HZ 256MB memory GeoGebra 15 Delete Ctrl-Z 1 Pentium IV 512MB memory GeoGebra Java 100GeoGebra Latex GSP GeoGebra GSP GSP GeoGebra Google Google Geometry sketchpad GeoGebra 387000 362000 GeoGebra GeoGebra GeoGebra x xy y 1 GeoGebra GeoGebra GeoGebra Markus Hohenwarter GSP GeoGebra GSP GeoGebra GeoGebra
2 2


Wink! freeware GeoGebra) I: ? L: (Cinderella) 3D I: ? L: GeoGebra GeoGebra I: ? GeoGebra ? L: I: L: WINK WINK I: ? L: I: L: wink I: L: wink I: ? L: I: ? ? L: 3D Markus 3D I: ? L: word I: ? L: jpeg I: print screen? L: I: L: I: ?


L: I: ? L: I: ? L: GeoGebra I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L: wii I: ? ? L: I: GSP GSP ? L: GSP I: ? L: Cabri 3D GSP Cabri I: ? ? L: I: ? L: I: ? L:

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

I: Have you been using it in teaching? 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)


I: Do you use mostly in the geometry part or? 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?


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?


R: Some do. So I just sort of get students to recognise this. I try and get students recognise all sorts of different triangles.

I: What do you think normal teachers think about GeoGebra? 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.


I: So generally their attitudes towards ICT or software are positive? 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?


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: and this is the thread with explanations:

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.


I: Do you use in teaching in upper level? 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


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


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?


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


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.


Appendix II: A Matrix for Generating Theme-Based Assertions for Case

Finding Rated Important (adopted from Stake 2006, P. 51) Themes Teacher Background 1 12 years teaching experience Translator

Jay Finding I

Views on GeoGebra 2 Positive about GeoGebra

Software Evaluation 3 GSP and GeoGebra

Finding II Finding III

Li Finding I

Negative about ICT in general SA/ IT Negative about student attitude towards technology 1 2 13 years Positive about teaching GeoGebra experience

SketchUp GeoGebra

Ways of using GeoGebra 4 HomeResearch, Teaching portfolio and ClassroomDemonstration

Finding II

Finding III

Richard Finding I

Finding II

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 School website designer Positive about student attitude towards technology 1 2 12 years Balanced views teaching on GeoGebra experience Yacas GeoGebra and IT roomActivities Revision 4 and Homeresearch/ teaching material

Finding III

Tyler Finding I

3 Cabri GeoGebra


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 from from from from from April 2008 to to to to to from to from to May June - July 2008 2008

Preliminary classroom naturalistic observation Documentation- website pages, publications Semi-structured and in-depth interviews Teacher observations Analysing interviews Analysing supplementary data Writing up


Appendix IV: Informed Consent- England

St. Edmunds College 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.

With kindest regards and many thanks,

Yours sincerely, Yu-Wen Allison Lu


Appendix V: Informed Consent- Taiwan



Appendix VI: Sample Interview Protocol

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 How would you describe your experiences with 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?


Appendix VII: Jays Example of Geometrical Constructions



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


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).

x y 1, a b


| |, abslute value


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) x-2=0, x=2 x=2 2 y=|x2+x|-2 y=abs(x^2+x)-2 x2+x =0, x= -1, 0 x= -1, 0 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) 5. -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4

y = ax , : 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) ?


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



Appendix XI: Summary of Emerging Themes

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