Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 74

Search results for: mathematics competences

74 Limits Problem Solving in Engineering Careers: Competences and Errors

Authors: Veronica Diaz Quezada

Abstract:

In this article, the performance and errors are featured and analysed in the limit problems solving of a real-valued function, in correspondence to competency-based education in engineering careers, in the south of Chile. The methodological component is contextualised in a qualitative research, with a descriptive and explorative design, with elaboration, content validation and application of quantitative instruments, consisting of two parallel forms of open answer tests, based on limit application problems. The mathematical competences and errors made by students from five engineering careers from a public University are identified and characterized. Results show better performance only to solve routine-context problem-solving competence, thus they are oriented towards a rational solution or they use a suitable problem-solving method, achieving the correct solution. Regarding errors, most of them are related to techniques and the incorrect use of theorems and definitions of real-valued function limits of real variable.

Keywords: Engineering education, errors, limits, mathematics competences, problem solving.

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73 Key Competences in Economics and Business Field: The Employers’ Side of the Story

Authors: Bruno Škrinjarić

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Rapid technological developments and increase in organizations’ interdependence on international scale are changing the traditional workplace paradigm. A key feature of knowledge based economy is that employers are looking for individuals that possess both specific academic skills and knowledge, and also capability to be proactive and respond to problems creatively and autonomously. The focus of this paper is workers with Economics and Business background and its goals are threefold: (1) to explore wide range of competences and identify which are the most important to employers; (2) to investigate the existence and magnitude of gap between required and possessed level of a certain competency; and (3) to inquire how this gap is connected with performance of a company. A study was conducted on a representative sample of Croatian enterprises during the spring of 2016. Results show that generic, rather than specific, competences are more important to employers and the gap between the relative importance of certain competence and its current representation in existing workforce is greater for generic competences than for specific. Finally, results do not support the hypothesis that this gap is correlated with firms’ performance.

Keywords: Competency gap, competency matching, key competences, firm performance.

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72 Leadership Competences: The Case of Slovenian Healthcare

Authors: Helena Kovačič, Andrej Rus

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The authors of this paper compared ratings for leadership competences of managers in the healthcare sector and professional managers in Slovenia. Managers’ competence scores were analyzed for Slovenia and compared with some other EU countries. Comparisons of correlations yielded significant differences in leader/non-leader healthcare professionals in their relational competences. Cross-cultural comparisons also point to these differences in many countries included in the survey. Comparing these managers with the professional managers, one of the relational competences significantly distinguishes the two groups, namely the competence of taking initiative in establishing contacts with experts outside the organization. What is surprising from our analysis is the high number of competences that significantly differentiate leaders in healthcare from professional managers. Empirically based assessment provided a robust method for assessing and comparing leadership competences and point out significant results for leadership development.

Keywords: Leadership, competences, healthcare.

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71 Integrating Competences into Work Planning – The Influence of Competence-Based Parameters on Strategic Business Objectives

Authors: G. Meyer, M. Klewer, P. Nyhuis

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Constantly changing economic conditions require companies to design their production to be more economical, innovative, and flexible. Since workers have a decisive influence on cost, time, and quality, e.g. by monitoring indicators that determine quality, by developing processes more resistant to disturbances, or by monitoring environmental standards, a focus on personnel as a production factor is needed. This presupposes the efficient use and systematic enhancement of employees’ existing competences since greater consideration of these aspects in work planning will help to enhance competitiveness. The aim of the research project ‘Integrated Technology- and Competence-based Work Planning in Socio-Technical Systems’ is to develop a new work planning method that combines technology with work science by incorporating employees’ skills as a quality indicator. For employee competences to increase competitiveness, it is first of all necessary to assess how competences affect cost, time, and quality. A model for deriving predictions about the effects of competence-based parameters on these strategic business objectives is developed in this paper.

Keywords: Competence management, education and training, employee competences, one-factor-at-a-time method, work planning.

