Students’ Learning by Means of Spreadsheet Simulations: The Case of Probability

By Wajeeh Daher.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Two preservice teachers used spreadsheets simulations of probability concepts to allow four eighth grade students study these concepts. The probability concepts were basic ones: the probability of an outcome, the probability of an event, the probability of an empty set, the sample space and the probability of the sample space. The representations which the spreadsheets allowed facilitated the students’ construction of mathematical knowledge. Furthermore they facilitated their conversation about this knowledge, and so helped them negotiate their knowledge until they arrived at agreed one. The experience enriched the students’ learning and the preservice teachers’ teaching methods. It influenced the preservice teachers’ teaching experience because they were introduced, through the spreadsheets assignment to teaching mathematics through a simulation built with an open tool available in every school. The preservice teachers reported that they were impressed from the students’ motivation and eagerness to learn mathematics with spreadsheets and from their own little interference in this learning. So they would probably use in the future the spreadsheets as one of their teaching tools. This would also open the preservice teachers to new technological tools that could be integrated in mathematics teaching and learning.
The experiment which this article describes implies the importance of using technological tools which facilitate mathematical representations, like the spreadsheets, in the mathematics classroom to assist the students in constructing their knowledge and the teachers to direct their students’ mathematical learning.

Keywords: Spreadsheets, Technological Tools, Mathematics Education, Probability Concepts

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp.283-294. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.398MB).

Dr. Wajeeh Daher

Head, Department of Mathematics, Al-Qasemi Academic College of Education, Nazareth, Israel, Israel

I have academic degrees in mathematics, mathematics education, technological education, economics and accounting. My interests vary from scientific zones to Literature. My research interests include distance learning, alternative methods to teach mathematics and teachers’ education. I wrote articles that probe the using of technology in the mathematics classroom, the using of history in the mathematics classroom and the using of literature and language. I practiced and researched distance learning. Nowadays I participate with another colleague in introducing the cellular phone into the middle school mathematics classroom and in finding the influence of this introduction on students learning. I believe in life-long learning as well as in life long self renewing. Self renewing can be done through adapting new technologies and media in our learning and everyday practices.

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