MTSU math professor earns 2nd national fellowship ...

MTSU math professor earns 2nd national fellowship from technology teaching group

Jennifer Lovett exhibits Vending Machine Applet

When Dr. Jennifer N. Lovett joined the MTSU Department of Mathematical Sciences faculty in August 2016, she came as an already nationally recognized researcher.

Dr. Jennifer Lovett, assistant professor, mathematical sciences

Dr. Jennifer Lovett

In 2015, while a graduate assistant at North Carolina State University, Lovett received an Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators National Technology Leadership Initiative Fellowship. The fellowship focuses on incorporating technology to enhance teachers’ education lessons and undergraduate student teachers’ learning.

This year, Lovett led a five-person group to what has become her second AMTE national fellowship in four years, this time for their manuscript “Developing Preservice Teachers’ TPACK of Function Using a Vending Machine Metaphor Applet.”

TPACK, or Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, is the information teachers need to understand how to incorporate technology into their lessons to effectively teach a specific subject matter.

An applet is a small computer application.

Since fall 2000, the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, or SITE, has collaborated with four teacher education associations representing the content areas of math, science, English language arts and social studies education through the National Technology Leadership Initiative.

NTLI established its fellowships to recognize exemplary presentations related to integrating technology in core content areas made at the annual meetings of each participating association.

Joining Lovett, an MTSU associate professor, on this year’s honored project were:

  • Lara Kristen Dick, Bucknell University mathematics assistant professor.
  • Allison McCulloch, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, assistant professor of mathematics education.
  • Milan Sherman, Drake University assistant professor of mathematics education.
  • Kristi Martin, North Carolina State University graduate student.

“Technology is being used to deepen MTSU students’ understanding of function and understanding of how middle school students learn about function with an online applet,” Lovett said.

MTSU students watched videos of middle school students’ engagement with the applet to learn how teenagers learn about functions, she added.

“My cross-institutional research team is one of the few groups researching ‘professional noticing’ — understanding students’ thinking — in technology-based mathematics tasks,” Lovett said. “So having my research and our team receive this honor means a great deal and validates the importance of our work.”

The Association of Mathematics Educators recognizes winners of the national fellowship through a competitive process that requires submitting a paper before the conference.

Lovett, a former middle school and high school teacher, will receive $1,200 provided by Texas Instruments to defray travel expenses to present at the SITE conference.

She earned two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and her doctorate from North Carolina State.

MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. Mathematical Sciences is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences programs.

— Randy Weiler (

Jennifer Lovett exhibits Vending Machine Applet

MTSU assistant professor Jennifer N. Lovett exhibits the Vending Machine Applet she co-designed to help undergraduate math education majors deepen their understanding of function. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)