
05807772
j
2010f.00957
Triantafillou, Chrissavgi
Potari, Despina
Mathematical practices in a technological workplace: the role of tools.
Educ. Stud. Math. 74, No. 3, 275294 (2010).
2010
Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht
EN
M27
M57
H27
C37
C57
workplace mathematics
place value
algebraic and spatial relations
mathematical invariants
problemsolving strategies
thinking and communicative tools
doi:10.1007/s1064901092376
Summary: This paper investigates the role of tools in the formation of mathematical practices and the construction of mathematical meanings in the setting of a telecommunication organization through the actions undertaken by a group of technicians in their working activity. The theoretical and analytical framework is guided by the firstgeneration activity theory model and Leont'ev's work on the threetiered explanation of activity. Having conducted a 1year ethnographic research study, we identified, classified, and correlated the tools that mediated the technicians' activity, and we studied the mathematical meanings that emerged. A systemic network was generated, presenting the categories of tools such as mathematical (communicative, processes, and concepts) and nonmathematical (physical and written texts). This classification was grounded on data from three central actions of the technicians' activity, while the constant interrelation and association of these tools during the working process addressed the mathematical practices and supported the construction of mathematical meanings that this group developed from the researchers' perspective. Technicians' emerging mathematical meanings referred to place value, spatial, and algebraic relations and were expressed through personal algorithms and metaphorical and metonymic reasoning. Finally, the educational implications of the findings are discussed.