Effects of attitudes and behaviours on learning mathematics with computer tools

Paul A. Kirschner, Helen Reed, Paul Drijvers

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    This mixed-methods study investigates the effects of student attitudes and behaviours on the outcomes of learning mathematics with computer tools. A computer tool was used to help students develop the mathematical concept of function. In the whole sample (N = 521), student attitudes could account for a 3.4 point difference in test scores between individuals on a 10-point scale. General attitude towards mathematics positively predicted test scores. However, more able students who were well-disposed towards mathematical computer tools achieved lower scores. Self-reported behaviours were unrelated to test scores. Detailed observation of a small number of students (N = 8) revealed that positive attitudes towards mathematics and mathematical computer tools augmented exhibited learning behaviours, and that both a positive attitude to mathematical computer tools and exhibited learning behaviours benefited tool mastery. Although tool mastery and test scores are intimately related, reflective processes appear to mediate this relationship. Promoting learning with mathematical computer tools needs to take several factors into account, including improving student attitudes, raising levels of learning behaviours, and giving sufficient opportunity for constructing new mathematical knowledge within meaningful mathematical discourse.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    JournalComputers & Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


    • Applications in subject areas
    • Improving classroom teaching
    • Interactive learning environments
    • Pedagogical issues
    • Secondary education


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