Reflection on "The Role of Computers in
Mathematics Teaching and Learning"
The approaches to teaching mathematics vary greatly, but technology
is a growing link in all approaches. Technology itself is growing
all over the world. Students need to know about all kinds of technology
for future careers and introducing them to certain aspects of
it in the classroom will be very beneficial. However, it should
be used as an enhancement to what they have already learned or
When used appropriately, computers and technology in the classroom can enhance student learning and understanding. Traditional teaching cannot always reach every student, but with the incorporation of technology students can visually see and understand concepts easier. It can also get those students who do not enjoy math usually more involved and grow their interest in the subject more. This type of motivation is great for students who really have no drive to work on math, but they really like computers and technology so it does get them involved more in math class. Teachers just need to be careful that the technology is being used for math during class time.
The different kinds of software really are valuable resources for teachers. Having students use Geometer's Sketchpad and other programs that help them to perform task and investigations helps to accomplish the NCTM standards of getting students to think about their problems, making connections, and further explorations if they get interested. Teachers need to familiarize themselves with such software to help all their students' learning. Instructional software is better used in elementary grades. Getting the younger students to do the drill with practice type software helps them practice on previously learned concepts. It is not as good for the middle and high school grades. The students quickly learn how to manipulate the program so that they do not have to do the work required of them which ends up hurting them in their mathematics abilities. This goes back to the fact that technology must be used appropriately in order to be affective.
Many concerns can be brought up when the discussion of technology is mentioned, but the two in this article are probably the biggest. Teacher preparation is a big issue because it takes a lot of time for the teachers to get to know a program and learn activities for themselves, and then they have to find class time to show the students how to work it and do activities. Also, (and this is even something that is a concern in college) money is a big issue. Either funding issues within school systems or economic constraints on the student's end are problems that are frequently run into. Even at the college level, there are some classes that require students to buy software in order to do assignments, but sometimes students do not have a computer at home or are on scholarship and may not be able to find the extra money to buy the program needed for class. The issue of money is a big one. It also brings up the issue of educational equity for school systems when you have some systems that cannot afford what others can. This will later create problems in postsecondary schools.
Teachers coming right out of college now are better taught in technology for the classroom then they have in years past, but the big thing is integrating this technology into the classroom and getting the technology into the classroom. It would be nice if this were a perfect world and every math class in the nation could have a class set of computers and the software that could help so many students, but as we all know it's not a perfect world.