## Some Conflict of
Pressures Caused by the Tradition
of Teaching Mathematics and the
Development of the New Information
Technology
*Harry Silfverberg*
`tnhasi@uta.fi`
Department of teacher education
**University of Tampere**
P.O. Box 607 33101 Tampere
Finland
### Abstract
Nowadays many reasons support
the view, that the development of
information technology will even
in the near future inevitably change
both the contents of school mathematics
and the pedagogy of school mathematics.
For example
(1) increasingly efficient graphic
and symbolic calculators are becoming
cheaper and cheaper,
(2) the amount of such web-services,
which can be used to enrich mathematics
teaching, are increasing all the
time,
(3) the networking of the schools
is proceeding rapidly,
(4) teachers' and students' skills
to utilise technological tools are
becoming better, and so on.
However, there are also many obstacles
for taking into use the new technology
in schools: (1) many teachers are
afraid that the increasing use of
technological tools will danger
the level of learning in mathematics
(both the basic routines and the
understanding of the concepts),
(2) the traditional mathematics
curriculum don't allow teachers
or students to spend time in this
kind of subjects, (3) teachers have
often negative attitudes toward
the use of new methods in teaching
mathematics, (4) because the national
matriculation examination don't
demand skills to use technological
tools those skills are not important,
(5) mathematics textbooks do not
take account the use of developed
calculators and computers, and so
on. As we want to promote the use
of technological tools in mathematics
teaching, at least three things
will become crucial. First we have
to plan and arrange such in-service
and pre-service teacher education
courses, where teachers and teacher
students can gain their knowledge
about the possibilities, which the
new technology offers to mathematics
education, and where they can improve
their technological skills. Secondly
we have to solve the problem how
to motivate teachers to participate
to this kind of courses. Thirdly
we have to activate teachers both
during the courses and after them
to favour more technological learning
environments in their mathematics
teaching. This paper gives an overview
of the results of the study by which
it was tried to find out (1) how
well educated Finnish mathematics
teachers and teacher students experience
the conflict of pressures caused
by the tradition of teaching mathematics
and the development of the new information
technology, (2) which kind of obstacles
they have met in taking into use
or in planning to take in use new
technology in mathematics teaching
and (3) how probable they see different
kind of changes in mathematics teaching
methods which might or should happen
in the future. All the teachers
and teacher students, who answered
the questionnaire of this study
and/or were interviewed, had before
participated in the so called MATEKNO
[Technological rich learning environments
in school mathematics]-project and
were through that project well acquainted
with the possibilities, which (1)
the WWW, (2) so-called hand-held
technology (graphic and symbolic
calculators) and (3) the commercial
and non-commercial computer programs
can offer for learning and doing
mathematics in a new way. The information
gathered by this study will help
us to design more realistic and
effective in-service and pre-service
teacher education in the future.
© 1999.
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