MEC seminar:: 24 March 2022

Combining eye tracking and AI to infer students’ quantity recognition strategies: Insights from studies in an interdisciplinary field (Prof. Dr. Maike Schindler, University of Cologne)

Identifying students’ strategies is an important endeavor in mathematics education research. It can provide insights into students’ thinking and help to support students adequately. Eye tracking has proven to be a valuable research tool for this purpose: For example, the analysis of eye-tracking videos allowed for the identification of strategies, particularly in quantity recognition and enumeration activities. Yet, the “manual”, qualitative analysis of students’ strategies from eye-tracking videos is time-consuming and laborious—which calls for more efficient methods of analysis.

In an interdisciplinary team of researchers from mathematics education and computer science, we have started to use AI to assist with the data analysis. For example, we have used supervised machine learning in combination with students’ eye gaze data to identify students in need of support. Also, we have used unsupervised machine learning, in particular clustering, to identify students’ strategies from the eye gaze data.

In the talk, I will shortly introduce eye tracking and machine learning and illustrate our studies, in which we have used the combination of eye tracking and AI to analyze students’ strategies in quantity recognition tasks.

BSRLM updates

“Translating research into practice: mastery teaching and symbolically structured environments” (Prof. Alf Coles, University of Bristol)

This session will be in two parts. In the first, Alf will set out the notion of “symbolically structured environments” (SSEs) which is a concept developed in collaboration with Nathalie Sinclair, as a description of commonalities noticed across the teaching of Caleb Gattegno, Vasily Davydov, Bob Davis, Seymour Papert, Dick Tahta and Laurinda Brown. In a SEE students “hit up” against mathematical constraints, having to adapt to feedback, while novel symbolic moves are encouraged. Alf and Nathalie’s research around SSEs influenced the design of the NCETM’s Primary Mastery Professional Development Materials. This context leads to the second part of the session when Alf will consider issues around the translation of research into practice. Alf will draw on interview data gathered from 3 teachers, via 6 teacher interviews, conducted over a 2-year period, who were making use of the NCETM PD materials. There is tentative evidence that both implicit and explicit messages from research became visible in new classroom practices. While it is not clear the extent to which the teachers’ classrooms might have fitted the description of a SSE, all the teachers in the study came to view the concept of number quite differently to how they had in the past. A new view of number was implicit in the PD materials and in the teachers’ descriptions of their practice. Other changes in teaching practices were explicitly spoken about by the teachers and were explicitly written about in the PD materials. The small scale study points to the efficacy of a team of practitioners working, with guidance, to create practical resources which embody research results, and to viewing teachers as active partners in the process of translating research into practice.

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Ouhao Chen
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