Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

2020 Edition
| Editors: Stephen Lerman

Learning Environments in Mathematics Education

  • Tak-Wai ChanEmail author
  • Siu Cheung Kong
  • Hercy N. H. Cheng
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-15789-0_88

Computer Scaffolded Learning

Scaffolding refers to adults helping a child in a process of tutorial interactions (Wood et al. 1976). The original definition can be generalized as capable people helping a novice, for instance, parents, tutors, or capable peers. However, when the novice who is scaffolded becomes capable, the scaffolds should fade in order to pass control back to the student.

In terms of Vygotsky’s theory (1978), capable people as a form of scaffolding can help students to develop their potentials that they cannot reach alone, which is well known as the zone of proximal development. In other words, although low-ability students lack enough prior knowledge, they can complete a task if supported appropriately. Furthermore, Bloom (1984) found that if students were taught one-to-one by a human tutor, they could perform two standard deviations better than those taught in a conventional classroom. The finding suggested that capable people could effectively scaffold low-ability...


Scaffolding Computer scaffolded learning Computer-supported collaborative learning Mathematical communication 
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Authors and Affiliations

  • Tak-Wai Chan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Siu Cheung Kong
    • 2
  • Hercy N. H. Cheng
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate Institute of Network Learning TechnologyNational Central UniversityJhongli CityRepublic of China
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and Information TechnologyThe Hong Kong Institute of EducationHong KongPeople’s Republic of China