Priya Sharma is an assistant professor of Education at PSU. Her research focuses on the design of technologies to facilitate critical and reflective thinking.
Informal Learning in Fantasy Sports Chatrooms
Statement of Interest
Sociocultural research has tried to characterize differences between the types of learning that occur in formal educational contexts and the world outside of schools. For instance, studies of activities such as carpet laying, farming, candy selling (Carraher et al., 1985; Saxe, 1991), shopping (Lave, 1988), and game playing (Nasir, 2002, 2005) have examined the use of mathematical knowledge during interactions with the environment, tools, and social partners. An important finding of this work is that mathematical practices occur as people attempt to fulfill goals during everyday activities and these practices often look different than those found in formal mathematics education.
One aspect of our research concerns the decisions made within the culture of fantasy sports, as players may be engaging in a great deal of thinking and learning around mathematical concepts such as optimization and statistical analyses. Some of these decisions may be mathematical while others may be tied to personal preferences, beliefs, and biases. We focus on three aspects of fantasy sports play that may influence the use of informal mathematics (Saxe, 1991): 1) the structure of decision-making activities, 2) artifacts and conventions that enable the activities, and 3) social interactions between game players. The intent is to characterize the relationship between player's goals and their use of mathematical knowledge in fantasy sports games.