Friday, April 13, 2018

[318] MTSU math faculty member gains national acclaim again

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —When Jennifer N. Lovettjoined the MTSUDepartment of Mathematical Sciencesfaculty in August 2016, she came as an already nationally recognized researcher.

In 2015 while a graduate assistant at North Carolina State University, Lovett received an Association of Mathematics Educators National Technology Leadership Initiative Fellowship for incorporating technology to enhance teachers’ education lessons and undergraduate student teachers’ learning.

This year, Lovett led a five-person group to what has become her second national fellowship in four years. It is for their manuscript “Developing Preservice Teachers’ TPACK of Function Using a Vending Machine Metaphor Applet.”

TPACK, or Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, is the information teachers need to understand how to incorporate technology into their lessons to effectively teach a specific subject matter. An applet is a small computer application.

Since fall 2000, the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, or SITE, has been collaborating with four teacher education associations representing the content areas of math, science, English language arts and social studies education through the National Technology Leadership Initiative.

NTLI fellowships were established to recognize exemplary presentations related to integration of technology in core content areas at the annual meetings of each participating association.

Joining Lovett, an MTSU assistant professor, on this year’s honored project were:

• Lara Kristen Dick, Bucknell University mathematics assistant professor.
• Allison McCulloch, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, assistant professor of mathematics education.
• Milan Sherman, Drake University assistant professor of mathematics education.
• Kristi Martin, North Carolina State University graduate student.

“Technology is being used to deepen MTSU students’ understanding of function and understanding of how middle school students learn about function with an online applet,” Lovett said.

MTSU students watched videos of middle school students’ engagement with the applet to learn about how teenagers learn about functions, she added.

“My cross-institutional research team is one of the few groups researching professional noticing (understanding students’ thinking) in technology-based mathematics tasks,” Lovett said. “So, having my research and our team receive this honor means a great deal and validates the importance of our work.”

The Association of Mathematics Educators recognizes winners of the national fellowship through a competitive process that requires submitting a paper in advance of the conference.

Lovett, a former middle school and high school teacher, will receive $1,200 provided by Texas Instruments to defray travel expenses to present at the SITE conference.

She earned two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and her doctorate from North Carolina State.

MTSUhas more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. Math is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciencesprograms.

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