Fostering teachers’ understanding of progression of multiple groups towards the orchestration of conceptual learning

Osama Swidan*, Naomi Prusak, Adva Livny, Alik Palatnik, Baruch Schwarz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Integrating collaborative settings in mathematics classrooms is challenging. The main challenge concerns adaptive guidance—guidance that takes into account the needs of learners. This adaptive guidance depends on the teacher’s understanding of the progression of group work. Understanding this progression when the teacher organizes several groups in a classroom towards conceptual understanding has been impracticable so far. In this paper, we present an environment, the System for Advancing Group Learning in Educational Technologies (SAGLET), which is based on the Virtual Math Teams (VMT) environment. This environment allows teachers to observe multiple groups engaging in problem-solving in geometry. SAGLET relies on the theoretical idea of critical moments in group learning, events whose occurrence may enable or impair co-construction of meanings. We conjecture that the teacher’s identification of critical moments may facilitate further guidance towards conceptual learning among students. Machine learning techniques provide online alerts about critical moments. We checked whether 11 teachers looking at multiple groups working in parallel better understand the progression of group work, upon being informed about critical moments. The results indicate that teachers use alerts about critical moments to understand better the progression of parallel groups but that informing them about critical moments sometimes impairs their observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-176
Number of pages18
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

German Title: Förderung des Verständnisses von Lehrkräften über den Arbeitsfortschritt von parallel kooperierenden Kleingruppen zur Unterstützung konzeptuellen Lernens
Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Die Herausgeber und Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature.


  • Adaptive guidance
  • Conceptual learning
  • Geometry
  • Orchestration
  • Small groups
  • Technological tools


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