Mathematical Representation Competency in Relation to Use of Digital Technology and Task Design: A Literature Review

Mathilde Kjær Pedersen, Cecilie Carlsen Bach, Rikke Maagaard Gregersen, Ingi Heinesen Højsted, Uffe Thomas Jankvist

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Representations are crucial to mathematical activity, both for learners and skilled mathematicians. Digital technologies (DT) to support mathematical activity offer a plethora of new possibilities, not least in the context of mathematics education. This paper presents a literature review on representations and activation of students’ representation competency when using DT in mathematics teaching and learning situations. It does so with a starting point in task designs involving digital tools aiming to activate representation competency, drawing on the notion of Mathematical Digital Boundary Object (MDBO). The 30 studies included in the literature review are analyzed using Duval’s registers of semiotic representations and the representation competency from the Danish KOM framework. The results reveal a clear connection between the mathematical topics addressed and the types of representation utilized, and further indicate that certain aspects of the representation competency are outsourced when DT are used. To activate the representation competency in relation to the use of DT, we offer five suggestions for consideration when designing mathematical tasks. Finally, we raise the question of whether DT create new representations or merely new activities. View Full-Text
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2021


  • Computer algebra systems
  • Dynamic geometry
  • Representation competency
  • Task design


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