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Review of Studying Virtual Math Teams

"This is an excellent book on detailed empirical studies of how students in small online groups make sense of math issues and how they solve problems by making meaning together. It is now technologically possible to gather students from around the world for sharing mathematical experiences together. In 2002, a group of researchers began the Virtual Math Team Project, which is still active during 2009. The goal of the project is to provide a new opportunity for students to engage in mathematical discourse. The book is divided in six big parts. The first one opens with descriptions of the project and its methodology, presents the perspective, analysis, vision, technology and theory of the project. The second part digs deeply into the data, analyzing specific aspects of group interactions. Part III investigates higher-level issues of the team discourse, such as small group agency, problem solving, reasoning, creativity. Part IV turns to design issues of the online technology. Part V addresses a core issue for the analysis of online text chat: how to represent the structure of the interaction. The concluding chapter addresses implications for the theory of group cognition and for the methodology of the learning sciences. The core research team then presents some concrete analyses of group interactions in different phases of the project. These texts are followed by several studies by international collaborators. The book provides thoughts for explorations of group knowledge building and presents an effective online environment and educational service for collaborative learning of mathematics. The main attention is paid to develop a rigorous science of small-group cognition and a Web 2.0 educational math service. Because of this all, the book will be matter of interest to researchers and practitioners within the mathematics education field."

Reviewer: Valentina Dagienė (Vilnius)

Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1178, 2010, Zbl 1178.00016