The impact of using technology through cooperative learning on learners’ performance on grade 11 circle geometry
Euclidean geometry was recently re-introduced as a compulsory topic in the Mathematics Curriculum for learners in the Further Education and Training (FET) band in 2012. The diagnostic analysis reports on the National Senior Certificate (NSC) Mathematics Paper 2 examinations since 2014 has repeatedly expressed concern of the poor performance of leaners in proof and reasoning items linked to circle geometry. Various efforts have been made to examine the composition of the curriculum to find ways of motivating learners in the study of circle geometry and enhancing their performance but not much has been realized. The use of technology or cooperative learning approaches for the teaching of geometry is beneficial for pedagogical purposes, particularly for improving learners’ performance in geometry. Hence, this study investigated the impact of using technology through cooperative learning on learners’ performance on grade circle 11 geometry. It was thus an attempt to focus on blending these two teaching methods with an emphasis on the use of technology. The research took place at a Khayelitsha school and the scope of technology was limited to using a mathematical computer programme called Heymath. This research was grounded on the cognitive level framework that is used by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in the setting of National Senior examination mathematics papers, as well as the set of social constructivist views of mathematics teaching and learning. In the case of the latter, both social constructivism and cognitive constructivism views were considered and applied for the purposes of this study. Using a positivist paradigm, this convergent parallel mixed methods study employed a quasi-empirical design, where the control group consisted of a group 26 grade 11 learners who were comparable to the group of 27 grade learners that made up the experimental group. Initially, data was collected from both the experimental and control groups via a geometry pre-test. Then the experimental group (E) was taught circle geometry using technology in the context of cooperative learning while the control group (C) was taught using conventional methods. Thereafter data was collected via a geometry post- test from both groups. Finally, the experimental group completed a questionnaire designed to ascertain the extent to which learners exhibit changes in motivation when answering grade 11 circle geometry questions when afforded the use of technology within a cooperative learning environment.