Discussant: Art Glenberg

Candace Walkington - Collaborative Gestures in a Motion-Capture Geometry Video Game

Collaborative gestures in the mathematics classroom occur when multiple learners coordinate their bodies in concert to accomplish mathematical goals. Collaborative gestures show how cognition becomes distributed across a system of dynamic agents, allowing for members of groups of students to act and gesture as one. We explore ways high school students gesture collaboratively while proving geometric conjectures in the sociotechnological context of an embodied video game in their classrooms. We find that students use their bodies and joint action to reason together and establish intersubjectivity. Gestures can both allow learners to access mathematical ideas and exclude peers. We also find that gestures generally, and collaborative gestures specifically, are associated with powerful forms of mathematical reasoning about generalizable properties of space and shape.

Paul Ginns - Getting the Point: Pointing and Tracing Enhance Learning of Mathematics

While a range of gestures are typically produced in mid-air as part of speech-based communication, tracing gestures involve moving the pointed index finger against a surface (Ginns et al., 2016), and may support understanding and learning across a range of contexts. Such gestures may act as visual cues that “chunk” presented information, guide attention, reduce search and extraneous cognitive load, and enhance learning. Gestures using the index finger to point and trace while learning from worked examples have been found to benefit learning across a number of studies (e.g., Aghostino et al., 2015; Ginns et al., 2016; Hu et al., 2014, 2015). The presentation will review studies investigating effects of tracing across a range of lesson topics, student demographics, and instructional media.

Hortensia Soto - Body Transformations

In this presentation, I describe an embodied activity where students extend their knowledge about transformations by using their body as points on the plane. As part of the presentation, I share students’ reactions to the activity and how the activity extended the students’ knowledge to develop a “bird’s eye view” of transformations and to recognize transformations as rigid motions on the plane. My exploratory work also suggests that students understanding of the protractor and compass were solidified as they adapted to other tools such as string and larger measurement tools. Furthermore, it seemed that activities such as this helped prospective teachers reflect on their future teaching and how they might integrate such activities into their teaching.

Roni Zohar - Embodied Learning of Physics Concepts

Whereas STEM education researchers are increasingly turning their attention to the role of the body and movement in content learning, much remains to determine so as to apply theory to practice. Twenty-four 10th-grade female physics/dance students participated in the implementation of an experimental embodied pedagogy design for angular velocity and balance oriented on individual, pair, and collective movement activities. Qualitative analyses focused on material artifacts and multimodal behaviors observed in video-taped sessions, which included lessons, semi-structured clinical interviews, and peer-tutoring of younger participant students. Results support the plausibility of grounding scientific concepts in experiences of sensorimotor problem-solving: students’ spontaneous and idiosyncratic multimodal expressions carried through to their individual interviews, tutoring, and summative projects. The summative projects further manifested creativity and deep understandings of the concepts as well as students’ personal abilities, interests, emotional affect, and ethical dispositions. We interpreted the data as suggesting the formative role of embodied, presymbolic experiences in grounding prospective learning of formal science content.

Yanghee Kim - Young Children’s Embodied Interactions with a Humanoid Robot

We designed children’s interaction activities in a small learning community of a humanoid robot and two children to support early academic and social skills development. We ethnographically observed kindergarteners’ interactions with their peer and the robot over time in a natural setting. It was quite clear that young children’s interactions in the robotic triad were action-oriented and multimodal to a great degree. In particular, children’s communication of their understanding of numbers, magnitudes, and space essentially involved the integral use of bodily movement, gestures, and speech. One important challenge concerns how we can design mathematics curricular activities systematically to facilitate the pathway from bodily engagement to understanding of mathematical concepts in progression for young children. During the workshop, the participants are invited to discuss the design of embodied exchange in child robot interaction in early mathematics learning.