Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction


Dr. Andrew M. Tyminski

Committee Member

Dr. Bob Horton

Committee Member

Dr. Cynthia C. Deaton

Committee Member

Dr. Benjamin Deaton


With the adoption of Common Core State Standards, mathematics teachers have been expected to emphasize conceptual understanding as much as procedural and computational fluency in their teaching. Development of a sound mathematical content knowledge during their teacher education could enable mathematics teachers to meet this expectation. The infusion of technology into the domain of mathematics education has also modified the nature of mathematical content knowledge. Regarding the expectations and changes in the nature of mathematical content knowledge, in this dissertation, I examined the influence of Geometer's Sketchpad (GSP) on pre-service middle grade mathematics teachers' Specialized Content Knowledge (SCK); how their beliefs about mathematics, teaching and technology affected their content development process; and the impact of a technology-enhanced geometry course on Technological Content Knowledge (TCK). These research routes resulted in three manuscripts to be submitted to high impact journals in the field of mathematics teacher education. Two main theoretical frameworks guided the operationalization of the constructs under investigation: 1) Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (MKT) (Ball, Thames, & Phelps, 2008); and 2) Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) (Koehler & Mishra, 2005). With respect to the MKT framework, SCK was defined as the mathematical knowledge a teacher would utilize while answering a student's unexpected why question about a procedure highlighted, while making an attempt to understand a student's mathematical error, and while making sense of an unusual student procedure for a given task or problem. To categorize teachers' beliefs, I utilized Ernest's (1989) categorization of beliefs about mathematics, Kuhs and Ball's (1986; cited in Thompson, 1992) framework for beliefs about teaching, and Chen's (2011) framework for beliefs about technology. Regarding TPACK framework, I defined TCK as the technology knowledge pertaining to GSP, awareness of its affordances and limitations while solving an open geometry problem. A case study approach was used as the methodology for the study. 16 pre-service middle grade mathematics teachers who enrolled in a graduate geometry course in the fall semester of 2013 were the participants of the study. According to varieties in their SCK and beliefs at the beginning of the study, six of them were selected as focal participants who were interviewed three times during the semester. Task-based interviews, questionnaires, course artifacts, classroom observations, and a pre-post MKT assessment were the main data sources. Corbin and Strauss' (1998) open coding strategy, theme analysis and pattern matching (Yin, 2008), and narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connely, 1996) were used within the analytical techniques. Findings from this study showed pre-service teachers' common content knowledge development, availability of instructional opportunities to investigate their and other pre-service teachers' mathematical errors, and to justify their mathematical reasoning were factors influencing their SCK development. While GSP was influential for content knowledge development, teachers' views and beliefs about technology determined the level of their gains from the software. Data also allowed me to generate an analytical framework to evaluate pre-service teachers' TCK pertaining to GSP. The administration of this framework on data from three geometry tasks showed the necessity of instructional guidance to investigate the affordances of the software in order to effectively use it as a problem-solving tool. Regarding findings in this dissertation, future research would focus on the study of SCK development with a higher number of participants, and would evaluate course activities that are designed to accelerate mathematics teachers' TCK improvement with respect to the framework developed.