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Topic: Using Technology to Enhance Math Learning

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Subject:   RE: Using Technology to Enhance Math Learning
Author: Craig
Date: May 17 2005
On May 17 2005, macbeth wrote:
> I read through this discussion about how technology can be used to
> enhance student learning in mathematics and the discussion focused
> primarily on the appropriate use of calculators.  I wonder though
> why mathematics educators limit the technology to calculators when
> there is a wealth of software available today (Geometer's Sketchpad
> was referenced in one or two posts) that provides students with
> remedial and/or enrichment activities that are based on the NCTM
> standards.  The Princeton Review and even this product that we are
> using here provides online remediation/enrighment activities that
> increase and improve student's math skills.  Is anyone using
> software in their classroom or standards based websites such as
> MathTools that they find particularly valuable?

You make an excellent point.  I should have thrown comments into this discussion
much sooner, but "overwhelmed" is the mildest expression of my current state.  I
spend almost NO time with calculators any more; sure, I expect my students to
use them, and spend a little time teaching them how, but for my purposes the
graphing calculator is like a pencil and scratch paper--part of the
background.  I spend LOTS of time, especially with the Math Tools site, looking
for and trying various other technologies in teaching.  I routinely use (and
teach students to use) spreadsheets, for example.  In my Geometry class, I have
made extensive use of Geometer's Sketchpad, whether for preparing
teacher-delivered lessons or preparing student explorations (and I NEVER stop
at "see what you can do;" I ask for, and get, explanations based on theory).  I
have also used several Java applets (do a search on Alabama from the Math Tools
site to get some wonderful statistics applets from UAH) in Statistics, Geometry,
and Algebra.  I have also used Mathematica quite a bit in preparing lessons, but
lab limitations have precluded much use of it with my students.  Technology
allows students to see the forest by taking care of the trees (though I still
believe they need to learn many of those skills that technology will perform).
I view the use of technology in my classes as integral, not for remediation or
enrichment.  I expect ALL students to have positive technology experiences to
coincide with their positive mathematical experiences.

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