Current Projects.

Across all of my research I seek to better understand students’ meaningful learning of mathematics and the nature of supports for that learning.

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Characterizing and Supporting Meaningful Learning of Mathematics @nmlfonger

Lately I’ve been playing with new framings of ideas, pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone.

Below is a list of my current projects (and the stage they are in, last updated May 2018). Sometimes I struggle with having so many projects. One thing I find to help alleviate the struggle is to continue to curate, refine, and clarify both the SCOPE of my projects and the FOCUS of the work. This way I can not only move the work forward, but I can also more easily share the work with others.


Reality Math Circle

Focus: How do students experience meaningful learning of mathematics? How do the components of reality pedagogy (vis-a-vis @chrisemdin #HipHopEd) play out in an after school enrichment opportunity? See video on reality pedagogy here.

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Phase: sprouting seed, design, management of initial phases, building relationships – showing up, asking questions, being open and curious


Learning Trajectories in Algebra

Focus:A learning trajectory integrates conceptual learning goals, mathematical instructional activity, and students’ conceptions vis-a-vis their discursive activity. How does students’ conceptual understanding grow in relation to instructional supports? What is unique about a learning trajectory approach in modeling learning and supports for learning?  See video on learning trajectories here.

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Phase: writing, visualization, refining journal target; this work extends work on learning progressions in early algebra


Heart-Centered Pedagogy

Focus: What does it mean to teach mathematics with kindness in mind? How are cognition, emotion, social relation, and sensation experienced in math learning? How do these dimensions of experience amplify meaningful math learning — especially at the intersection of mathematics and mindfulness?

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Phase: seed idea, writing and sketching and reading to develop idea, asking others for feedback through peer-review drafts and discussion.

Research and Practice

Focus: How are community, collaboration, and communication central to linking research and practice in mathematics education? What are productive images and metaphors for linking research and practice (that help us move beyond a deficiency or ‘gap’ focused storyline). Here is an example of a video I created on linking research to practice.

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Phase: developed idea, need to revise research manuscript for target journal, curate visuals of current work to incorporate, draw insight from #EDU700 course to inform writing and visualization.


Representational Fluency and Meaning Making

Focus: Representational fluency involves creating, interpreting, and connecting  multiple representations to draw meaning about mathematical ideas. Here is a video of this work.

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Phase: developed idea, manuscript under review, another in draft form, graduate student working on related project


Another thing I struggle with is when it is OK to share the work. Sometimes the formalism of journal publications makes it seems as though that is the best time to share the work – once formally accepted by the community. This masks so much of the nature of research – the forming of the ideas. It is truly a creative process.

As such, you will notice in these projects that some are seeds, while some are sprouting. Like these flowers, that represent a learning trajectory for children’s mathematics. With the right supports and conditions, they, too, will grow and flourish.

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Does this work interest you? Reach out. I’d love to hear from you.

@nmlfonger Nicole L. Fonger. (aka the notorious Dr. Nicky)

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Current research projects. April 2018. @nmlfonger Nicole L. Fonger

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