How Students Read Mathematical Representations: An Eye Tracking Study

Abstract

How do students, with different background knowledge in mathematics, read a mathematical text? How do they perform the transformations between the different representations (formulas, graphs and words) in order to grasp its meaning? We use eye tracking to highlight the ongoing process of making sense of mathematical representations during problem solving. Eye tracking is a method enabling a close examination of how attention is directed at a stimulus.
Its use in educational settings is increasing because of its great potential in capturing various aspects of the learning processes. Our data indicate quantitative and qualitative differences between the novice and expert group. We discuss some implications for mathematics education in general, and the design of mathematics textbooks in particular.

Chiara Andrà1, Ferdinando Arzarello1, Francesca Ferrara1, Kenneth Holmqvist2,
Paulina Lindström 3 , Ornella Robutti1, Cristina Sabena1
1Dipartimento di Matematica, Università di Torino
2Humanities Laboratory Lund University, 3Lund University Cognitive Science,

How Students Read Mathematical Representations: An Eye Tracking Study

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