Collaborative problem solving in a choice-affluent environment

Abstract

For too long, problem solving has been studied as a solitary and isolated activity where individuals make progress based on personal resources acquired from knowledge, previous experiences or moments of illumination; however, in society, and indeed amongst mathematicians, problem solving can be highly collaborative and occurs in spaces where external resources (technology, the internet, social connections etc.) are abundant. In this paper, we present research into what problem solving looks like in classrooms when it is done collaboratively with access to resources that go beyond the knowledge and past experiences of the individual and even the group. Results indicate that in such choice-affluent environments, students will seek out new resources either when their collective or individual resources run low and will do so either by looking or discussing with others. This manuscript also offers a new methodological tool in the form of, what we call, gaze-dialogue transcripts for documenting such resource acquisition.

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Correspondence to Michael Pruner.

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Pruner, M., Liljedahl, P. Collaborative problem solving in a choice-affluent environment. ZDM Mathematics Education (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-021-01232-7

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Keywords

  • Problem solving
  • Choice-affluent
  • Thinking classrooms
  • Resources