Research interests

My current research interests (and projects) are quite broad. I contemplated whether this would indicate a lack of focus but no, I think the threads through all of this are mathematics education and research methods.

My original background is in mathematics education. I am particularly interested in procedural fluency and conceptual understanding, and the link with cognitive psychology. bl2Algorithms are powerful procedures that are sometimes under-rated. Technology can be a useful addition to (mathematics) education but it is important that we find out the contexts in which it works well or does not work well. The careful design of (maths) interventions is an important aspect for success, and I’ve written on formative scenarios, crises and feedback.

I am involved in several projects involving maths and technology. The EU MC-squared project aims to use Social Creativity and Creative Mathematical Thinking in digital maths book called c-books. I am also leading a British Academy IPM project enGasia  in which we do a comparative study of three countries, England, Hong Kong and Japan to see how technology could improve geometry education. I am re-analyzing some of my PhD in some growth curve analysis. Finally, I am collaborating with psychology on work on mental rotation skills and soon, hopefully, the processing difficulty of maths assessment items. bl1

I have also developed an interest in large-scale assessment. I am specialized in analyzing data sets with a complex sampling design. This concerns datasets from the OECD (like PISA, PIAAC and TALIS) and the IEA (like TIMSS and ICILS). I especially study the TIMSS study for its focus on maths and science. At the moment I am doing multiple analyses and writing multiple publication on TIMSS data.

My background in maths and computer science makes me very interested in methodologies that are on the (multidisciplinary) boundary of these two fields. I use Social Network Analysis (SNA) and am finishing an interdisciplinary proof-of-concept in which I develbl3oped a methodology for modelling classroom interaction. The SNA approach is also used in a project on longitudinal peer networks with maths and science teacher trainees. Finally, text and data mining techniques are used to perform text analyses. One particular dataset for this text mining concerns OFSTED inspection reports and documents.

I have extensive knowledge of quantitative methods like multilevel models, SEM and GLM, and have knowledge of Bayesian statistics. I try to use R for most of this (but also HLM). I further use many qualitative methods but as my projects show, I would like to see how computational methods could be helpful here (SNA, text mining).

A more hobby element concerns everything connected to games.

I supervise PhD/EdD students who:

  • Look at logfiles in games for creativity
  • Design mathematical handwriting recognition software;
  • Analyze IEA ICCS on civic education;
  • Look at how Minecraft could be used for teaching geography;
  • Study the use of VLE’s at two Higher Education instutions;
  • Design and implement a critical thinking intervention (quasi-experimental design) in Pakistan;
  • Look at classroom interaction;
  • Did a mixed method study into blended learning;

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