Using Intranets to foster statistical problem posing and critiquing in secondary mathematics classrooms

American Educational Research Association
Cudmore, D. H., & English, L. D.
San Diego, CA

This paper reports on technological aspects of an ongoing international study in which secondary students engage in authentic data inquiries involving posing, sharing, and critiquing of statistical word problems. This is part of a larger study, which aims to (1) investigate developments in students' statistical understanding and reasoning processes as they engage in authentic data investigations involving data modeling, statistical problem posing, and problem critiquing, (2) foster students' awareness and appreciation of the influence of cultural factors in the statistical understandings of their international peers, (3) investigate the use of Web-based Intranets to enable schools connected to the Internet to conduct collaborative statistical investigations with students from other countries, and (4) use the findings of the study to develop a conceptual model of students growth of statistical understanding. In this paper, we focus on aim #3 and consider our developing experience in using semiprivate sites on the World Wide Web to facilitate activities in which students both publish mathematics problems that they have created and provide structured comments on problems posed by their local or international peers. To date, we have conducted a series of exploratory case studies in classrooms in England, Australia and Canada in which students posed and shared problems involving measures of central tendency (mean, median and mode). The problems were based on the results of an authentic, international dataset which they helped to create. The purpose of this paper is to discuss issues that have emerged in our present application of computer-mediated communication for fostering mathematical problem posing and critiquing. More specifically, we consider the following issues: the emergence of the Intranet design over the initial phase of the research project, the impact of the Intranet design on the effectiveness of computer-mediated communication in the key stages of the project, and the implications for subsequent Intranet designs for networked collaborative problem-posing activities.