, Volume 42, Issue 3–4, pp 393–404 | Cite as

Digital technologies and the challenge of constructing an inclusive school mathematics

  • Lulu Healy
  • Ana Paula Jahn
  • Janete Bolite Frant
Original Article


This article addresses research related to the use of digital technologies in the teaching and learning of mathematics in Brazil. Its scope is limited to the context of school mathematics and, more specifically, to an ongoing research programme which involves the development of collaborative research partnerships with teachers of mathematics. The paper begins with a brief presentation of the introduction of computers into the Brazilian educational scenario in the 1980s, highlighting how computer technology was heralded as a key to permitting new pedagogical approaches appropriate to the constructivist philosophy of that time. It goes on to consider recent developments in the theoretical frameworks used to interpret mathematics learning in the presence of digital technologies and the importance of focusing on the learning system as a whole, considering epistemological, cognitive and pedagogic dimensions concomitantly. In this vein, it is argued that for any real integration to take place, the mathematical practices afforded by digital tools must be considered legitimate by all the actors in this process and, perhaps most notably, by teachers. The rest of the paper focuses on our approaches to involve teachers in making decisions about technology use in their own classrooms. The strategy used was based on the realisation of research activities underpinned by the idea of the collaborative design of learning situations and the goal of including the wide diversity of learners that characterises Brazilian mathematics classrooms.


Digital technologies Mathematics learning Collaborative design Inclusion Embodied cognition 



We would like to thank a number of our colleagues from the research group TecMEM for their valuable contributions to the research reported in this paper. In relation to the work with calculators and sensors, we would like to acknowledge to central role of Tânia Magarida Lima Costa in all aspects of the project. We are also indebted to Guilherme Rodrigues Magalhães and Amarilis Reto Ferreira for their ongoing contributions to the design of the technology-based learning situations for deaf learners and FAPESP (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) for their financial support in this endeavour (Grant No. 2005/60655-4).


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Copyright information

© FIZ Karlsruhe 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lulu Healy
    • 1
  • Ana Paula Jahn
    • 1
  • Janete Bolite Frant
    • 1
  1. 1.Post-Graduate Programme in Mathematics EducationBandeirante University of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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