Representational Practices in VMT
This chapter analyzes the interaction of three students working on mathematics problems over several days in a virtual math team. Our analysis traces out how successful collaboration in a later session was contingent upon the work of prior sessions, and shows how representational practices are important aspects of these participants’ mathematical problem solving. We trace the formation, transformation and refinement of one problem-solving practice—problem decomposition—and three representational practices—inscribe first solve second, modulate perspective and visualize decomposition. The analysis is of theoretical interest because it suggests that “situated cognition” is contingent upon not only the immediate situation but also the chronologically prior resources and associated practices; shows how inscriptions become representations for the group through an interactive process of interpretation; and sheds light on “group cognition” as an interactional process that is not identical to individual cognition yet that draws upon a dynamic interplay of individual contributions.