Orlando Meetings: Presentation Summary

Back to Orlando: Pre-Service Teacher Ed

This is the summary of a presentation given at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, January 10-13, 1996, Orlando, Florida.

A course in mathematics and technology for prospective teachers

Several national mathematics organizations have recommended the incorporation of appropriate computer technology into classrooms at all levels. A corollary of these recommendations is that prospective teachers of mathematics must thoroughly learn the appropriate uses, capabilities, and limitations of these devices, so that they can effectively manage the resultant classroom environment involving greater emphasis on student activity and discovery.

The Texas A & M Department of Mathematics has approached the challenge of training future secondary-school teachers in the use of various technologies by instituting a course in which students use TI-82 calculators, The Geometer's Sketchpad, and Maple to solve a variety of problems involving precalculus mathematics, discrete mathematics, calculus, geometry, linear algebra, and statistics. The prerequisite is the completion of a senior-level mathematics course, so that the course comes late in students' careers, and they can concentrate on the use of the technology as a problem-solving tool rather than attempt to learn substantial amounts of new mathematical content simultaneously. This is not a teaching methods course, but one in which students learn appropriate uses for the technology they will use in their teaching careers, in essentially the same type of active problem-solving setting that their future students will encounter. This is accomplished through a number of carefully chosen and challenging problem-solving experiences involving and extending mathematics learned in previous courses. Students also explore open-ended "project" problems of particular interest to them. Thus, the course provides a "capstone" experience in problem-solving as well as a mathematical content review for the future mathematics teacher.

Dr. Vincent P. Schielack, Jr.
Department of Mathematics
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-3368

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