In the world of education, mathematics is one of the more difficult subjects for students to grasp and they often find it to be very boring. For teachers, one of the important tasks that they need to accomplish is creating an engaging learning environment for students. With mathematics, students often get bored and there are not many “fun” activities associated with the concepts, such as an experiment in science. The new age of technology is bringing with it many new and exciting ways to learn, and it is helping student become more engaged with mathematical concepts.
Technology is placing its mark on classroom mathematics as students are gaining access to higher level calculators, computer programs/internet games, and interactive white boards/tablets. Teachers have to take extra time to learn how to use these devices, as they are in such high demand. Also with these devices teachers can really improve their instruction in a number of ways.
Calculators and computer programs have been in the classrooms for some time now and have been changing the way students approach math. As calculators can be seen as a debate for many teachers, if they are helping or hurting the students, they are becoming a crucial part of a math classroom. A Vanderbilt University article wrote that “calculators are useful tools in elementary mathematics classes, if students already have some basic skills” (2008). Calculators should only be used after students have learned how to generate a solution on their own; which makes this is a good tool for students to be able to check their own work. This technology resource is also a good tool for students in upper level math to help them with solving complicated mathematical problems. A Vanderbilt University professor also quoted in the same above article that “For students who did not know many multiplication facts, generating the answers on their own, without a calculator, was important and helped their performance on subsequent tests; but for students who already knew some multiplication facts, it didn't matter – using a calculator to practice neither helped nor harmed them” (2008). This is very much true. If children are given a tool such as this right from the start they will never learn how to solve such problems on their own, but with guidance of the teacher first and then the added support such a tool, the calculator could become a very powerful aid.
Computers have been developing over the years and so have their programs and the internet. With this resource teachers can open many doors for their students when working on mathematical projects. “There are a variety of software programs that can help students learn mathematics and also to present their findings and ideas in reports and presentations” (Willard 2005). Students can use computer programs such as geometry drawing programs, spreadsheets, word processing, presentation programs, and much more to help them explain their findings to the teacher as well as other classmates. Using these programs in math also helps strengthen student skills for using the programs for other subjects as well. The internet also opens the door to many possibilities for students to explore more about mathematical concepts. There are many websites that allow students to practice what they know through playing games or solving real world problems. Sites such as ABCya.com help elementary students practice the skills they are learning in a fun way that is appropriate for their grade. With the computer programs and the internet, teachers can open a whole new world into their math classroom and teaching, and it provides a quick and easy way for students to be engaged in their learning.
Technology’s newest creation is that of the interactive white boards and tablets, where they are getting students actively engaged in the process of their learning. These interactive pieces are allowing students to become more hands on with their learning, but still able to connect with the new age of technology. “At its best the iPad, with many great math apps, can be a wonderful way to explore mathematics in a more interactive way than can be done with images in textbooks” (Engelward 2013). With these technology resources, math class can be an exciting place to be and a way to get students really involved with the learning process. There are many apps in the Apple world that relate to helping students with their mathematical skills, and they are created in a way that gets students excited about learning math.
There are many ways to integrate technology into the classroom, and I choose the specific technology resources above because I feel that they were best at helping students to succeed in the classroom. I would use use calculators to help students to be able to check their own work. Giving students the calculator too early can have its drawbacks, so once the students have learned to solve the problem on their own then I would give them the calculator as a way to check their work. The computer is a valuable resource to help students explore the world and relate it back to their studies. With this resource, I would have students do a possible project were they would have to research a particular topic and then solve mathematical problems that go along with their data. In high school, I did a project that followed this idea and I had to look up data on hurricanes and then use statistics to solve different problems. I would also have students practice their mathematical skills on the computer through website games like ABCya, mentioned above. Then finally with the newest technology of interactive whiteboards and tablets, I would create lessons that would engaged the students and get them up and moving during the lesson. Creating SMART lessons are a lot of fun and I feel that the students really enjoy how they can interact with what is on the board, and it makes the lesson more engaging.
Technology is surrounding the world and it is now becoming a major part of our classrooms. There are so many new exciting technology pieces that have been created to help students, become more engaged in their learning process. Mathematics classes have been stereotyped as boring and un-able to be engaging, but with new technology advances that stereotype can now fade away.
Engleward, A. (2013). Technology in math education: the iPad a game-changer?. Retrieved February 1, 2013, from http://www.extension.harvard.edu/hub/blog/math-teaching/technology-math-education-ipad-game-changer
Willard, T. (2005). Integrating technology into the mathematics classroom. Retrieved January 28, 2013, from http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/subject/int_tech_math.phtml
Vanderbilt University (2008, August 20). Calculators okay in math class, if students know the facts first, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 3, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080819160203.htm