Breaking the Silence and Revealing the Backstage

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    It is for the first time in its history that ESM publishes a series of papersmade not only of words and static pictures on paper, but also of animatedand interactive graphical representations, and motion pictures with sound(video-clips) of mechanical devices and of students, teachers and re-searchers working with them. This issue of ESM makes the word papersound completely inadequate.

    In its beginnings, ESM gave voice mainly to researchers in mathe-matics education. But then authors started to illustrate their papers withverbatim transcripts of conversations involving students, teachers and re-searchers. The research subjects voice could thus be heard, albeit onlyin a metaphorical way. With the video-papers, the subjects voice is nowliterally heard.

    Moreover, the reader is also a viewer, able not only to hear the wordsbeing exchanged but also to observe the gestures, the actions, and thebackground context of the conversations. What was previously hidden fromthe reader is now there for everyone to see and hear. The view and theperspective were chosen by the author, but. . . the wings of the theatre areopen.

    This changes the relationship of the reader to the data, and, therefore,also the relationship between the author and the reader. With so much accessto the original data, the reader may become a participant in the researchand co-construct an interpretation of the data with the author. I hope thereadersviewers of this video-Special Issue of ESM will make the mostof this unprecedented opportunity.

    The technology of this Video Special Issue, as we have come to call itamong the editors, is not yet perfect. Certainly, the images and the soundscould be better. But the ideas brought forth through this multi-media expe-rience and collaboration of students, teachers and researchers open manynew horizons for teaching, learning and doing research in mathematicseducation.

    ANNA SIERPINSKAEditor-in-Chief

    Educational Studies in Mathematics 57: 301, 2004.C 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.