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A presentation of the following article was given at the Joint Mathematics Meetings, January 10-13, 1996, Orlando, Florida.

Technology Training of Pre-Service Teachers

Cathleen M. Zucco
LeMoyne College
Syracuse, New York 13214

In this paper, I will discuss briefly how LeMoyne College pre-service secondary-level mathematics teachers are prepared to integrate technologies in their classroom instruction. During a four week technology period, student teachers are instructed to use graphing claculators namely the TI-82, commercial mathematical video cassettes and commercial mathematical software including MAPLE V, a computer algebra system. This instruction occurs as one of the major units in the graduate/undergraduate mathematics education course, Education 615/400. Ususlly, eight to ten pre-service secondary-level mathematics teachers are registered for this course section every fall semester.

During the first week, I give the student teachers a brief overview of the features of the TI-82. For the rest of the technology unit, each pre-service teacher is allowed the opportunity to give his or her peers a short 10 minute demostration on one of the more advanced features of the TI-82. Usually, students have instructed their peers about such features as matrix operations, statistical procedures, and finding the roots of a variety of equations. These pre-service teachers have always commented on how much they have benefited from preparing and presenting their demonstrations since it provided them with the opportunity to gain valuable hands- on experience with graphing calculators. All the pre-service teachers use graphing calculators during their student teaching so this preparation is very essential.

Computer training starts, also, during the first week of this unit. At this time, the student teachers discuss in small groups guidelines for selecting and evaluating computer software. Each group must formulate a list of guidelines which are then compiled into one class list. The pre-service teachers are encouraged to evaluate every possible aspect of computer instructional software:format, instructions, reading level, student interaction, feedback, format, instructions, reading level, student interaction, feedback, positive reinforcement, development of skills and feasibility for lesson implementation and type of instructional method featured in the software.

Each pre-service teacher is then given, during the second week, a specific commercial mathematics software package. Some of the packages examined include: the Sunburst's Geometric Supposer, Addison-Wesley's Master Grapher and 3D Grapher, Addison-Wesley's the Calculus Explorer, I.B.M.'s Algebra II: Part I&II and Sauders College Publishing's Mathcue. Each student teacher must evaluate their package and then discuss with their peers in a ten to fifteen minute classroom demonstration the overall pros and cons of using their software package in a secondary-level mathematics classroom. What has made this an interesting hands-on-exercise is that the pre-service teachers are given both software that is effective and that is not effective as teaching tools.

Students spend some time evaluating commercial videos in much the same way that they evaluate computer software. Due to course time constraints, I choose a short video, show it to the students and ask them to discuss how they would or would not use it in a lesson for a secondary-level mathematics classroom. Some of the very good videos that have been examined are the Project Mathematics! series (California Institute of Technology), and the For All Practical Purposes series (An Annenberg/CPB Project).

In the third week of technology instruction, student teachers prepare and present a fifteen minute micro-lesson to their peers. Each lesson must incorporate computer software. While many students use standard commercial software, many use MAPLE V, the computer algebra system, that is licensed at Le Moyne College. Each micro lesson must be written for secondary-level students, must actively, engage students and must integrate computers as a teaching tool. Most of the lessons that the pre-service teachers have presented are discovery lessons that involve cooperate groups. Each student teacher's lesson is evaluated by his or her peers as well as myself, the professor of this course. Lessons are assessed for content and for their effectiveness as class presentations. As with all course lessons, these lessons are videotaped for future reference. During the fourth week, the technology training is bought to a closure with a writing project. Each pre-service teacher must write a 5-8 paper reflecting on how they intend to use technologies in their secondary-level mathematics classes. Their paper must include a description of some of the specific activities that they plan to use during their student teaching and how they will use technology to accomodate different learning styles of secondary-level students. Their paper must also address how they can use technologies to enhance their future students' critical thinking skills in the areas of synthesis, analysis, and evaluation.

The evaluation of this technology unit has been qualitative through teacher/course evaluations. Generally, feedback has been positive since students value the hands-on experience that this unit provides for them. Also, reaction of an anecdotal nature has been received from these pre-service teachers the following fall once they have secured a secondary-level mathematics position. Most of them have noted that since they were able to convince school principals during their interview that they were capable of incorporating technology in their classroom instruction they then had a competitve edge in securing their first teaching position.

In the future, I plan to enhance this technology unit even more and require that my pre-service teachers design and present an activity centered on the Internet that can be used in a secondary-level mathematiocs classroom. If this unit could actually be expanded into an entire course and if I could secure the funding then I would like to require students to create a short computer multi-media unit on a secondary level mathematics topic. As a mathematics educator of the "future mathematics teachers of America", I really believe that it is essential that pre-service teachers master technology along with effective instructional techniques.

Ms. Cathleen M. Zucco
Mathematics Center
LeMoyne College
Syracuse, NY 13214
email: zucco@maple.lemoyne.edu

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