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70 Prospective Mathematics Teachers' Views about Using Flash Animations in Mathematics Lessons

Authors: Esra Bukova-Güzel, Berna Cantürk-Günhan

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The purpose of the study is to determine secondary prospective mathematics teachers- views related to using flash animations in mathematics lessons and to reveal how the sample presentations towards different mathematical concepts altered their views. This is a case study involving three secondary prospective mathematics teachers from a state university in Turkey. The data gathered from two semi-structural interviews. Findings revealed that these animations help understand mathematics meaningfully, relate mathematics and real world, visualization, and comprehend the importance of mathematics. The analysis of the data indicated that the sample presentations enhanced participants- views about using flash animations in mathematics lessons.

Keywords: Instructional technology, animations, prospective mathematics teachers.

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69 Integrating Technology into Mathematics Education: A Case Study from Primary Mathematics Students Teachers

Authors: Berna Cantürk-Günhan, Esra Bukova-Güzel

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The purpose of the study is to determine the primary mathematics student teachers- views related to use instructional technology tools in course of the learning process and to reveal how the sample presentations towards different mathematical concepts affect their views. This is a qualitative study involving twelve mathematics students from a public university. The data gathered from two semi-structural interviews. The first one was realized in the beginning of the study. After that the representations prepared by the researchers were showed to the participants. These representations contain animations, Geometer-s Sketchpad activities, video-clips, spreadsheets, and power-point presentations. The last interview was realized at the end of these representations. The data from the interviews and content analyses were transcribed and read and reread to explore the major themes. Findings revealed that the views of the students changed in this process and they believed that the instructional technology tools should be used in their classroom.

Keywords: Integrating Technology, Mathematics Education, Primary Education, Teacher Education.

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68 Multivariate Assessment of Mathematics Test Scores of Students in Qatar

Authors: Ali Rashash Alzahrani, Elizabeth Stojanovski

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Data on various aspects of education are collected at the institutional and government level regularly. In Australia, for example, students at various levels of schooling undertake examinations in numeracy and literacy as part of NAPLAN testing, enabling longitudinal assessment of such data as well as comparisons between schools and states within Australia. Another source of educational data collected internationally is via the PISA study which collects data from several countries when students are approximately 15 years of age and enables comparisons in the performance of science, mathematics and English between countries as well as ranking of countries based on performance in these standardised tests. As well as student and school outcomes based on the tests taken as part of the PISA study, there is a wealth of other data collected in the study including parental demographics data and data related to teaching strategies used by educators. Overall, an abundance of educational data is available which has the potential to be used to help improve educational attainment and teaching of content in order to improve learning outcomes. A multivariate assessment of such data enables multiple variables to be considered simultaneously and will be used in the present study to help develop profiles of students based on performance in mathematics using data obtained from the PISA study.

Keywords: Cluster analysis, education, mathematics, profiles.

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67 Theory of Fractions in College Algebra Course

Authors: Alexander Y. Vaninsky

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The paper compares the treatment of fractions in a typical undergraduate college curriculum and in abstract algebra textbooks. It stresses that the main difference is that the undergraduate curriculum treats equivalent fractions as equal, and this treatment eventually leads to paradoxes and impairs the students- ability to perceive ratios, proportions, radicals and rational exponents adequately. The paper suggests a simplified version of rigorous theory of fractions suitable for regular college curriculum.

Keywords: Fractions, mathematics curriculum, mathematics education, teacher preparation

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66 The Use of Different Methodological Approaches to Teaching Mathematics at Secondary Level

Authors: M. Rodionov, N. Sharapova, Z. Dedovets

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The article describes methods of preparation of future teachers that includes the entire diversity of traditional and computer-oriented methodological approaches. The authors reveal how, in the specific educational environment, a teacher can choose the most effective combination of educational technologies based on the nature of the learning task. The key conditions that determine such a choice are that the methodological approach corresponds to the specificity of the problem being solved and that it is also responsive to the individual characteristics of the students. The article refers to the training of students in the proper use of mathematical electronic tools for educational purposes. The preparation of future mathematics teachers should be a step-by-step process, building on specific examples. At the first stage, students optimally solve problems aided by electronic means of teaching. At the second stage, the main emphasis is on modeling lessons. At the third stage, students develop and implement strategies in the study of one of the topics within a school mathematics curriculum. The article also recommended the implementation of this strategy in preparation of future teachers and stated the possible benefits.

