For the Stubborn Math Teachers Who Never Use Technology

Integrating technology is an important part of  teaching math. While most content areas have embraced the merging of content and technology many math teachers have yet to embrace this shift in education.

Research has shown that the use of technology in the classroom had a positive impact on secondary school students’ success and attitudes in mathematics. Even though technology has shown to have a positive impact at the secondary level, the  Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed that more than three-quarters (76%) of eighth-grade students never or hardly ever used a computer for math learning at school in the United States. 

ISTE Standards for Educators

The ISTE Standards are a framework for students, educators, administrators, coaches and computer science educators to rethink education and create innovative learning environments.

Based on the standards educators:

  • Continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning. Educators:
  • Seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning. 
  • Inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world
  • Dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems.
  • Design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability
  • Facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement of the ISTE Standards for Students. 
  • Understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals 

The ISTE Standards were written to help teachers deepen their practice, promote collaboration with peers, challenge them to rethink traditional approaches and prepare students to drive their own learning. Only using graphing calculators to teach math won’t create innovative learning environments.

Benefits of Integrating Technology

Technology integration can benefit students in four ways.

  1. Empowers students to deal with multiple representations
  2. Enhances their ability to visualize
  3. Increases the opportunity to construct mathematical knowledge
  4. Enhances the opportunity for individualized and customized diagnosis, remediation and evaluation

Often times with special populations such as, Special Education and 504 students technology integration in the math classroom provides true access to the general education curriculum.

Throughout my nineteen years of teaching I’ve seen so many Special Education Students pushed to side in math classrooms. In my opinion there seems to be this  misconception among math teachers that because a student has a disability they aren’t able to do the math.

Low Tech Options for Getting Started With Integrating Technology

Plickers and FlipGrid are two free low tech options that can be easily integrated in your classroom. Plickers can be used for formative assessment during your lesson. It provides you and your students with immediate feedback. You only need your phone or a tablet to download the app and scan the Plickers cards.

FlipGrid  is a technology platform that helps to deepen conversations with students in the classroom. The love FlipGrid because they are able to create a short video to respond to the prompt that the teacher poses. The videos then creates a grid of videos that can be viewed by all of the students.

It’s a great experience and the students love it! Some are shy at the beginning but I’ve never had any student refuse to participate. Even my Special Education students got in on the action!

I know that this shift in mathematics is scary and challenging at the same time. Trust me I get it! Your students need the integration of technology because their future depends on it. 

2 thoughts on “For the Stubborn Math Teachers Who Never Use Technology”

  1. I have to disagree. Over 100 years ago, junior highers were calculating interest rates, something that virtually no high-schooler can do these days, and very few college students. (Suppose you want a 30-year loan for $150,000 at 6.125%. What will the monthly payment be?)

    My wife and I worked in a children’s program at church for many years. Every week, we had a dinner before the structured part of the program started. Just for the fun of it, one of the other men came up to a table of 4th- to 9th-grade kids and said, “Ok everyone, what’s ten divided by six?” Their eyes all turned glassy. After several seconds, two of them thought of reaching for their phones to try to find a calculator ap. They still couldn’t give him an answer! I was flabbergasted! That’s what today’s technologically minded schools are producing. Just incredible.

    15 years ago when our kids were in high school, they were supposed to get graphing calculators. The older one used my old TI-59 instead and aced the math class with little effort. My wife got the other one the required TI-84 (I’m not sure I have the last digit of the model number correct), and he never did use it for graphing, yet did fine. They both said most of the kids only used these for playing games, trying to look busy and keep the teacher from finding out. (This was before everyone had smartphones.)

    I myself am a self-taught electronics engineer, well paid for my abilities. Around 25 years ago, one of the industry magazines had an editorial about the difficulty in finding good recent graduates to fill engineering positions, something I myself experienced when I tried to hire technicians and engineers. The industry is telling academia, “We need ones who can do this, this, and this;” and academia responds by saying, “Look, you know your field, and we know education. Leave the education to us, ‘kay?” So the problem persists.

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