On Saturday November 17th I visited the second day of the BSRLM conference (British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics). I’ve become a member as it’s ‘the place to be’ for maths education research. This time the conference was in Cambridge, and apparently I was the only one tweeting #bsrlm.
The first session I attended was by Anne Berit Fuglestadt from the university of Agder (soon, homebase of a Dutch researcher I know). She reported about teachers discussing inquiry-based teaching with digital tools.
The second half of the session consisted of discussions on instrumental and documentational genesis (The French School, Trouche is an important name). This was fitting, as one PhD student I (co-)supervise is studying instrumentation as underpinning framework for her study.
The second session was an interesting take on use of the Livescribe pen. At first it seemed as if the study, done by Hickman and Monaghan, seemed a bit of a waste of the livescribe pen. Emphasis was put on the audio recording facilities.
Luckily, as I could have expected, they did more with the pen. The pens were used to record student work while ‘thinking aloud’ and these materials (a sort of screencasts of what was written) were used for a combination of stimulated recall and task-based interviews (e.g. Goldin, 1997). Hickman showed some discourse by primary students that was recorded with the pen. It was nice to see student work being ‘constructed’ instead of just having static scans of their work. It also was nice that we could try out the pen ourselves. I did think more can be done with even the older generation of pens. For example, Dragon Naturally Speaking does doe a decent job of transcribing voice, just as long as it is trained to recognize it. It will certainly cut the amount of time you need for transcribing an hours worth of audio.
Another application to use would be Myscript, from the same company that brings a great online equation recognizer. The latest version of the pen also boasts Wifi and Evernote integration, so it looks interesting. It will certainly be worthwhile to check out this for our SKE+ group. A follow-up discussion could be whether these devices will eventually become obsolete if tablet technology with styli, like the Galaxy Note, takes off.