Keywords: Computer-oriented approach, traditional approach, future teachers, mathematics, lesson, students, education.

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65 Mathematics Anxiety among Male and Female Students

Authors: Wern Lin Yeo, Choo Kim Tan, Sook Ling Lew

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The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship of anxiety level between male and female undergraduates at a private university in Malaysia. Convenient sampling method used in this study in which the students were selected based on the grouping assigned by the faculty. There were 214 undergraduates who registered the probability courses had participated in this study. Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale (MARS) was the instrument used in study which used to determine students’ anxiety level towards probability. Reliability and validity of instrument was done before the major study was conducted. In the major study, students were given briefing about the study conducted. Participation of this study was voluntary. Students were given consent form to determine whether they agree to participate in the study. Duration of two weeks was given for students to complete the given online questionnaire. The data collected will be analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to determine the level of anxiety. There were three anxiety level, i.e., low, average and high. Students’ anxiety level was determined based on their scores obtained compared with the mean and standard deviation. If the scores obtained were below mean and standard deviation, the anxiety level was low. If the scores were at below and above the mean and between one standard deviation, the anxiety level was average. If the scores were above the mean and greater than one standard deviation, the anxiety level was high. Results showed that both of genders were having average anxiety level. Among low, average and high anxiety level, frequency of males were found to be higher as compared to females. Hence, the mean values obtained for males (M = 3.62) was higher than females (M = 3.42). In order to be significant of anxiety level among the gender, the p-value should be less than .05. The p-value obtained in this study was .117. However, this value was greater than .05. Thus, there was no significant difference of anxiety level among the gender. In other words, there was no relationship of anxiety level with the gender.

Keywords: Anxiety level, gender, mathematics anxiety, probability and statistics.

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64 Students’ Views on Mathematics Learning: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Senior Secondary Schools Students in Katsina State of Nigeria

Authors: Fahad Suleiman

Abstract:

The aim of this paper is to study students’ view on mathematics learning in Katsina State Senior Secondary Schools of Nigeria, such as their conceptions of mathematics, attitudes toward mathematics learning, etc. A questionnaire was administered to a random sample of 1,225 senior secondary two (SS II) students of Katsina State in Nigeria. The data collected showed a clear picture of the hurdles that affect the teaching and learning of mathematics in our schools. Problems such as logistics and operational which include shortage of mathematics teachers, non–availability of a mathematics laboratory, etc. were identified. It also depicted the substantial trends of changing views and attitudes toward mathematics across secondary schools. Students’ responses to the conception of mathematics were consistent and they demonstrated some specific characteristics of their views in learning mathematics. This survey has provided useful information regarding students’ needs and aspirations in mathematics learning for curriculum planners and frontline teachers for future curriculum reform and implementation.

Keywords: Attitude, education, mathematics, students.

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63 Enhancing Teaching of Engineering Mathematics

