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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Google your math : sustaining a sociocultural environment through collaborative online participation in algebra

  • Author(s): Samaniego, Kimberly Anne OBrien
  • et al.

This curricular project explores how students used Google online environments to sustain the aspects of sociocultural learning through student collaboration and dialogue instrumental in the math classroom. The students in this project were from two tenth-grade Algebra 1 classes in a culturally diverse San Diego public high school. Using knowledge-building principles, online dialogue and collaborative activities were created to increase student practice of algebra at home and to increase both conceptual understanding and procedural fluency. Theories of motivation regarding student choice, flexible environments, and receiving feedback were integral factors in this project design. The research found the online Google environments equitably accessed by all students - particularly students with learning disabilities and students from minority populations. Additionally, more students practiced algebra at home during implementation. The data showed that students used Google activities for knowledge sharing and problem solving in math. The results from pre and post- implementation assessments found the greatest overall improvement from students who participated online as well as evidence of narrowing achievement gaps in mathematical performances between student populations. While Google was not a substitute for classroom instruction, it did promote student peripheral participation (Lave and Wenger, 1991) in a learning community for algebra. The activities described in this project are not specific to algebra but can be applied to other math class as well as to different subject areas

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