Using a technology tool to help pre-service teachers notice students’ reasoning and errors on a mathematics problem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate the affordances and constraints of a technological tool to foster pre-service teachers’ (PSTs) noticing skills including attending to, interpreting, and responding to students’ mathematical work. Participants were 99 junior or senior PSTs in a mathematics pedagogy course at a large university. Using LessonSketch, a web-based online platform, participants manipulated comics-based teaching scenarios to demonstrate what they attended to in a student’s mathematical written work and their related instructional decisions. Data comprised PSTs’ LessonSketch representations, their responses to prompts related to noticing skills, their reflections on the use of technology, and a focal group interview transcript. Inductive content analyses were applied to these data. The findings show that LessonSketch helped PSTs focus on how to ask questions, predict students’ answers, and respond in ways that supported students’ learning. The PSTs attended well to the student’s mistakes, but many did not clearly interpret her mathematical difficulties. Also, their pedagogical suggestions tended to be teacher-centered and procedural rather than supportive of conceptual learning. PSTs found LessonSketch helpful for locating themselves in the classroom situation and merging into the teaching moment. Despite the limitation of using only one written task, the study supports the critical role of technology in providing preliminary rehearsal of teaching practices and improving PSTs’ noticing skills, warranting further examination of the use of technology to support professional noticing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-149
Number of pages15
JournalZDM - Mathematics Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Approximation
  • Noticing skills
  • Pre-service teachers
  • Teaching practice
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Mathematics


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