In the 1980s, a call rang forth for change in pedagogical practices in the teaching of mathematics, science, and technology. New shifts in thinking regarding mathematics, science, and technology education began with the publication of key documents by the National Commission on Excellence in Education (1983); the National Science Board Commission on Precollege Education in Mathematics, Science, and Technology (1983); and the National Research Council (1989). These reports make clear the imperative both to update the mathematics and science curricula to be more problem solving in nature and to make use of the growing technologies available to facilitate problem solving in mathematics and science (Raymond, Raymond, & McCrickard, 2002). Conversely, the increased use of technology within society necessitates a greater development of mathematical ideals and students' ability to think critically and solve problems.
In a summary of research on technology and mathematics education, Kaput (1992) discusses pedagogical benefits derived from the use of calculators and computers in the mathematics classroom. These benefits include (a) their power to support and enhance rich problem-solving environments, (b) the decrease in the amount of time required for skill development, thus allowing for more concentration on conceptual understanding, (c) the graphical advantage of computing utilities, and (d) the potential for deeper student understanding of algebraic ideas.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 1989) responded to the calls for change in the 1980s by developing Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School mathematics. These standards were designed according to developmental levels for Grades K—4, 5-8, and 9-12. Ten years later, after much discussion and feedback from the larger mathematics education community, the NCTM (2000) developed the next stage of national standards, Principles and Standards for School mathematics. This revised set of standards is divided into process standards and content standards that are meant to permeate the entire K-12 curriculum.
When developing the standards, the NCTM determined six principles, including the technology principle, upon which the reshaping of mathematics education would be built. The technology principle states that [technology is essential in teaching and learning mathematics; it influences the mathematics that it taught and enhances students' learning] (p. 24). As essential tools for teaching and learning, calculators and computers provide visual images of mathematical ideas, facilitate organizing and . . .