Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Technology Beliefs and Practices of Mathematics Education Faculty

Academic journal article Journal of Technology and Teacher Education

Technology Beliefs and Practices of Mathematics Education Faculty

Article excerpt

Using survey methodology, this study examined the beliefs and practices of mathematics teacher educators (MTEs) regarding the integration of technology in their teacher education programs. In addition, the relationship among MTEs' beliefs about the importance of technology, their comfort with using and teaching with technology, and the degree to which they have implemented technology within their mathematics teacher education programs were also examined.

MTEs were consistent regarding which technologies they believed were important for teachers of mathematics at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. More technologies were found to be important for teachers at each of the higher-grade bands. At the elementary and middle school levels, there was little evidence that technology is being used by MTEs in teacher preparation. The technologies employed by MTEs at these levels are generic, focusing on tools such as e-mail and the Internet. At the high school level, MTEs focused more on mathematics specific technologies, such as graphing calculators and dynamic geometry software, in their preservice programs. However there is room for improvement, as other technologies are not often used.

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The pervasiveness of technology in society has highlighted the need for schools to prepare students to take advantage of emergent technology tools. For this to occur, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) (2000) asserts that, "today's classroom teachers must be prepared to provide technology-supported learning opportunities for their students" (p. 2). They also add that "being prepared to use technology and knowing how that technology can support student learning must be integral skills in every teacher's professional repertoire" (p. 2).

ISTE acknowledges that various groups are responsible for helping teachers develop knowledge and skills for supporting students' learning with technology, and asserts that prospective teachers must use technology as part of their teacher education coursework. Further, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) (2002) developed standards stating that teacher candidates should "facilitate students' learning of subject matter through presentation of the content in clear and meaningful ways though the integration of technology" (p. 15). Considered together, the calls from these documents suggest that teacher preparation programs must provide prospective teachers opportunities to learn important skills and examine pedagogical issues for using technology in classrooms.

In mathematics, many groups have encouraged the use of technology as an important means for learning and teaching mathematics (Conference Board of Mathematics Sciences [CBMS], 2001; Mathematics Association of America [MAA], 1991; Mathematical Sciences Education Board [MSEB], 1991; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics [NCTM], 1991, 2000). These organizations recommend the use of technology as tools for supporting students' mathematical explorations and as a valuable tool for mathematics instruction. The prevailing assumption is that available technology can and should change what mathematics is taught and how it is learned (Heid, 1997), has the potential to engage students more fully in mathematical thinking and learning, and provides students access to more advanced mathematics. In the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, NCTM (2000) states that "technology is essential in teaching and learning mathematics; it influences the mathematics that is taught and enhances learning" (p. 24). The use of technology is encouraged at levels beginning in kindergarten and extending throughout students' mathematics education.

In order for technology to impact K-12 students' learning of mathematics with technology tools, teachers need to be sufficiently knowledgeable about learning and teaching mathematics with technology. …

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