Exploring differences in primary students’ geometry learning outcomes in two technology-enhanced environments: Dynamic geometry and 3D printing

Oi-Lam NG, Lian SHI, Fridolin Sze Thou TING

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: This paper compares the effects of two classroom-based technology-enhanced teaching interventions, conducted in two schools in sixth (age 11–12) grade. In one school, the intervention involves the use of a class set of 3D Printing Pens, and in another school the use of dynamic geometry environments, for inquiry-based learning of the relations among the number of vertices, edges, and faces of prisms and pyramids. An instrument was designed as guided by the van Hiele model of geometric thinking and administered to the two groups in the form of pretests, posttests, and delayed posttests to assess students’ prior knowledge before the intervention started, the learning outcomes obtained immediately after intervention, and the retention of knowledge after the interventions had been completed for a sustained period of time. The purpose of this study is to explore differences in geometry learning outcomes in two technology-enhanced environments, one that involves dynamic, visual representations of geometry and another that involves embodied actions of constructing physical 3D solids. 

Results: The results show that students using dynamic geometry improved at a higher rate than those using 3D Pens. On the other hand, students with the aid of 3D Pens demonstrated better retention of the properties of 3D solids than their dynamic geometry counterparts. Namely, the posttest results show that the dynamic geometry environment (DGE) group generally outperformed the 3D Pen group across categories. The observed outperformance by the DGE group on “advanced” implies that the DGE technology had a stronger effect on higher levels of geometric learning. However, the results from the ANCOVA suggest that the retention effect was more significant with 3D Pens. 

Conclusions: This study has established evidence that the DGE instructions produced strong but relatively temporary geometry learning outcomes, while 3D Pen instructions can help solidify that knowledge. The results of this study further shed light on the effect of visual and sensory-motor experiences on school mathematics learning and corroborate previous work showing that the effects of gesture are particularly good at promoting long-lasting learning. Copyright © 2020 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalInternational Journal of STEM Education
Volume7
Early online dateSep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Citation

Ng, O.-L., Shi, L., & Ting, F. (2020). Exploring differences in primary students’ geometry learning outcomes in two technology-enhanced environments: Dynamic geometry and 3D printing. International Journal of STEM Education, 7. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-020-00244-1

Keywords

  • Technology-enhanced learning
  • 3D printing
  • 3D pen
  • Dynamic geometry
  • Embodied cognition
  • Gestures
  • Mathematics education
  • Classroom interventions
  • ANCOVA

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