The second article I would like to discuss is Margaret L. Niess’ guest editorial: preparing teachers to teach mathematics with technology in Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education 6(2), 195-203.  In this article she poses a lot of questions that, I think, are very recognizable.

In this article Niess outlines a future classroom (2056) when the use of technology is an integrated part of teaching. She writes: “here in 2006, most teachers have not learned mathematics using technology tools. So the question now is to identify what and how to prepare mathematics teachers to teach the 21st century. What do teachers need to know and be able to do and how do they need to develop this knowledge for teaching mathematics.”

In this article Niess addresses several problems that make it difficult to integrate technology in teaching (mathematics):

  1. Students and teachers have a limited knowledge of potential technologies for use in technologies;
  2. Students and teachers have not learned mathematics with technologies;
  3. How much mathematics should students know before using technologies? (for example: calculators, spreadsheets and applets)
  4. McRobbie and Cooper (2000) suggest that knowledge and beliefs may be the actual barriers to use technology;
  5. Mathematics anxiety is an issue in mathematics educations. Niess poses the question if mathematics anxiety extends to technology anxiety;
  6. There is limited knowledge base about how students learn and how to design the curriculum that supports students in learning mathematics with technology;
  7. It’s not clear what the knowledge, skills and beliefs are of mathematics teacher educators and mathematicians who are teaching college level mathematics courses.

Niess also quotes Everett Rogers (1995) to explain that teacher progress through a five step process to decide whether to accept or reject a innovation for teaching mathematics:

  1. Knowledge, where teachers become aware of integrating technology with learning mathematics and has some idea of how it functions.
  2. Persuasion, where teachers form a favorable or unfavorable attitude toward teaching and learning mathematics with technology.
  3. Decision, where teachers engage in activities that lead to a choice to adopt or reject teaching and learning mathematics with technology.
  4. Implementation, where teachers actively integrate teaching and learning with technology.
  5. Confirmation, where teachers evaluate the results of the decision to integrate teaching and learning with technology.

 What should be done in order to learn students how to integrate technology in teaching? In this article Niess suggests that:

  1.  To teach, teachers need to have developed an integrated knowledge structure that incorporates knowledge about subject matter, learners, pedagogy, curriculum and schools.
  2. Margerum-Leys and Marx (2002) argue that from a constructivist perspective, “opportunities for authentic experiences are a necessary condition for learning to occur.
  3. Teacher preparation programs need to focus on strengthening the preservice teachers’ knowledge of how to incorporate technology to facilitate student learning of mathematics through experiences that:
  • Build confidence and understanding;
  • Model appropriate uses;
  • Help to make informed decisions;
  • Provide opportunities to develop and practice teaching lessons.

The article concludes with a six point research agenda, provided by the national Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (ISTE, 2002):

1. Technology operations and concepts. What are the general operations and concepts for all technologies and how do they apply to mathematics-specific technologies? What mathematics-specific concepts are important in technologies?

2. Planning and designing learning environments and experiences. What strategies are essential when guiding students in learning particular mathematics concepts with specific technologies?

3. Teaching, learning, and the curriculum. How should student learning about the technologies be scaffolded with learning mathematics? Should students learn mathematics concepts before using the technology tools?

4. Assessment and evaluation. How is assessment different in a technology –rich educational experience?

5. Productivity and professional practice. How do teachers’ develop the professional attitude toward continuing to develop their TPCK?

6. Social, ethical, legal and human issues. How do mathematics teachers deal with a diversity of access to technologies?