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ERIC Number: EJ907533
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0228-0671
Symbol Sense Behavior in Digital Activities
Bokhove, Christian; Drijvers, Paul
For the Learning of Mathematics, v30 n3 p43-49 2010
The algebraic expertise that mathematics education is aiming for includes both procedural skills and conceptual understanding. To capture the latter, notions such as symbol sense, gestalt view and visual salience have been developed. We wonder if digital activities can be designed that not only require procedural algebraic skills, but also invite symbol sense, and if the notions of gestalt view and visual salience are helpful in understanding student behavior in such a digital environment. To investigate this, a prototypical digital algebra environment was designed, consisting of thirty tasks, which focus on these two characteristics of symbol sense. The activities were piloted in five one-to-one think-aloud sessions with students from pre-university grade 12. The results suggest that the students' behaviors indeed can be understood in terms of (lack of) symbol sense, and that the notions of gestalt view and visual salience apply to behavior in digital environments as well. Therefore, we believe digital activities can invite symbol sense; the educational exploitation of such environments is not trivial.
FLM Publishing Association. 382 Education South, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G5, Canada; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Grade 12; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A