Authors: Tajinder Pal Singh

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Teaching of mathematics to engineering students is an open ended problem in education. The main goal of mathematics learning for engineering students is the ability of applying a wide range of mathematical techniques and skills in their engineering classes and later in their professional work. Most of the undergraduate engineering students and faculties feels that no efforts and attempts are made to demonstrate the applicability of various topics of mathematics that are taught thus making mathematics unavoidable for some engineering faculty and their students. The lack of understanding of concepts in engineering mathematics may hinder the understanding of other concepts or even subjects. However, for most undergraduate engineering students, mathematics is one of the most difficult courses in their field of study. Most of the engineering students never understood mathematics or they never liked it because it was too abstract for them and they could never relate to it. A right balance of application and concept based teaching can only fulfill the objectives of teaching mathematics to engineering students. It will surely improve and enhance their problem solving and creative thinking skills. In this paper, some practical (informal) ways of making mathematics-teaching application based for the engineering students is discussed. An attempt is made to understand the present state of teaching mathematics in engineering colleges. The weaknesses and strengths of the current teaching approach are elaborated. Some of the causes of unpopularity of mathematics subject are analyzed and a few pragmatic suggestions have been made. Faculty in mathematics courses should spend more time discussing the applications as well as the conceptual underpinnings rather than focus solely on strategies and techniques to solve problems. They should also introduce more ‘word’ problems as these problems are commonly encountered in engineering courses. Overspecialization in engineering education should not occur at the expense of (or by diluting) mathematics and basic sciences. The role of engineering education is to provide the fundamental (basic) knowledge and to teach the students simple methodology of self-learning and self-development. All these issues would be better addressed if mathematics and engineering faculty join hands together to plan and design the learning experiences for the students who take their classes. When faculties stop competing against each other and start competing against the situation, they will perform better. Without creating any administrative hassles these suggestions can be used by any young inexperienced faculty of mathematics to inspire engineering students to learn engineering mathematics effectively.

Keywords: Application based learning, conceptual learning, engineering mathematics, word problem.

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62 The Views of Elementary Mathematics Education Preservice Teachers on Proving

Authors: Belma Turker, Cigdem Alkas, Ebru Aylar, Ramazan Gurel, Oylum Akkus Ispir

Abstract:

This study has been prepared with the purpose to get the views of senior class Elementary Education Mathematics preservice teachers on proving. Data have been obtained via surveys and interviews carried out with 104 preservice teachers. According to the findings, although preservice teachers have positive views about using proving in mathematics teaching, it is seen that their experiences related to proving is limited to courses and they think proving is a work done only for the exams. Furthermore, they have expressed in the interviews that proving is difficult for them, and because of this reason they prefer memorizing instead of learning.

Keywords: Belief on Proving, Mathematics Education, Proof.

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61 Gender Differences of Elementary Prospective Teachers in Mathematical Beliefs and Mathematics Teaching Anxiety

Authors: Ersen Yazıcı, Erhan Ertekin

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In this study, any possible differences between mathematics beliefs and anxiety of prospective elementary mathematics teachers have been investigated according to their gender. In this purpose, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students from a Government University in Turkey were selected as a sample. Mathematics Teaching Anxiety Scale (MATAS) and Beliefs About Mathematics Survey (BAMS) has been used as data collection tools. As a result of the study, it has been observed that prospective male teachers have more instrumentalist approach in learning mathematics than females according to their mathematical beliefs. On the other hand, females have more mathematics teaching anxiety than males especially, for subject knowledge in mathematics and selfconfidence.

Keywords: Mathematical beliefs, mathematics teaching anxiety, gender, prospective elementary mathematics teachers.

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60 Some Investigations on Higher Mathematics Scores for Chinese University Student

Authors: Xun Ge, Jingju Qian

Abstract:

To investigate some relations between higher mathe¬matics scores in Chinese graduate student entrance examination and calculus (resp. linear algebra, probability statistics) scores in subject's completion examination of Chinese university, we select 20 students as a sample, take higher mathematics score as a decision attribute and take calculus score, linear algebra score, probability statistics score as condition attributes. In this paper, we are based on rough-set theory (Rough-set theory is a logic-mathematical method proposed by Z. Pawlak. In recent years, this theory has been widely implemented in the many fields of natural science and societal science.) to investigate importance of condition attributes with respective to decision attribute and strength of condition attributes supporting decision attribute. Results of this investigation will be helpful for university students to raise higher mathematics scores in Chinese graduate student entrance examination.

Keywords: Rough set, higher mathematics scores, decision attribute, condition attribute.

