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Digital Photography in Mathematics Classrooms

My current research interest concerns improving teaching and learning of mathematics especially for students with special needs, namely those identified as Emotionally Disturbed and Learning Disabled, in the NYC system. My research interest involves the use of digital photography to document cultural artifacts in communities that may support mathematics instruction in the classroom.  This project will focus on how students use photography as a visual manipulative to enhance their learning.

My initial thoughts of my project will focus on “modes of learning within and outside the classroom”.  This project will be part of my proposal for my dissertation. My end goal is to integrate photography as a “media product” for students to appropriate geometric concepts and have better understandings of these concepts. Students will do most of the work by capturing cultural artifacts using digital cameras, which will then be uploaded into Geometer Sketchpad for classroom instruction. We will also employ video recordings during classroom instruction to document teaching and learning may be used for professional development at a later date.

Posted in Project Concepts.

One Response

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  1. Christopher Stein says

    The problem, unsaid but not surprising, is that students with special needs aren’t learning math as well as you would like, and that traditional instruction isn’t cutting it. Is that correct? Does it need to be backed up in any way?

    I’d like to hear more about why you chose photography. What is it about photography and the cultural artifacts that makes you think their worth basing a project around?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, your project is using the tools of digital photography and Geometer’s Sketchpad to increase students use and understanding of geometry. In some ways the product would be a lesson plan or pedagogy that includes the use of the tools.

    Do you think it is important that the students take the pictures themselves and in their communities? Is it important that Sketchpad is used, or are there alternatives?

    I’m assuming you’re going to use students where you currently teach. Is there a specific class or group of students? Will you be the teacher or will there be other teacher’s involved?

    I’m not familiar with Sketchpad but from a quick look it seems to be commercial desktop software. So photos will have to be loaded onto the computer and then imported into Sketchpad? One of the big logistical considerations is the digital cameras. Do you have this planned out yet? Are you distributing them or do they have access to their own?

    The basic flow seems to be 1)take pictures, 2)download to comptuer, 3)import to Sketchpad, 4)explore with Sketchpad. Let us know if it is different somehow.
    Although Sketchpad is a desktop application and photos will have to be loaded into the computer, I might also suggest using a site like to post pictures as well. This will give a place for them to be saved and can also let people see each other’s pictures and comment on them. You may also consider getting the students to do screenshots of their work in Sketchpad.

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