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Supporting Teachers' Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge Of Fractions Through Co-Designing A Virtual Manipulative

Abstract

"This study explores the impact that co-designing a virtual manipulative, Fractions Lab, had on teachers' professional development. Tapping into an existing community of practice of mathematics specialist teachers, the study identifies how a cooperative enquiry approach utilising workshops and school-based visits challenged 23 competent primary school teachers' technological, pedagogical and content knowledge of fraction equivalence, addition and subtraction. Verbal and written data from the workshops alongside observations and interviews from the school visits were analysed using the technological, pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK) framework. The findings show that the assumptions of even experienced teachers were challenged when Fractions Lab was shared as an artefact on which they were asked to co-design and subsequently interact with, using it in subsequent phases of the cooperative inquiry process. Two original aspects of successful co-design of virtual manipulatives through communities of practice are identified and offered to others: (1) careful bootstrapping of the first design iteration that gathers intelligence about the content area and the technological affordances and constraints available; and (2) involvement of highly motivated teachers who perceive themselves as agents of change in the domain area."

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