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59 Motivational Orientation of the Methodical System of Teaching Mathematics in Secondary Schools

Authors: M. Rodionov, Z. Dedovets

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The article analyses the composition and structure of the motivationally oriented methodological system of teaching mathematics (purpose, content, methods, forms, and means of teaching), viewed through the prism of the student as the subject of the learning process. Particular attention is paid to the problem of methods of teaching mathematics, which are represented in the form of an ordered triad of attributes corresponding to the selected characteristics. A systematic analysis of possible options and their methodological interpretation enriched existing ideas about known methods and technologies of training, and significantly expanded their nomenclature by including previously unstudied combinations of characteristics. In addition, examples outlined in this article illustrate the possibilities of enhancing the motivational capacity of a particular method or technology in the real learning practice of teaching mathematics through more free goal-setting and varying the conditions of the problem situations. The authors recommend the implementation of different strategies according to their characteristics in teaching and learning mathematics in secondary schools.

Keywords: Education, methodological system, teaching of mathematics, teachers, lesson, students motivation, secondary school.

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58 Optimized Multiplier Based upon 6-Input Luts and Vedic Mathematics

Authors: Zulhelmi Zakaria, Shuja A. Abbasi

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A new approach has been used for optimized design of multipliers based upon the concepts of Vedic mathematics. The design has been targeted to state-of-the art field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The multiplier generates partial products using Vedic mathematics method by employing basic 4x4 multipliers designed by exploiting 6-input LUTs and multiplexers in the same slices resulting in drastic reduction in area. The multiplier is realized on Xilinx FPGAs using devices Virtex-5 and Virtex-6.Carry Chain Adder was employed to obtain final products. The performance of the proposed multiplier was examined and compared to well-known multipliers such as Booth, Carry Save, Carry ripple, and array multipliers. It is demonstrated that the proposed multiplier is superior in terms of speed as well as power consumption.

Keywords: Multiplier, Vedic Mathematics, LUTs, FPGAs.

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57 Leveraging Reasoning through Discourse: A Case Study in Secondary Mathematics Classrooms

Authors: Cory A. Bennett

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Teaching and learning through the use of discourse support students’ conceptual understanding by attending to key concepts and relationships. One discourse structure used in primary classrooms is number talks wherein students mentally calculate, discuss, and reason about the appropriateness and efficiency of their strategies. In the secondary mathematics classroom, the mathematics understudy does not often lend itself to mental calculations yet learning to reason, and articulate reasoning, is central to learning mathematics. This qualitative case study discusses how one secondary school in the Middle East adapted the number talk protocol for secondary mathematics classrooms. Several challenges in implementing ‘reasoning talks’ became apparent including shifting current discourse protocols and practices to a more student-centric model, accurately recording and probing student thinking, and specifically attending to reasoning rather than computations.

Keywords: Discourse, reasoning, secondary mathematics, teacher development.

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56 Practical Problems as Tools for the Development of Secondary School Students’ Motivation to Learn Mathematics

Authors: M. Rodionov, Z. Dedovets

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This article discusses plausible reasoning use for solution to practical problems. Such reasoning is the major driver of motivation and implementation of mathematical, scientific and educational research activity. A general, practical problem solving algorithm is presented which includes an analysis of specific problem content to build, solve and interpret the underlying mathematical model. The author explores the role of practical problems such as the stimulation of students' interest, the development of their world outlook and their orientation in the modern world at the different stages of learning mathematics in secondary school. Particular attention is paid to the characteristics of those problems which were systematized and presented in the conclusions.

Keywords: Mathematics, motivation, secondary school, student, practical problem.

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55 Developing Proof Demonstration Skills in Teaching Mathematics in the Secondary School

