Students’ development of mathematical meanings while participating vicariously in conversations between other students in instructional videos

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Department of Mathematical Sciences


Although interest in using videos in educational settings has surged in recent years, researchers know little about what mathematical meanings students develop from watching these videos or how they do so. To contribute to this gap in the research, we examined how two students appropriated mathematical meanings from instructional videos. In contrast to typical instructional videos, which rely heavily on an expert's exposition, the videos in our study featured the unscripted conversation of two high school students as they engaged with novel mathematical problems. This allowed us to examine how other students watching the videos coordinated meanings expressed by both the video participants and each other, including meanings that were initially incorrect or incomplete. To analyze these data, we adopted a Bakhtinian-inspired lens, which allowed us to conceptualize meaning as emerging from the relationships among multiple voices. Additionally, the appropriation of meanings from the videos was not straightforward. Instead, we found evidence of the repetition (mimicry) of words and actions from the video participants, revision, resistance, and the invocation of previously-appropriated voices, before the students were able to make the meanings expressed in the videos their own.

Publication Title

Journal of Mathematical Behavior