## Integrating Technology with Mathematics Teacher Preparation
*Zhonghong Jiang*
`jiangz@fiu.edu`
Subject Specializations
**Florida International University**
11200 SW 8th St. EB344B, Miami, FL 33199
U.S.A.
### Abstract
It has become increasingly evident that the use of technology
can facilitate mathematics education.
If we want to design a strong mathematics
teacher preparation program that
is consistent with the reform of
mathematics, we must emphasize the
infusion of technology into the
program. Important aspects of doing
so include integrating the use of
technology into mathematics content
and methods courses, designing and
offering at least one specific technology
course, implementing technology
in students' field experience activities,
and conducting research on the effects
of using technology on teacher preparation.
The mathematics education faculty
should work collaboratively with
mathematicians on exploring how
to integrate appropriate technology
into college mathematics courses.
The initial step may include using
computer algebra software such as
Maple and graphing calculators such
as TI-86 or TI-92 in the calculus
courses. These technologies have
been found by many mathematicians
to be a great help in facilitating
dynamic and interactive visualization
for calculus concepts and problems,
and in linking the visualization
to the numerical and symbolic aspects
of calculus to develop students'
conceptual understanding. At the
same time when calculus courses
are so benefited from technology,
statistics software such as Datadesk
and graphing calculators that have
statistics component should be used
in statistics and probability courses.
Within the mathematics methods course,
technology should be used for investigations,
applications, communications, problem
solving, and a suggested teaching
tool. The preservice teachers should
be expected to write their essay
questions, create sketches to illustrate
points of their discussion, and
utilize a variety of tools including
technology to analyze problem situations
or interpret data. At least one
specific technology course should
be designed and offered to the mathematics
preservice teachers. This course
could be named “Learning Mathematics
with Technology”, which treats
the preservice teachers as learners
of school mathematics in technology-rich
environments. The emphasis of this
course should be on exploration
of various mathematics contexts
to learn mathematics, to pose problems
and problem extensions, to solve
problems, and to communicate mathematical
demonstrations by using various
software applications and graphing
calculators. Students' classroom
explorations, follow-up investigations,
and projects that require the full
range of mathematical work in technology-rich
environments should be major course
activities. Sound pedagogical issues
such as cooperative learning with
technology, journal writing, and
more general considerations of communications
about, with, and through mathematics
will be woven throughout.
As my suggestion, the technology
activities in this course should
involve the following:
1) Using the dynamic movement and
dynamic measurement features of
the Geometer's Sketchpad (GSP) to
construct and investigate geometric
shapes, explore geometric transformations,
find out the relationships embedded
in certain geometric phenomena and
their real-world applications, and
develop mathematical reasoning based
on the electronic geometric models;
2) Using spreadsheets, graphing
calculators, Calculator-Based Laboratory,
World Wide Web, and other technology
tools to explore real-world data
collection, data analysis, and statistical
concepts through multiple formats
such as electronic index cards,
tables, charts, and graphs;
3) Using spreadsheets and mathematical
microworlds to simulate probabilistic
phenomena and explore both experimental
and theoretical probability; and
4) Using the analytical component
of GSP, spreadsheets, algebra software,
and/or graphing calculators to explore
algebraic operations, patterns and
functions with multiple representations
such as graphical, numerical, and
symbolic representations.
The preservice teachers should
implement the appropriate technologies
and problem solving techniques that
they learned in the technology course
and other courses with the middle
and high school students in their
field experience activities. When
they go to schools to visit mathematics
classrooms, they should be expected
to observe whether the children
involve the use of technology in
their learning and (if so) study
the role of technology in helping
the children's thinking. During
their student teaching, it should
be one of the requirements to use
appropriate technology to lead their
students to explore related mathematical
concepts and problem solving. In
order to constantly improve the
practices mentioned above and make
clear what is the correct direction
to go, research should be conducted
on how the preservice teachers adapt
to and use technology in their learning
and teaching of mathematics and
how this use of technology affects
their own and their students' learning
and understanding of mathematics.
A first stage of the research might
be to study how the preservice teachers
originally view the use of technology
in the mathematics classroom and
their possible attitude change during
the technology course.
© ATCM, Inc. 2000. |