This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Effect of Technological Representations on Developmental Mathematics Students' Understanding of Functions




Garrett, Lauretta

Type of Degree



Curriculum and Teaching


The use of technology in mathematics education has been strongly encouraged by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 2000) and the American Association of Two-year Colleges (AMATYC, 2006). Researchers have envisioned technology’s potential in grand ways, including democratization of access to higher mathematics (Kaput, 1994). There are challenges to the realization of that dream. For example, innovation in technological advances often outpaces the evaluation of how those advances can be best applied (Epper & Baker, 2009).The need for improved use of technology in adult developmental mathematics education has been documented (Caverly, Collins, DeMarais, Otte, & Thomas, 2000; Epper & Baker, 2009). At the same time, adult developmental mathematics students’ need for support and help to realize their educational dreams is a vital current issue (Bryk & Treisman, 2010). This study seeks to provide insight into how the use of mathematics technology affects the internal mathematical representations possessed by adult developmental mathematics students. It is hoped that such insight may provide teachers of adult developmental mathematics students with research based understanding which will aid them in incorporating the use of technology. Open recruitment was done on the campus of a mid-sized university in the southern United States. One subject was interviewed 7 times and then a second subject was interviewed 6 times. Each interview was video taped with three feeds to capture the subjects’ interactions with both paper and technology and to record the subject’s movement and facial expressions. Qualitative analysis was done with the aid of Atlas.ti software during and after data collection. Each case was considered separately, compared and contrasted and merged results were also considered. Results suggest ways in which technology can impact student thinking.