Mathematics Education: Taking a Clue
From the Recent Technological Revolution
Technology in the Classroom
What is it that we mean when talking of technology in the classroom? The following paragraph from Integrating Technology into Middle School Mathematics (
Today's technology can offer adolescents a bridge from concrete to abstract thinking, enabling them to observe and create multiple representations of mathematical ideas: numerically, graphically, and symbolically. For example, students can use geometric construction software to investigate the relationship between the circumference and diameter of a circle. They can measure several round objects and record the circumference and diameter (numerical representation). They can plot the values and estimate a "best fit" (graphical representation). Students can then determine the best fit equation (symbolic representation).
Finally, information technologies such as word processing, calculators, spreadsheet tools, and the Internet can enable middle-grade students to begin learning higher communication and problem-solving skills - abilities that are essential to mathematical thinking (NCTM, 1989). (A word of warning: the are dangers, though, and skill acquisition is not automatic. A.B.)
As information technology is subsumed into the greater culture, it becomes more transparent, viewed simply as an implement to foster human achievement and communication. Technology in the classroom should play a similar role: as an everyday tool that empowers students to explore and master important ideas and to develop valuable personal traits.