Authors: M. Rodionov, Z. Dedovets

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The article describes the theoretical concept of teaching secondary school students proof demonstration skills in mathematics. It describes in detail different levels of mastery of the concept of proof-which correspond to Piaget’s idea of there being three distinct and progressively more complex stages in the development of human reflection. Lessons for each level contain a specific combination of the visual-figurative components and deductive reasoning. It is vital at the transition point between levels to carefully and rigorously recalibrate teaching to reflect the development of more complex reflective understanding. This can apply even within the same age range, since students will develop at different speeds and to different potential. The authors argue that this requires an aware and adaptive approach to lessons to reflect this complexity and variation. The authors also contend that effective teaching which enables students to properly understand the implementation of proof arguments must develop specific competences. These are: understanding of the importance of completeness and generality in making a valid argument; being task focused; having an internalised locus of control and being flexible in approach and evaluation. These criteria must be correlated with the systematic application of corresponding methodologies which are best likely to achieve success. The particular pedagogical decisions which are made to deliver this objective are illustrated by concrete examples from the existing secondary school mathematics courses. The proposed theoretical concept formed the basis of the development of methodological materials which have been tested in 47 secondary schools.

Keywords: Education, teaching of mathematics, proof, deductive reasoning, secondary school.

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54 Sfard’s Commognitive Framework as a Method of Discourse Analysis in Mathematics

Authors: Dong-Joong Kim, Sangho Choi, Woong Lim

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This paper discusses Sfard’s commognitive approach and provides an empirical study as an example to illustrate the theory as method. Traditionally, research in mathematics education focused on the acquisition of mathematical knowledge and the didactic process of knowledge transfer. Through attending to a distinctive form of language in mathematics, as well as mathematics as a discursive subject, alternative views of making meaning in mathematics have emerged; these views are therefore “critical,” as in critical discourse analysis. The commognitive discourse analysis method has the potential to bring more clarity to our understanding of students’ mathematical thinking and the process through which students are socialized into school mathematics.

Keywords: Commognitive framework, discourse analysis, mathematical discourse, mathematics education.

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53 Learning Undergraduate Mathematics in a Discovery-Enriched Approach

Authors: Kam-moon Liu, Kwok-chi Chim, Kwok-wai Chung, Daniel Wing-cheong Ho

Abstract:

Students often adopt routine practicing as learning strategy for mathematics. The reason is they are often bound and trained to solving conventional-typed questions in Mathematics in high school. This will be problematic if students further consolidate this practice in university. Therefore, the Department of Mathematics emphasized and integrated the Discovery-enriched approach in the undergraduate curriculum. This paper presents the details of implementing the Discovery-enriched Curriculum by providing adequate platform for project-learning, expertise for guidance and internship opportunities for students majoring in Mathematics. The Department also provided project-learning opportunities to mathematics courses targeted for students majoring in other science or engineering disciplines. The outcome is promising: the research ability and problem solving skills of students are enhanced.

Keywords: Discovery-enriched curriculum, higher education, mathematics education, project learning.

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52 Integrating Computer Games with Mathematics Instruction in Elementary School- An Analysis of Motivation, Achievement, and Pupil-Teacher Interactions

Authors: Kuo Hung Huang, Chong-Ji Ke

Abstract:

The purpose of this study is to explore the impacts of computer games on the mathematics instruction. First, the research designed and implemented the web-based games according to the content of existing textbook. And the researcher collected and analyzed the information related to the mathematics instruction integrating the computer games. In this study, the researcher focused on the learning motivation of mathematics, mathematics achievement, and pupil-teacher interactions in classroom. The results showed that students under instruction integrating computer games significantly improved in motivation and achievement. The teacher tended to use less direct teaching and provide more time for student-s active learning.

Keywords: computer games, mathematics instruction, pupil-teacher interaction, technology-enhanced learning

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51 Development of Researcher Knowledge in Mathematics Education: Towards a Confluence Framework

Authors: I. Kontorovich, R. Zazkis

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We present a framework of researcher knowledge development in conducting a study in mathematics education. The key components of the framework are: knowledge germane to conducting a particular study, processes of knowledge accumulation, and catalyzing filters that influence a researcher decision making. The components of the framework originated from a confluence between constructs and theories in Mathematics Education, Higher Education and Sociology. Drawing on a self-reflective interview with a leading researcher in mathematics education, Professor Michèle Artigue, we illustrate how the framework can be utilized in data analysis. Criteria for framework evaluation are discussed.

Keywords: Community of practice, knowledge development, mathematics education research, researcher knowledge.

