Abstract

During the past decades, there has been a fundamental change in the objectives and nature of mathematics education, as well as a shift in research paradigms. The changes in mathematics education emphasize learning mathematics from realistic situations, students' invention or construction solution procedures, and interaction with other students of the teacher. This shifted perspective has many similarities with the theoretical . perspective of Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) developed by Freudental. The RME theory focused the guide reinvention through mathematizing and takes into account students' informal solution strategies and interpretation through experientially real context problems. The heart of this reinvention process involves mathematizing activities in problem situations that are experientially real to students. It is important to note that reinvention in a collective, as well as individual activity, in which whole-class discussions centering on conjecture, explanation, and justification play a crucial role. The overall purpose of this study is to examine the developmental research efforts to adpat the instructional design perspective of RME to the teaching and learning of differential equation is collegiate mathematics education. Informed by the instructional design theory of RME and capitalizes on the potential technology to incorporate qualitative and numerical approaches, this study offers as approach for conceptualizing the learning and teaching of differential equation that is different from the traditional approach. Data were collected through participatory observation in a differential equations course at a university through a fall semester in 2003. All class sessions were video recorded and transcribed for later detailed analysis. Interviews were conducted systematically to probe the students' conceptual understanding and problem solving of differential equations. All the interviews were video recorded. In addition, students' works such as exams, journals and worksheets were collected for supplement the analysis of data from class observation and interview. Informed by the instructional design theory of RME, theoretical perspectives on emerging analyses of student thinking, this paper outlines an approach for conceptualizing inquiry-oriented differential equations that is different from traditional approaches and current reform efforts. One way of the wars in which thus approach complements current reform-oriented approaches 10 differential equations centers on a particular principled approach to mathematization. The findings of this research will provide insights into the role of the mathematics teacher, instructional materials, and technology, which will provide mathematics educators and instructional designers with new ways of thinking about their educational practice and new ways to foster students' mathematical justifications and ultimately improvement of educational practice in mathematics classes.