Cognitive styles, dynamic geometry and measurement performance
This paper reports the outcomes of an empirical study undertaken to investigate the effect of students’ cognitive styles on achievement in measurement tasks in a dynamic geometry learning environment, and to explore the ability of dynamic geometry learning in accommodating different cognitive styles and enhancing students’ learning. A total of 49 6th grade students were tested using the VICS and the extended CSA-WA tests (Peterson, Verbal imagery cognitive styles and extended cognitive style analysis-wholistic analytic test—Administration guide. New Zealand: Peterson, 2005) for cognitive styles. The same students were also administered a pre-test and a post-test involving 20 measurement tasks. All students were taught a unit in measurement (area of triangles and parallelograms) with the use of dynamic geometry, after a pre-test. As expected, the dynamic geometry software seems to accommodate different cognitive styles and enhances students’ learning. However, contrary to expectations, verbalisers and wholist/verbalisers gained more in their measurement achievement in the environment of dynamic geometry than students who had a tendency towards other cognitive styles. The results are discussed in terms of the nature of the measurement tasks administered to the students.