Students' engagement with technology-enhanced resources in first year non-specialist undergraduate mathematics modules

Ní Shé, Caitríona (2021) Students' engagement with technology-enhanced resources in first year non-specialist undergraduate mathematics modules.


While students undertaking first-year undergraduate mathematics modules report using technology-enhanced resources (YouTube, Khan Academy, Wolfram Alpha) for their studies, and lecturers invest time and effort into developing such resources using tools such as GeoGebra and Matlab, there has been little research on the factors that encourage students to engage with particular technology-enhanced resources or in what ways students use these resources to support their learning. While a recent OECD report found that an increase in the use of computers in mathematics in schools correlated negatively with students’ performance in mathematics, there are suggestions that the effectiveness of educational technology is not being adequately determined due to the lack of frameworks of evaluation. Additionally, more information regarding the implementation of the resources is required.
I worked as part of a team of academics from four higher education institutes in Ireland, who developed a suite of resources, called Technology-enhanced Resources for Mathematics Education (TeRMEd), for first-year non-specialist mathematics modules. My specialist role within the team was to evaluate the resources developed or implemented. The main aim of my research was to explore why, and in what way, first-year students engaged with these resources to support their learning for non-specialist mathematics modules and to determine what factors of the implementation environment impacted on this engagement. This research consisted of five stages: (1) literature review; (2) research design; (3) analysis of the TeRMEd evaluations; (4) development of the TeRMEd classification framework; and (5) supplementary investigations of first-year engineering students’ engagement with Matlab and other technology-enhanced resources. The outcomes of this research will inform mathematics educators on appropriate evaluation of technology-enhanced resources and on how best to implement them to ensure appropriate student engagement. The research will increase our knowledge on how students engage with technology-enhanced resources and will inform practice in the field.

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