Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Michael R. Simonson


This study investigated 28 preservice teachers' involvment in a ten-week long e-mail project linking them with elementary students in a mathematical problem solving activity. The preservice teachers sent mathematical problems each week to their student groups via e-mail. The elementary students solved the problems and responded with their solution and an explanation of their process. Of the college students, three preservice teachers with high levels of mathematics anxiety and three with low levels of anxiety were selected to be examined in case studies. Interviews with the case study participants, as well as data collected from all of the class members, provided insight into their perceptions of the e-mail activity;Results showed that the overall quality of the problems sent by the preservice teachers to their student groups increased as they learned about the skills of their elementary partners. They were very concerned about choosing problems at the appropriate difficulty level for their students, and cited good explanations of the problem solving process by the elementary students as being a key to their understanding. When poor explanations were provided by the elementary students, the preservice teachers' impressions of the e-mail activity were less favorable overall;The preservice teachers rated a set of problems more consistently with the participating teachers at the end of the e-mail activity than they did at the beginning, showing their understanding of what was appropriate for their student groups. However, the problems selected by the preservice teachers were not completely consistent with their beliefs of what good problems should entail. Mathematical anxiety levels had some influence on these inconsistencies, but anxiety levels had a smaller effect on participation than was anticipated;Myers' (1993) criteria for determining the authenticity of an activity demonstrated the potential of electronic links to make a favorable impact in teacher preparation programs. For this reason, benefits and limitations to using telecommunications in preservice teacher preparation programs were explored.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Dawn Marie Poole



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

197 pages