Video Conferencing in a Bridge-building Mathematics Activity

Gerald Maring, Denny Davis, John Doty, Todd Johnson, and Michelle Fickle

Full Title

Preservice Teachers Use High End Video Conferencing in a Bridge-building/Mathematics Activity

Author Information

Gerald H. Maring is professor of Teaching and Learning and Co-director of the Engineering Education Research Center at Washington State University. He has been an active teacher and educational researcher since 1977. Since 1996 he has added technology and the STEM literacies to his research related to content literacy in the context of school-university partnerships.

Denny Davis is professor of Bioengineering and Co-director of the Engineering Education Research Center at Washington State University. He has been an active teacher and educational researcher in engineering design learning and assessment for the past two decades.

John H. Doty is a graduate student in literacy and quantitative literacy in the College of Education at Washington State University. He has worked as a research assistant in cybertutoring and teaching assistant in educational technology, and now works on a grant with graduate students teaching project-based mathematics in high schools.

Todd Johnson, Ph.D. CRC, CVE is an Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology at Washington State University in Pullman. His research is in recruitment and retention to identify and broaden the opportunities for participation by diverse and underrepresented populations in the areas of science, math, engineering, and technology in post-secondary education.

Michelle J. Fickle is currently a kindergarten teacher Eva G. Simmons Elementary in Las Vegas, Nevada. During graduate studies at Washington State University, she participated in and coordinated numerous cyber tutorials in mathematics literacy and various other content and developmental literacies.


Our purpose in this descriptive, exploratory study is to report on our efforts in conducting a cyber tutoring project that combined two curricular domains ---- mathematics education and engineering education. Our goal to explore tutor/tutee interactions (carried on through video conferencing) in the context of a bridge building simulation, using plastic straws and masking tape. The project used cyber connectivity to engage preservice teachers and pupils with each other as tutors and tutees in an alternative high school 110 miles from our campus.

Technologies Used in This Article

The main part of this article uses standard HTML with images in PNG and JPEG formats, and should be accessible with any modern browser.


Support in the preparation of this research and report was provided, in part, by the following grants:

  • Bridges for Engineering Education (BEE) BEE Planning Project - "The CyberMENTOR [mathematics and Engineering via New Technologies: Outreach and Recruitment] Planning Project: A series of monthly themed technology summits." NSF Grant No.: EEC-0342056.
  • Helmstetter, E.H., et al. (1994-2004). Collaboration for teacher education accountable to children with high needs/CO-TEACH [Title II Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this paper are those of the authors) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding sources. Words and work of students and teachers quoted in this article are reproduced by permission.

Publication Data

Published December, 2006. Article ID: 1344
Copyright © 2006 by Gerald Maring

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