Preparation for Post Pandemic Society: Providing Technology-Supported Adaptive Scaffoldings for Students with Mathematics Learning Difficulties in Hong Kong Primary Schools
During the COVID-19 crisis, many concerns have been raised about the quality of online learning/e-learning and the reconfiguration of the technology-supported learning environment.
It has become unavoidable for different parties in the school system, including principals, teachers, students, parents and communities, whether involved in e-learning before or after COVID-19 or not, to rethink the role of e-learning in and out of schools. In this new situation, a more considered, responsive, flexible, and resilient technology-supported learning environment will be needed to tackle similar challenges in the unpredictable future. Viewing the current situation through an educational equity lens, we should recognize that students with learning difficulties, the most neglected and vulnerable groups, are at particular risk. Reviewing current inclusive education efforts in Hong Kong, although equal learning opportunities have been created for most students, few studies have examined whether e-learning processes have been well-tailored for these students. In contrast, most technology-supported innovations target students of typical achievement. In mathematics education, few have explored the impact of tailor-made technology-supported solutions featuring adaptive scaffoldings on students’ mathematics problem-solving. To address these problems, our study will focus on developing a highly customized technology-supported learning environment with adaptive scaffoldings and responsive assessment mechanisms to facilitate student mathematics problem solving any time anywhere, with the particular aim of providing in-time cognitive support and facilitation for students with mathematics learning difficulties. We expect the design to lead to a profound shift in the functions and structure of mathematical thinking, from mechanical operations to problem-solving operations, for students with learning difficulties to better fit the real situation and unpredictable future.
In this proposal, we describe the background information of the proposed project, articulate the literature and rationale of the system development, as well as how this project will operate methodologically. Specifically, the project introduces an interactive learning environment, namely, ScaffoldiaMyMaths with features of adaptive scaffoldings for mathematics problem solving and responsive assessment in the form of learning analytics. To explore the impact of ScaffoldiaMyMaths, experimental research together with the pedagogical design of learning activities, will be conducted involving Grade 4, 5 and 6 primary students in Hong Kong. The statistical data analysis will be conducted on students’ mathematics achievement tests, self-concept and motivation pre and post-tests for exposing the impact of scaffolding changes and scaffolding logic and the interaction between them on changes in student learning performance. The beneficial impact of ScaffoldiaMyMaths on students with maths learning difficulties (MLD) and typical achievers will also be compared to expose the factors related to student performance. Finally, we propose a set of learning packages together with a theoretical framework of how integrating technology in maths education will be delivered, for schools to better adapt this system. The proposed project will be a positive and timely response to the sudden circumstances now and in the near future at Hong Kong schools. It will be a reasonable fit for the advocacy of the Whole School Approach to Integrated Education in Hong Kong, facilitating ordinary schools in providing an equal educational service to students with learning difficulties, and improve the coordination of policies and research to maximize the possibilities generated by various research initiatives. The study will not only fill the gap on technology-supported mathematics education for students with learning difficulties but also provide in-time facilitation for them to better adapt formal and informal learning contexts in unpredictable situations.
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