Date of Award

7-22-2013

Document Type

Thesis and Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Department of Mathematics: Mathematics Education

First Advisor

Cynthia W. Langrall

Abstract

Examining Middle School Students' Statistical Thinking

While Working in a Technological Environment

Melissa Arnold Scranton

The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of how students think in a technological environment. This was accomplished by exploring the differences in the thinking of students while they worked in a technological environment and comparing this to their work in a paper and pencil environment. The software program TinkerPlots: Dynamic Data Exploration (Konold & Miller, 2005), a construction tool that middle school students use for data analysis was the technological environment. In both environments, types of critical, creative, and statistical thinking were characterized. Two research questions were addressed: (i) How does the critical and creative thinking of middle school students using the software program Tinkerplots differ from their thinking while using a traditional paper and pencil format? (ii) How does the statistical thinking of middle school students using the software program Tinkerplots differ from their statistical thinking while using a traditional paper and pencil format? In order to answer the research questions students in grades 6 and 7 engaged in two tasks; one worked using the Tinkerplots software and the other worked using paper and pencil. This study was guided by the interplay of two theoretical perspectives. First, was the use of the technology acting as an intellectual partner with the user, lending itself to the support of cognitive processes (Salomon, 1990). Second, was the concept of a computer functioning as a Mindtool, that is, a computer application that engages students in critical thinking (Jonassen, 2000). The findings of this study indicate that Tinkerplots appears to be a valuable asset in enhancing student's statistical thinking.

Comments

Imported from ProQuest Scranton_ilstu_0092E_10036.pdf

Page Count

262