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Examining the perceived impact of technology on teacher-student math discussions in early elementary classrooms


The quality of mathematics instruction has been the subject of greater scrutiny as an increasing number of external measures compare American students with students internationally. Scholars and teachers agree that improvement in the quality of mathematics education in the United States is crucial to maintaining a high level of competitiveness for American students. This mandate has intensified the search for instructional techniques to help improve math achievement, and technology is often at the center of this discussion. The increased presence and diversity of digital tools in the classroom offers the opportunity to improve math instruction by allowing teachers to employ diverse instructional strategies that center around the teacher-student relationship. Technology-supported learning environments have been predicted to increase student math achievement, but research findings have been mixed. It is still too early to dismiss this approach as unsuccessful. These technologies hold tremendous promise if they can be designed and executed in a way that meets educational goals. This qualitative study investigated the perceptions of teachers as they engaged in cognitively guided instruction math activity using digital tools to support math discussions. The findings from this study help provide a more nuanced understanding of the role teacher perceptions play when using a digital tool to support math discussions. These results may serve to help schools design professional development with more practical and research-based expectations for producing change in teacher practice, ultimately leading to improvements in student math learning outcomes.

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