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Examining Elementary Teachers' Enactment of Digital Instructional Materials for Mathematics

Research Team


Principal Investigator: Amanda Thomas

Funding Information

Funding Agency: Office of Research and Economic Development—Layman Award

Award Date: May 1, 2017

End Date: Dec 31, 2019


Digital technology has the potential to transform mathematics teaching and learning. Teachers can optimize this potential by selecting digital instructional materials that fit the curriculum and implementing them in the classroom.

This study examines the differences between teachers’ plans for such material and what actually happens in the classroom. It also evaluates how teachers’ knowledge, beliefs and actions change after completing a course on technology use for elementary mathematics teaching.

Ten to 15 elementary school teachers are participating in the study. These teachers will enroll in a weeklong summer graduate course, which will focus on technology for elementary mathematics teaching and learning. Before and after the course, and then a third time during the school year, the teachers will complete surveys to measure their content, pedagogical and technological knowledge, as well as their beliefs on teaching and learning, curriculum and technology.

After completing the summer course, each teacher will be observed teaching two classroom lessons and will be interviewed for approximately 30 minutes after each lesson. Data from the surveys, observers’ notes of lessons, interviews and teachers’ written reflections will be used to answer three specific research questions:

  1. How do teachers’ knowledge and beliefs related to technology, mathematics and pedagogy change after taking a course focused on technology use for elementary mathematics?
  2. In what ways do teachers — who have taken a course focused on technology use for elementary mathematics — use digital instructional materials during classroom mathematics instruction?
  3. What is the relationship between elementary teachers’ intended use of digital instructional materials and how they implement them in the classroom?
The research will help provide insight into technology and curriculum implementation in the classroom and will help pave the way for further study.

Academic Intervention & Learning