Towards a narrative-oriented framework for designing mathematical learning

, and . proceedings of the 1st CSCL SIG Symposium, Lausanne, Switzerland, (2004)


This paper proposes a narrative-oriented approach to the design of educational activities, as well as a CSCL system to support them, in the context of learning mathematics. Both Mathematics and interface design seem unrelated to narrative. Mathematical language, as we know it, is devoid of time and person. Computer interfaces are static and non-linear. Yet, as Bruner (1986; 1990) and others show, narrative is a powerful cognitive and epistemological tool. The questions we wish to explore are – • If, and how, can mathematical meaning be expressed in narrative forms – without compromising rigour? • What are the narrative aspects of user interface? How can interface design be guided by notions of narrative? • How can we harness the power of narrative in teaching mathematics, in a CSCL environment? We begin by giving a brief account of the use of narrative in educational theory. We will describe the environment and tools used by the WebLabs project, and report on one of our experiments. We will then describe our narrative-oriented framework, by using it to analyze both the environment and the experiment described.

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