Why integrate technology into the mathematics classroom?
With the emergence of new computing technologies there has developed the promise of a rapid transformation of the teaching and learning of mathematics. In recent years the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has recommended that teachers integrate a variety of technologies into lessons to provide students with new approaches, multiple representations, and the possibility of individual investigations.
- Explain the importance of technology use in society today
- Demonstrate an understanding that the technology must fit cohesively with the curriculum
- Demonstrate an understanding of the role that teachers play when integrating technology
- Demonstrate an understanding of the positive and negative effects that technology can have in a mathematics classroom
Besides the financial situation of school districts one of the most difficult aspects of integrating technology into a mathematics is the changing role that the teacher must play. The traditional teaching style of notes and lectures often give way to more constructivist ideals such as exploration and critical thinking. The focus of lessons moves from the memorization of formulas and theorems to the discovery and creation of of formulas and theorems.
Look at both pictures below and imagine you are a student learning about parallel lines cut by a transversal. Which pictures shows a lesson that feels 1) more visually appealing, 2) more motivating, and 3) easier to understand?
Example 1: In a lesson of this style the teacher has already draw this picture on the whiteboard or chalkboard. Students would copy this down and the teacher would then provide students with the rules.
Example 2: This is a program developed in Geometer's Sketchpad. Once the students create the picture shown below they would be able to show all the angle measurements and move the points to increase and decrease angles. From there students would make a conjecture about which angles are equal and which are supplementary. Note that while this looks similar to the picture above it would allow students to interact.
Most people prefer example number 2 because it provides interaction with the geometry. It allows students to become engaged members of the learning community. Also, notice that the geometry becomes more dynamic instead of one static picture. Thus, students will be able to view multiple representations of the geometry.
Continue to Unit 2: Mathematical Exploration with Geometer's Sketchpad (GSP)