The Algebra Nspired Phase 2 research study examined the added value of TI-Nspire Navigator™ classroom network technology as an enhancement to the Algebra Nspired (ALN) instructional materials and TI-Nspire™ handheld devices. Algebra Nspired is a suite of supplemental curricular materials that leverage the affordances of TI-Nspire and TI-Nspire Navigator to enhance instruction and support student learning. In particular, the ALN materials are designed to foster deep student understanding of important mathematics concepts. The TI-Nspire Navigator system has the potential to enhance instruction by wirelessly connecting student devices to a teacher computer to enable teachers and students to jointly construct, observe, and manipulate mathematical representations.
The goal of the Phase 2 research was to address the following research questions:
1. How does the effectiveness of an Algebra curriculum unit taught with TI-Nspire and Algebra Nspired change when it is enhanced by TI-Nspire Navigator, and the unit is implemented as designed?
2. What factors support strong implementation of TI resources (including TI-Nspire, ALN, and TI-Nspire Navigator)?
3. How might the Algebra Nspired learning activities be improved to facilitate greater implementation fidelity and deeper learning for students?
The Phase 2 ALN research yielded the following key findings:
• TI-Nspire Navigator is an important component of the ALN resource suite that complements other TI resources (i.e. ALN and TI-Nspire)
• The research found a marginally significant increase in learning associated with TI-Nspire Navigator, above and beyond TI-Nspire and ALN. (This result may be an underestimate of the full impact, due to implementation variation and other factors inherent to the research.)
• The ALN resource suite influenced teacher pedagogy to emphasize deeper learning for students
• Teachers believe that the ALN resource suite contributed to increased student engagement and supported deeper student learning
• In comparison with their less experienced peers, teachers with more experience with TI-Nspire and TI-Nspire Navigator:
▫ Were more likely to shift their pedagogy to include more high-level instructional activities
▫ Reported that their students were more engaged and learned more
▫ Had students who learned more math
• Teachers who used the technology more frequently also reported that their students were more engaged and learned more math
These findings have some important implications for practitioners. Most importantly, the research shows that teachers need to have the opportunity to become familiar with the technology in order to accrue maximum benefits for students. In this study, teachers who had been using the technology for a longer period of time had stronger outcomes. Thus, one strategy is to enable teachers to integrate the technology and stand-alone instructional materials into their regular instruction at their own pace, with the expectation that within just a few years they would develop the familiarity and skills to truly leverage those resources to benefit students. Alternatively, high-quality professional development could theoretically serve as a substitute for time with regard to providing teachers with the experience they need to make the most of the ALN resources.
The Algebra Nspired Phase 2 research suggests that TI-Nspire Navigator is an integral feature of the ALN resource suite. TI-Nspire Navigator appears to support marginal (incremental) student learning gains, especially for higher-achieving students and for students with teachers who have more technology experience. Like ALN and TI-Nspire, TI-Nspire Navigator also supports pedagogical improvements, which could further enhance student learning. It may also be the case that the compilation of the entire ALN resource suite—ALN materials and TI-Nspire and TI-Nspire Navigator—has more powerful benefits for student learning than any of the resources individually. Future research may investigate this hypothesis, examining the value of the ALN resource suite in its entirety as compared with regular instruction without any of these resources.