”Does the students’ interest in learning increase when you introduce youth culture into the school?" Youth culture is here represented by podcasting and ipods. The research design will look at affordances and constraints concerning podcasting in mathematics education.
Eleven schools are involved in the project. Two teachers from each school are provided with equipment enabling them to produce short videos with a content that they regard as relevant for their teaching. The videos are distributed to the students (school year 8) in the form of podcasts. The project tries to find answers on questions concerning students’ interest in the subject, and also affordances and constraints with the teaching method. Questions also deal with attitudes to and beliefs of mathematics teaching and learning.
The overarching research question in this study is ”Does the students’ interest in learning increase when you introduce youth culture into the school?" Youth culture is here represented by podcasting and ipods. The research design will look at affordances (action possibilities) and constraints (limitations) concerning podcasting in mathematics education. The kinds of results we can expect from the study vary. First we have results on students’ attitudes to mathematics and podcasts in teaching. Students’ performance might also be present in the results. There could also be results dealing with the mathematics presented, i.e. what mathematics has the students the opportunity to learn? Case studies of teacher’s production, and students’ use, of podcasts in their learning can also give interesting knowledge. Other results can be of more general type. Can we start to develop a framework for the use of podcasting in mathematics education, i.e. a model that can be duplicated? Could such a framework also offer models for professional development for mathematics teachers? We want to point out that mathematics teaching is a difficult endeavour. The serious problems found in the Swedish school system, especially connected to mathematics, will not be avoided just by using podcasts. However, podcasts might offer opportunities to develop the teaching and address some of these problems.
In the study we propose a double approach to the research. The first is the obvious way where we visit the participating schools and collect data. The data consists of observations from the classrooms, the produced podcasts, interviews with teachers, interviews with students and possibly other kinds of data, like test results or questionnaires. The other approach will focus on one school where the research team will have a larger impact on what the teachers present in the podcasts, and how the mathematics is treated. The teachers at this school (preferably Hagaskolan in Umeå) will have a closer collaboration with the research team in an action research type of design. This double approach will make possible a broader variety of results, especially when it comes to a framework for podcasting in mathematics and professional development for teachers. Such a framework could be very useful if the project were to be implemented in a larger scale.