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Plenary 2

Learning Mathematics Through Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL): Potentials and Challenges

Tan Seng Chee
Associate Dean
National Institute of Education
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 



This talk focuses on the use of technology to support learning of mathematics, specifically, the use of computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) for learning mathematics. Among various technologies for education, the use of CSCL only began to gain traction in the late 90s. While the predominant computer-assisted instruction programs tend to focus on taking the roles of teachers to provide instructions, usually for individual learning, CSCL breaks away from this approach by providing a platform that encourages interactions and dialogues among learners, which is regarded as key mechanisms leading to effective learning. Pertinent questions arise for learning of mathematics with CSCL: Does CSCL has a place for mathematics learning? What values do CSCL contribute to the learning of mathematics? This talk aims to answer these questions by reviewing research studies and theoretical perspectives. Several examples from research reports will be discussed. One example is the use of an online forum (Knowledge Forum) by Grade 4 Canadian students, who explored multiple rules for generalizing problems and were able to revise their rules through peer interactions. While CSCL can support learning of mathematics, mathematics has also been used to enhance CSCL tools. Developers of Knowledge Forum, for example, are equipping this online platform with learning analytics, which allow teachers and students to visualize their online interaction and behavioral patterns. Using CSCL for learning of mathematics, however, has its own challenges. For example, given the symbolic representation is an important part of mathematics learning, most generic CSCL tools may not support representation of mathematical symbols well, and consequently compromise the usability of the CSCL tools. More critically, there could be limited awareness of how CSCL could support learning of mathematics. 


sc tan 2014 newAssociate Professor Dr. Tan Seng Chee
National Institute of Education
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 

Tan Seng Chee is the Acting co-director of the Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU) at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and an Associate Dean with the Graduate Studies and Professional Learning Office at the National Institute of Education.  He earned his Ph.D. in Instructional Systems from the Pennsylvania State University and joined Nanyang Technological University in 2000. Prior to the appointment in CRADLE, he has taken on different roles related to advancing the use of ICT in education, including the Head of Learning Sciences and Technologies academic group in the National Institute of Education and an Assistant Director in the Educational Technology Division in the Ministry of Education. He has taught courses on instructional design and learning sciences at graduate level and has conducted professional courses for organizations such as MOE and MINDEF. His research interests include Computer-Supported        Collaborative Learning, knowledge creation in education, and teacher education. His most recent publications include the book “Knowledge Creation in Education” (Springer, 2014) and “Pushing the Frontier: A cohesive system-wide approach to integrating ICT into education.” (Springer, 2017).


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