THE MATH TOOLS PROJECT
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The evaluation of the Math Tools project will be composed of four parts,
- formative evaluation to guide the development of the Tools Web site and its ability to attract users,
- questionnaire to assess how the implementation of the Web site is being received by users,
- interviews with teachers and developers in the summer tPOW workshops as well as interviews with a sample of teachers about the usefulness of the tPOWs and the Math Tools Web site, and
- assessment of students' mathematical thinking using the tools developed in the tPOW workshops.
- Formative evaluation will utilize the following collaborative process developed at the Math Forum by K. Ann Renninger and Wesley Shumar. Math Forum staff will have a focus group meeting every six months throughout the project. The purpose of the focus groups will be to review the site design, the best way to effectively meet user needs, how design can serve to encourage usage of tools and more learning interactions. The outcome of the sessions will be a set of measurable short-term goals and a set of longer term goals. In addition, questions about user needs will be drafted for the user questionnaires and the teacher interviews. After the first meeting, each focus group will assess progress on short-term goals and readjust long-term goals.
- An online questionnaire will be developed specifically for the Math Tools Web site. The questionnaire will be mounted online for a two-week period and ask users to volunteer to respond. The questionnaire will address questions about the value of the tool, the ease of usage, the ability to find tools and navigate the site, the process of integrating tools into lessons and learning processes. Data from the questionnaires will be analyzed and presented back to the next focus group meeting.
- The interview project will involve two separate but related interview samples. The first will be a random sample of teachers who agree to use the Math Tools site and integrate tools into their classes. These teachers will be interviewed to get a more detailed, personal look at the problems and successes they face when attempting to integrate these technologies into their classes. It will also offer insight into the value of the interactive aspects of the site for their teaching and their own learning.
The second interview sample will be drawn from the teachers and developers at the tPOW workshops. These teachers and developers will be interviewed in order to further assess the ways the creation of intentional online community can foster improved work in the development of tools for math education. The Math Forum already has considerable experience in this area through the ESCOT POW workshops.
- Assessment of student learning through change in mathematical thinking will be done following the work at the Math Forum on the ESCOT POW and the other POW services. Analysis of students' mathematical thinking, approach to the problem, and guessing strategy in work with the EPOWs will be studied. Independent variables included students' interest for mathematics, feelings of self-efficacy as a learner of mathematics, competence, standardized achievement scores, and gender
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