Rethinking Digital Technology versus Paper and Pencil in 3D Geometry

Floriano Viseu, Helena Rocha, José Manuel Monteiro

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Recognising the relevance of learning Geometry, and in particular 3D Geometry, this study aims to discuss the contributions that digital technology and paper and pencil approaches can bring to students’ learning. We seek, therefore, to identify the differences between the two approaches, and specifically: What factors are relevant in one and the other approach? What does one approach facilitate over the other? A quantitative and a qualitative and interpretive methodology was adopted, and based on a didactic intervention, the students' resolutions of the proposed tasks were analysed. The results obtained show that the experience and prior knowledge of the students with each of the solids involved seems to be decisive in the approach with paper and pencil. However, technology emerges as an enhancing resource when prior knowledge is more fragile. The study also shows differences between the representations supported by the two resources, suggesting the mobilisation of different knowledge by the students in relation to each of the resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-278
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Learning for Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2022


  • 3D Geometry
  • Digital technology
  • Learning
  • Paper and pencil
  • Secondary education


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