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Algorithmic contexts and learning potentiality: A case study of students’ understanding of calculus
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics and Science Education.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2008 (English)In: International journal of mathematical education in science and technology, ISSN 0020-739X, E-ISSN 1464-5211, Vol. 39, no 6, 767-784 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The study explores the nature of students’ conceptual understanding of calculus. Twenty students of engineering were asked to reflect in writing on the meaning of the concepts of limit and integral. A sub-sample of four students was selected for subsequent interviews, which explored in detail the students’ understandings of the two concepts. Intentional analysis of the students’ written and oral accounts revealed that the students were expressing their understanding of limit and integral within an algorithmic context, in which the very ‘operations’ of these concepts were seen as crucial. The students also displayed great confidence in their ability to deal with these concepts. Implications for the development of a conceptual understanding of calculus are discussed, and it is argued that developing understanding within an algorithmic context can be seen as a stepping stone towards a more complete conceptual understanding of calculus.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Taylor & Francis , 2008. Vol. 39, no 6, 767-784 p.
Keyword [en]
algorithmic context; calculus; conceptual understanding; higher education; learning potentiality; procedural knowledge
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Research subject
Mathematics Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-35676DOI: 10.1080/00207390801986908OAI: diva2:287990
Available from: 2010-01-20 Created: 2010-01-19 Last updated: 2010-10-11Bibliographically approved

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Pettersson, KerstinScheja, Max
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