M. Lugalia, S. Johnston-Wilder, J. Goodall

University of Warwick (UNITED KINGDOM)
Reports of impact of ICT on learning suggest that the impact has not always been positive, and certainly not as positive as was initially suggested it would be. Luckin et al (2012) posit that what is needed is a fundamental shift in pedagogy, a shift that transforms teaching and learning by focussing on the learning experience.

Grid Algebra is an example of educational software whose design is underpinned with theory about learning (Hewitt 2009). In this paper, we explore the changes in learning mathematics experienced by Kenyan students given a brief course using Grid Algebra. We examine the impact on 45 of the students over a one month period within the course, showing ways in which understanding was improved and the experience was more positive for the learners.

We use the construct of 'mathematical resilience' (Johnston-Wilder and Lee 2010), a description of what is required to promote effective learning of mathematics, to analyse why this example of ICT use was effective. In this way, we explore what theory says about mathematical activities using ICT that are likely to add positively to a learner's experience of mathematics and their consequent attainment. We also identify some features of mathematical activities using ICT that would be expected to reinforce mathematical helplessness and anxiety.

Our analysis leads us particularly to emphasise the role of the social setting within which the ICT is used. We comment on the nature of the ICT environment and we note the critical role played by the feedback provided by the software for the learner. In conclusion we make some observations about the required pedagogy and how the software design relates to this.