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50 Electoral Mathematics and Asymmetrical Treatment to Political Parties: The Mexican Case

Authors: Verónica Arredondo, Miguel Martínez-Panero, Teresa Peña, Victoriano Ramírez

Abstract:

The Mexican Chamber of Deputies is composed of 500 representatives: 300 of them elected by relative majority and another 200 ones elected through proportional representation in five electoral clusters (constituencies) with 40 representatives each. In this mixed-member electoral system, the seats distribution of proportional representation is not independent of the election by relative majority, as it attempts to correct representation imbalances produced in single-member districts. This two-fold structure has been maintained in the successive electoral reforms carried out along the last three decades (eight from 1986 to 2014). In all of them, the election process of 200 seats becomes complex: Formulas in the Law are difficult to understand and to be interpreted. This paper analyzes the Mexican electoral system after the electoral reform of 2014, which was applied for the first time in 2015. The research focuses on contradictions and issues of applicability, in particular situations where seats allocation is affected by ambiguity in the law and where asymmetrical treatment of political parties arises. Due to these facts, a proposal of electoral reform will be presented. It is intended to be simpler, clearer, and more enduring than the current system. Furthermore, this model is more suitable for producing electoral outcomes free of contradictions and paradoxes. This approach would allow a fair treatment of political parties and as a result an improved opportunity to exercise democracy.

Keywords: Apportionment paradoxes, biproportional representation, electoral mathematics, electoral reform, Mexican electoral system, proportional representation, political asymmetry.

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49 Complexity of Mathematical Expressions in Adaptive Multimodal Multimedia System Ensuring Access to Mathematics for Visually Impaired Users

Authors: Ali Awde, Yacine Bellik, Chakib Tadj

Abstract:

Our adaptive multimodal system aims at correctly presenting a mathematical expression to visually impaired users. Given an interaction context (i.e. combination of user, environment and system resources) as well as the complexity of the expression itself and the user-s preferences, the suitability scores of different presentation format are calculated. Unlike the current state-of-the art solutions, our approach takes into account the user-s situation and not imposes a solution that is not suitable to his context and capacity. In this wok, we present our methodology for calculating the mathematical expression complexity and the results of our experiment. Finally, this paper discusses the concepts and principles applied on our system as well as their validation through cases studies. This work is our original contribution to an ongoing research to make informatics more accessible to handicapped users.

Keywords: Adaptive system, intelligent multi-agent system, mathematics for visually-impaired users.

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48 A Mixed Method Investigation of the Impact of Practicum Experience on Mathematics Female Pre-Service Teachers’ Sense of Preparedness

Authors: Fatimah Alsaleh, Glenda Anthony

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The practicum experience is a critical component of any initial teacher education (ITE) course. As well as providing a near authentic setting for pre-service teachers (PSTs) to practice in, it also plays a key role in shaping their perceptions and sense of preparedness. Nevertheless, merely including a practicum period as a compulsory part of ITE may not in itself be enough to induce feelings of preparedness and efficacy; the quality of the classroom experience must also be considered. Drawing on findings of a larger study of secondary and intermediate level mathematics PSTs’ sense of preparedness to teach, this paper examines the influence of the practicum experience in particular. The study sample comprised female mathematics PSTs who had almost completed their teaching methods course in their fourth year of ITE across 16 teacher education programs in Saudi Arabia. The impact of the practicum experience on PSTs’ sense of preparedness was investigated via a mixed-methods approach combining a survey (N = 105) and in-depth interviews with survey volunteers (N = 16). Statistical analysis in SPSS was used to explore the quantitative data, and thematic analysis was applied to the qualitative interviews data. The results revealed that the PSTs perceived the practicum experience to have played a dominant role in shaping their feelings of preparedness and efficacy. However, despite the generally positive influence of practicum, the PSTs also reported numerous challenges that lessened their feelings of preparedness. These challenges were often related to the classroom environment and the school culture. For example, about half of the PSTs indicated that the practicum schools did not have the resources available or the support necessary to help them learn the work of teaching. In particular, the PSTs expressed concerns about translating the theoretical knowledge learned at the university into practice in authentic classrooms. These challenges engendered PSTs feeling less prepared and suggest that more support from both the university and the school is needed to help PSTs develop a stronger sense of preparedness. The area in which PSTs felt least prepared was that of classroom and behavior management, although the results also indicated that PSTs only felt a moderate level of general teaching efficacy and were less confident about how to support students as learners. Again, feelings of lower efficacy were related to the dissonance between the theory presented at university and real-world classroom practice. In order to close this gap between theory and practice, PSTs expressed the wish to have more time in the practicum, and more accountability for support from school-based mentors. In highlighting the challenges of the practicum in shaping PSTs’ sense of preparedness and efficacy, the study argues that better communication between the ITE providers and the practicum schools is necessary in order to maximize the benefit of the practicum experience.

