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Visualisation Processes in Mathematics Education (VIPROmaths)

General Statement

The central theme of visualisation processes in the teaching and learning of Mathematics forms the overarching theme and research agenda that binds the community of students in this project together.  The VIPROmaths project researches the effective use of visualisation processes in the mathematics classroom in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Switzerland and Germany. The project positions the work on visualization strongly in a South African context with an emphasis on generating knowledge that will position itself locally and have direct impact on local schooling.   The body of knowledge generated will thus consist of a collection of works of the individual participating post-graduate students.  This project’s work will be synthesized and collated at the end of the project in the form of a book.


  • Generating new knowledge and insight in mathematics education that is particularly aimed at improving classroom practice and pedagogy in South Africa;
  • Contribute vigorously to post-graduate capacity building by successfully supervising PhD and Master’s students;
  • Contribute to transformation by actively recruiting, mentoring and supervising mostly black scholars;
  • Participate and play a leading role on the international and continental stage of mathematics education.


The rationale of the VIPROmaths research is embedded in the desire and need to make a positive contribution to:

  • the improvement of mathematics classroom practice in South(ern) Africa (South Africa, Namibia and to a lesser extent Zambia), Switzerland and Germany,
  • the development of teaching and learning competencies, and,
  • the building of scientific capacity in South Africa and countries participating in this project. 


The aims and objectives of the VIPROmaths project consist of two intertwined strands:

Strand 1

Focuses on designing quality processes for the development, production and implementation of new VITALmaths videos, GeoGebra applets and appropriate support materials. The knowledge gained by the production as well as the products themselves will be used as:

  • instruments to research aspects of visualisation in the mathematics classroom as articulated in our research questions;
  • instruments for teacher education and teacher development;
  • instruments for the teaching and learning in mathematics classrooms.

Strand 2

This strandconsists of our specific empirical research agenda that aims to:

  • research how visualisation processes inherent in GeoGebra and VITALmaths (and other platforms) could enhance the learning and teaching of Mathematics in secondary schools in South Africa, Namibia,  Switzerland and Germany;
  • explore hypotheses and conjectures on how visualisation competence could be developed, grown and supported;
  • build PhD research capacity in South Africa and Namibia.


 Research Themes

The individual research questions of the students’ research projects fall into four clusters:

  • Visualisation as a pedagogy
    • What is the role of visualisation processes as a teaching tool in the development of mathematical knowledge?
    • What is the nature (kinds, types and qualities) of visualisation processes in the teaching of mathematics?
    • How are visualisation processes and using manipulatives related?
  • Visualisation and cognition
    • What does learning using visualisation processes entail?
    • What visualisation process enable learners to construct conceptual understanding and meaning making of mathematical concepts?
  • Visualisation as a key mathematical construct
    • How do visualisation processes relate to mathematising?
    • What is the role of visualisation in the construction of metaphors?
  • Visualisation as a medium for epistemological access
    • What are the roles of visualisation processes in the inclusive classroom?  This would specifically relate to visualisation processes for those at the margins of the mainstream classroom, that is, for mentally, physically and emotionally challenged learners.

The research questions are structured around individual research projects driven by Masters and PhD students.  In order to optimise community impact of the work that the research projects are doing, each research project has at its core an intervention element that is integral to the research design.  Participants in these intervention programmes include teachers and learners, depending on the specific focus of the research project.

Last Modified: Fri, 09 Feb 2018 15:06:17 SAST