Integrating Technology into the Mathematics Classroom|
The NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (2000) defines several principles for school mathematics, one of which is the Technology Principle. It acknowledges, "Technology is essential in teaching and learning mathematics; it influences the mathematics that is taught and enhances students' learning."
Technology, such as calculators, standard software programs, and the Internet, can be effectively used to enhance instruction in a number of ways. These include allowing students to perform tedious calculations more quickly, organizing data for tables and graphs efficiently, and presenting processes and findings more clearly.
Teachers often debate whether to teach the process for using a calculator for a particular mathematical topic first or whether to teach the mathematics first and then teach the calculator process. Many teachers are opting to teach the mathematical topic concurrently with the calculator process.
Here are several ways students and teachers can use the calculator as an appropriate learning tool in the classroom.
- Study Aids. If the calculator process is complicated, prepare a "cheat sheet" for students to help them become familiar with the steps they need to use as they learn the mathematics and the process at the same time. Many times the calculator procedure can help students to better understand the mathematical topic.
- Inverse Function Explorations. Geometry and trigonometry students can explore inverse trigonometric functions by recording the answers from their calculators for expressions such as sin(60) and sin-1(sin(60)).
- Function Families. Students can investigate families of functions, such as y = x, y = 2x, y = -2x, by graphing them on the same screen on a graphing calculator.
- Compare Values. Students could compare the values for permutations and combinations using those functions on their calculators.
- Program Calculators. Students can write simple programs for programmable calculators.
There are a variety of software programs that can help your students learn mathematics and also to present their findings and ideas in reports and presentations. Students can utilize the following software programs.
- Geometry drawing programs can be used to make and verify conjectures, such as the relationship between the number of sides of a polygon and the sum of the interior angles. Students can also make their own conjectures and visually prove or disprove the conjecture using the software.
- Spreadsheets can be used to generate patterns from formulas. Use the spreadsheet to verify predictions. Students will learn to write formulas in different forms to use in the spreadsheet. For example, students can determine whether a regular polygon will tessellate the plane by dividing 360 by the measure of one interior angle of the polygon.
- Word processing can be used to write research reports and present findings from mathematical investigations. Have students learn to incorporate spreadsheets, graphs, and equations into their documents. The ability to prepare comprehensive reports is an invaluable workplace skill.
- Presentation programs, such as PowerPoint, can be used to make presentations to their classmates and others.
The Internet provides a wealth of opportunities for students to explore mathematics concepts and history. Consider the following uses of the Internet for your students.
Additional Technologies for Instruction
- Use the Internet to do research for mathematics projects. For example, have students research the history of a mathematics concept.
- Create your own mathematical WebQuest suitable for the topics your students are studying. Check the Glencoe Mathematics Web site for WebQuests you can use in conjunction with your Glencoe Mathematics program today. Visit your book site's Online Study Tools section to locate available WebQuests.
- Find dynamic software on the Internet that demonstrates a mathematical topic, such as fractals.
- Locate information on a topic they are currently studying to help them deepen their understanding of the topic.
Teachers can make innovative uses of almost any technology in mathematics education. Consider the following ideas.
This article was contributed by Teri Willard, a mathematics specialist in Belgrade, Montana.
- Interactive white boards can be used by students to plot points, find slope, and graph linear functions using this interactive technology. Another suggestion is to use the technology for whole class games using specific software.
- Calculator-Based Laboratory™ can be used to gather scientific data. Have students make graphs and look for patterns in the data.
- Digital video cameras allow students to make mathematical presentations that demonstrate their understanding of math concepts.