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Transforming Mathematics Teaching with Digital Technologies: A Community of Practice Perspective


Dynamic mathematical digital resources promise a transformation of the teaching and learning of mathematics by enabling teachers and learners to experience and explore difficult mathematical ideas in more tangible ways. However, reports of classroom practice reveal an underuse of such technologies—particularly by learners—and research findings articulate the complexities of the process of classroom integration by teachers. The work described in this chapter is set in the context of a large-scale multi-year study, Cornerstone Maths (CM), which aims to overcome known barriers to technology use in lower secondary mathematics with the professional development of the participating teachers as a central tenet. Here, the design and implementation of the CM professional development as experienced by a group of four teachers from one school’s mathematics department is examined from a Wengerian perspective as a means to understand the trajectories of teachers’ growth in both their mathematical knowledge for teaching and their associated emerging mathematical pedagogic practices with technology.


  • Transformation
  • Mathematics teaching
  • Digital technologies
  • Community of practice
  • Mathematics
  • Learners
  • Classroom integration
  • Teachers
  • Learning environment
  • Barriers
  • Professional development
  • Wenger
  • Subject content knowledge
  • Pedagogical practice

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The development of Cornerstone Maths (2010–2013) was funded initially by the Li Ka Shing Foundation and it was an intensive collaboration between teams at the London Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education, UK and at the Center for Technology in Learning, SRI International, Menlo Park, USA.

The research reported in this paper (Developing teachers’ mathematical knowledge and practice using digital technology 2014–2016—Award reference 9190) was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation. The research project was jointly directed by Alison Clark-Wilson and Celia Hoyles, UCL Institute of Education, London.

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Correspondence to Alison Clark-Wilson .

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Appendix: Learning Practices Within Wenger’s Social Practice of Learning Model

Appendix: Learning Practices Within Wenger’s Social Practice of Learning Model


  • definition of a common enterprise in the process of pursuing it in concert with others;

  • mutual engagement in shared activities;

  • the accumulation of a history of shared experiences;

  • the production of a local regime of confidence;

  • the development of interpersonal relationships;

  • a sense of interacting trajectories that shape identities in relation to one another;

  • the management of boundaries;

  • the opening of peripheries that allow for various degrees of engagement.


  • recognising our experience in others, knowing what others are doing, being in someone else’s shoes;

  • defining a trajectory that connects what we are doing to an extended identity, seeing ourselves in new ways;

  • locating our engagement in broader systems in time and space, conceiving

  • sharing stories, explanations, descriptions;

  • opening access to distant practices through excursions and fleeting contacts—visiting, talking, observing, meeting;

  • assuming the meaningfulness of foreign artefacts and actions;

  • creating models, reifying patterns, producing representational artefacts;

  • documenting historical developments, events and transitions; reinterpreting histories and trajectories in new terms; using history to see the present as only one of many possibilities and the future as a number of possibilities;

  • generating scenarios, exploring other ways of doing what we are doing, other possible worlds and other identities.


  • investing energy in a directed way and creating a focus to coordinate this investment of energy;

  • negotiating perspectives, finding common ground;

  • imposing one’s view, using power and authority;

  • convincing inspiring, uniting;

  • defining broad visions and aspirations, proposing stories of identity;

  • devising proceduralisation, quantification and control structures that are portable (i.e. usable across boundaries);

  • walking boundaries, creating boundary practices, reconciling diverging perspectives .

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Clark-Wilson, A. (2017). Transforming Mathematics Teaching with Digital Technologies: A Community of Practice Perspective. In: Marcus-Quinn, A., Hourigan, T. (eds) Handbook on Digital Learning for K-12 Schools. Springer, Cham.

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