Keywords: Mathematics, practicum experience, pre-service teachers, sense of preparedness.

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47 Students Perceptions on the Relevance of High School Mathematics in University Education in South Africa

Authors: Gilbert Makanda, Roelf Sypkens

Abstract:

In this study we investigated the relevance of high school mathematics in university education. The paper particularly focused on whether the concepts taught in high school are enough for engineering courses at diploma level. The study identified particular concepts that are required in engineering courses whether they were adequately covered in high school. A questionnaire was used to investigate whether relevant topics were covered in high school. The respondents were 228 first year students at the Central University of Technology in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology. The study indicates that there are some topics such as integration, complex numbers and matrices that are not done at high schools and are required in engineering courses at university. It is further observed that some students did not cover the topics that are in the current syllabus. Female students enter the university less prepared than their male counterparts. More than 30% of the respondents in this study felt that high school mathematics was not useful for them to be able to do engineering courses.

Keywords: High school mathematics, university education, SPSS package, students’ perceptions.

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46 Emotion Classification for Students with Autism in Mathematics E-learning using Physiological and Facial Expression Measures

Authors: Hui-Chuan Chu, Min-Ju Liao, Wei-Kai Cheng, William Wei-Jen Tsai, Yuh-Min Chen

Abstract:

Avoiding learning failures in mathematics e-learning environments caused by emotional problems in students with autism has become an important topic for combining of special education with information and communications technology. This study presents an adaptive emotional adjustment model in mathematics e-learning for students with autism, emphasizing the lack of emotional perception in mathematics e-learning systems. In addition, an emotion classification for students with autism was developed by inducing emotions in mathematical learning environments to record changes in the physiological signals and facial expressions of students. Using these methods, 58 emotional features were obtained. These features were then processed using one-way ANOVA and information gain (IG). After reducing the feature dimension, methods of support vector machines (SVM), k-nearest neighbors (KNN), and classification and regression trees (CART) were used to classify four emotional categories: baseline, happy, angry, and anxious. After testing and comparisons, in a situation without feature selection, the accuracy rate of the SVM classification can reach as high as 79.3-%. After using IG to reduce the feature dimension, with only 28 features remaining, SVM still has a classification accuracy of 78.2-%. The results of this research could enhance the effectiveness of eLearning in special education.

Keywords: Emotion classification, Physiological and facial Expression measures, Students with autism, Mathematics e-learning.

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45 Current Strategic Trends – A Comparative Analysis of Hungarian Corporations

Authors: Gyula Fülöp, Bettina Hernádi

Abstract:

This paper deals with current strategic challenges related to the reshaping of the basic conditions of corporate operations. Through the experimental analysis of some domestic corporations, it presents how and to what extent Hungarian corporations are prepared for the current strategic challenges. The study examines how strategic directions and answer opportunities have changed in the following interrelated areas in the past five years: economic globalization, corporate sustainability, IT applications, labor force diversity and ethical competences. The conclusions of the empirical survey give a reliable basis on which economic organizations and enterprises can formulate their strategy.

Keywords: Economic globalization, corporate sustainability, IT applications, labor force diversity, ethical competences.

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