Several small-scale experimental classroom studies Star and Rittle-Johnson demonstrate the value of comparison in mathematics learning: Students who learned by comparing and contrasting alternative solution methods made greater gains in conceptual knowledge, procedural knowledge, and flexibility than those who studied the same solution methods one at a time. This study will extend that prior work by developing, piloting, and then evaluating the impact of comparison on students' learning of mathematics in a full-year algebra course.
This project is using Second Life and other technology to structure carefully planned learning experiences for pre-service teachers. Virtual technologies are used to provide pre-service teachers practice in presenting and assessing problem solving activities in a virtual classroom with diverse populations. Researchers hypothesize that technology enriched strategies have the potential to deepen pre-service teachers' understanding and effectiveness in teaching emerging algebra concepts to diverse student populations.