Differentiating Instruction Using a Virtual Environment: A Study of Mathematical Problem Posing Among Gifted and Talented Learners

Dominic Manuel, Viktor Freiman

Abstract


Meeting the needs of mathematically gifted and talented students is a challenge for educators. The lack of appropriate resources is an obstacle often mentioned by researchers and practitioners. To support teachers in searching for appropriate solutions, several innovative projects were conducted in schools using funds created for teachers by the New Brunswick Ministry of Education. We present one such initiative: a collaborative project initiated by two middle school teachers, and the authors, who are affiliated with the local university. This project aimed at offering enrichment to mathematically gifted students for the duration of one school year. We worked with 40 students from both schools to create problems using multimedia resources. These problems were posted on the CAMI virtual community so other community members could solve them online. The richness of the problems (Manuel, 2010) created by the participants, as well as the students’ perceptions of their experiences collected by means of semi-structured interviews were analyzed. Students expressed an appreciation of the experience, and recommended that the project continued the following years. Most of the problems created by students were textual problems that included multiple steps, and were similar to those used in the classroom. Some students stated that they were more comfortable solving problems than creating new ones, which suggested that they found the task challenging. Results suggest that increased attention in choosing tasks for the gifted has positive benefits to students. Our research also suggests that problem posing in mathematics classrooms needs to be investigated in more depth. 


Keywords


Pull-out project for gifted and talented students; innovation; online problem solving; problem posing

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ISSN: 2325-663X