Newswise — Boise State researchers have been awarded a $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support innovation in middle- and high-school math teacher preparation. The four-year grant allows the research team to develop a series of video-based online learning modules to be used in an undergraduate mathematics course for future secondary math teachers.

“This project aims to improve prospective teachers’ ability to recognize, analyze and make connections between students’ ideas in functional reasoning contexts,” said Laurie Cavey, principal investigator of the project. “The concept of function is a critical component in current standards for teaching mathematics, yet many students leave high school with serious limitations in their ability to reason with functions. The type of mathematical knowledge teachers need to build a robust understanding in their students is often inadequately developed through existing coursework.”


Portrait of Jason Libberton.

Jason Libberton

The Boise State research team includes Cavey, an associate professor of mathematics; Patrick Lowenthal, an associate professor of educational technology; Michele Carney, an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction and foundational studies; and Tatia Totorica, a clinical instructor in the IDoTeach program. They are joined by Jason Libberton, an Idaho regional math specialist with Idaho State University.

The project will design and use video-based learning environments and online components to help prospective teachers better understand and respond to student thinking. This will make teachers better equipped to hone students’ informal and formal reasoning related to key mathematical ideas, including students’ thinking about functions.

Using a design-based research methodology, the first two years of this project will focus on the development and testing of four video modules in an undergraduate mathematics course designed for prospective mathematics teachers.

The final two years of the project will focus on the dissemination and implementation of these modules at UTeach institutions. The completed module series will provide teacher education programs a meaningful, research-based and easily-implemented way to integrate mathematical content specific to teaching within existing mathematics curricula while simultaneously increasing well-designed hybrid learning opportunities at the undergraduate level.

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