The Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning has worked with a variety of partners over extended periods of time to create conditions for learning environments that optimize students’ understanding of the mathematics they are learning. Carolyn A. Maher, Distinguished Professor of mathematics education and the Director of the Institute, working with small staff and a growing network of Research Associates, has been national leader in the field. Maher’s team has established a successful track record in conducting collaborative research and teacher development projects, increasing knowledge in the field and bringing it into the classroom. At the heart of the Davis Institute approach is the idea that a focus on deep understanding in mathematical problem solving is the key to increasing mathematics achievement. Research has shown that children have powerful mathematical ideas and ways of reasoning that develop over time. The Davis Institute’s unique video collection includes over 4,500 hours of longitudinal and cross-sectional video data on children’s learning and reasoning. This video collection is unique and can serve as an important tool for teacher learning.
The Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning has acquired a unique video collection through research over a period spanning three decades about how children develop mathematical ideas and ways of reasoning. With funding from multiple grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, studies were conducted in a variety of settings and locations in New Jersey. The collection features the seminal Rutgers-Kenilworth longitudinal study, which followed the same cohort of children from first grade through high school and beyond (now in its 23rd year). Also featured is a year-long study based in a 4th grade classroom that focuses on children learning about fractions and rational numbers before any formal instruction per the school’s curriculum at the time. The collection also features children from urban schools, with both classroom and after-school settings, including the Informal Math Learning study conducted over two-and-one-half years with two cohorts of students and a cadre of teachers as participants in the research. In sum, there are over 4,500 hours of video in the collection. Mathematical content includes strands of counting-combinatorics, early algebra, fractions, probability, and pre-calculus. Our current work, Video Mosaic Collaborative, is aimed at preserving this unique collection and making it accessible broadly to researcher, teacher educators, and teachers.