Adinkra Mathematics: A study of Ethnocomputing in Ghana

William Babbitt, Michael Lachney, Enoch Bulley, Ron Eglash

Abstract


This paper details the development and evaluation of software that allows middle school students to explore the mathematical aspects of Ghanaian Adinkra symbols. We tested the effectiveness of this simulation in a Ghanaian junior high school by conducting a randomized quasi-experiment. We begin this paper by framing culturally responsive math education within the interventionist tradition of ethnomathematics. We draw this tradition together with an empirical exploration of the mathematics embedded in Adinkra symbols. We follow this with a methodological explanation for how we translated the mathematical significance of Adinkra into the design of our software, “Culturally Situated Design Tools.” Finally, we describe the quasi-experimental evaluation of the software using a randomized assignment of students in control and intervention groups in Ghana. We found statistically significant improvement for students using the culture-based software in comparison to similar software with no cultural content.


Keywords


indigenous knowledge, ethnomathematics, Ghana, culturally responsive education, Adinkra symbols

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17583/remie.2015.1399

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REMIE - Multidisciplinary Journal of Educational Research | ISSN: 2014-2862

Depósito Legal: B.34290-2012 | http://remie.hipatiapress.com | remie@hipatiapress.com