Supporting students' productive collaboration and mathematics learning in online environments

Arthur B. Powell, Muteb M. Alqahtani, Balvir Singh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Digital technologies provide a wide range of tools and functions that can support students' learning of mathematics as well as the development of their mathematical and collaborative practices. Bringing such technologies to mathematics classrooms often do not parallel students' previous classroom experiences, especially when collaborative practices are emphasized. When facilitating mathematics learning, discrepancies between students' previous classroom experiences and their expected engagement with new collaborative technologies result in challenges to which teachers need to attend. In this chapter, we describe how a high school mathematics teacher engaged his students in an online collaborative environment, Virtual Math Team with GeoGebra (VMTwG), and how he addressed students' technological and collaborative challenges to support growth in their geometrical understanding. From a cultural historical perspective, we present a model of how teachers can support students' instrumentation of collaborative environments and mathematical understanding. In our model, during a mathematical activity, teachers progressively decentralize their role and, simultaneously, support students' development and performance of collaborative practices. This model informs the theory of instrumental orchestration (Trouche L, Interact Comput 15(6):783-800, 2003; Trouche L, Int J Comput Math Learn 9(3):281-307, 2004; Trouche L, Instrumental genesis, individual and social aspects. The didactical challenge of symbolic calculators. Springer, New York, pp 197-230, 2005) by providing a pedagogical intervention trajectory that supports students' instrumental genesis (Rabardel P, Beguin P, Theor Issues in Ergon Sci 6(5): 29-461, 2005) of collaborative mathematical environments and shifts students' focus from their teacher to their peer collaborators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSTEM Education in the Junior Secondary
Subtitle of host publicationThe State of Play
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9789811054488
ISBN (Print)9789811054471
StatePublished - Aug 9 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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