Brent Davis is a Werklund Research Professor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada. His research is focused on the educational relevance of recent developments in the cognitive and complexity sciences, with particular interests in teacher knowledge and mathematics learning.
Krista Francis is an associate professor in Educational Studies in the Learning Sciences in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada. Her research focuses on the teaching and learning mathematics with technology, with particular interests in how programming robots can support learning spatial reasoning.
This project is supported by funding received through the Werklund Professor program.
To the extent we were able, we consulted a wide range of sources, including original writings, scholarly essays, research reports, professional literatures, classroom resources, and online sites. We ranged widely in our searches because our main aim was to assemble broad-based descriptions of popular usages, not to champion authors’ original explications (although we did attempt to render those with reasonable fidelity). For that reason, reference lists are not included. Had we attempted to do so, most would have been extensive and necessarily incomplete, thus risking false impressions that some sources were privileged and others ignored).
Where inconsistencies arose, they were flagged, especially when they occurred between the descriptions offered by seminal thinkers and those promoted by interpreters or taken up by practitioners. When original writings were in translation, we attempted to consult multiple versions – especially when differences arose around translators’ choices of key metaphors and images. We encountered more than one instance of translated terms that exist in very different ecosystems of association across languages – and, therefore, that may channel interpretations in unintended ways. (An especially cogent instance is the variation in meaning between English verbs construe and construct, both of which are translations of the French construire. Without additional context, opting for one or the other can frustrate explications of Constructivisms, Genetic Epistemology, Structuralism, and other prominent discourses.) Even more often, we came across dramatically different vocabularies and foci when comparing academic and professional literatures purporting to address the same discourse. We represented our grapplings with these divergences in different ways, especially when offering our analyses of the “Principal Metaphors” in each of the summaries.
Despite our efforts to assemble informed and defensible summaries, as noted above, we’re well aware that there will be unintended misreadings, distortions, and absences. We are committed to updating and revising the site as we learn more, and so we welcome advice, corrections, and queries.