Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tech-Supported Math Chapter 23

While reading Chapter 23 of Technology-Supported Mathematics Learning Environments, there were several statements with which I agreed but also some which I questioned.

I definitely agreed with the idea on page 347 that technology allows for the study of different approaches to usually complex procedures by breaking them down into simpler procedures, and I believe that this is one of the most important benefits of technology in a mathematics classroom. Every student has different learning abilities, and technology can help students maximize their understanding by giving different approaches to theories and topics. However, I did not agree with a statement following this idea that suggested students should use a computer to factor polynomials before learning how to do so by hand. I am a firm believer that one should learn how to do procedures by hand first, otherwise it will become all too easy to overly rely on the technology and in turn develop a less-thorough understanding of mathematical theory.

I also agree with the statement on page 348 that it is "not the technology that makes the difference but rather how it is used and by whom." Technology is definitely only a mediator of knowledge, and I have always found that the way a teacher uses technology and other classroom resources to engage a class is the factor that makes the material either interesting or boring.

I also agree with the idea on page 355 that "many mathematics students have difficulty with the production of symbolic notation." I have generally found typing math symbols on a computer to be very difficult without the aid of a special program, such as Latex, and even then the task is still challenging. Perhaps the development of more technology in math classrooms will help to solve this problem.


LAN said...

Good points Katie. Technology, like you said, is only a tool or "mediator". How it is used and for what purpose are important aspects of integration in teaching. Regarding factoring polynomials using computer, there are java applets available on website the simulate factoring using visualization. Using the computer applets, students can visualize a very abstract concept using technology. Once the process is conceptually understood, students can move on a more abstract procedures by manipulating symbols by hand.

Jess Madigan said...

I LOVE the idea of allowing students to view difficult concepts using technology. I have always believed that you can teach any level of math at a very basic level. There are of course certain details that take time to learn, but even high school geometry can be explained to fifth graders using a step-by-step basis. They may not fully understand the details, but visualizing a shape and how it has an area and how to measure the angles can be taught at an elementary level if using the right technology (in my opinion).