Enhancing Learning with Visual Scaffolding (ELViS)
This project investigates how mathematics teachers use visual scaffolding, including pointing, gestures, diagrams, and other methods, and explores whether and how such methods of highlighting visual information influence students’ learning. We will address these issues in the context of middle school mathematics instruction in the domain of early algebra.
Our focus is on how teachers use visual methods to scaffold students’ understanding, for example, how teachers use gestures to delineate links among representations and to ground abstract concepts in familiar objects and ideas. Little is known about how teachers actually use visual scaffolding in instructional communication or about how such scaffolding influences students’ comprehension and learning. We ultimately seek to transfer the knowledge gained from this research to help teachers employ scientifically validated instruction. Thus, the research has implications for teacher education and teacher professional development, as well as for advancing basic knowledge of the role of visual scaffolding in comprehension and learning.
This 3 year project is funded through a grant from the US Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences.