Obstacles to Technology Integration in Math Classes

Roblyer stated in Integrating Educational Technology in Teaching, “a curricular “war” has long raged between those who believe that students must be taught to memorize certain basic math skills and those who feel that the focus should be on deeper conceptual mathematical knowledge and insights” (2016, p. 311).  The first big challenge of integrating technology in the math classroom revolves around school stakeholders and their stance in this “war.”  These seemingly conflicting ideas often presents technology use as an alternative to students developing math skills.  For example, people may believe that students will be taught how to use calculators instead of learning how to multiply numbers together.  However, this overly simplified view on the use of technology in the math classroom ignores the many relative advantages of integration.  Technology offers many resources to both help educators align their classroom to standards such as the Common Core State Standards, as well as support students in their math learning.  A demonstration of these advantages may allow educators to change opposing viewpoints to technology integration in the math classroom.  Some examples from Roblyer are included below (2016, pp. 312-313):

  • Provide concrete examples for abstract ideas with virtual manipulatives.  In the same way that students might use blocks or tiles to represent mathematical ideas, some research suggests that digital versions of these manipulatives may be more beneficial.  Students may also use these manipulatives to predict and experiment math principles to discover more concepts.
  • Students can create, change, and explore environments to solve problems.   In other problems, students can collect and analyze data in multiple representations to reach a solution.  The process of collecting data allows students to work on problems in “authentic contexts.”  
  • Communication and collaboration is made possible through technology, allowing students to learn through social interaction or from experts.
  • Technology also provides means for students to practice, skill build, or access guided instruction whenever they need it.

The connection between these solutions and the Mathematical Practices found in the Common Core demonstrates how teachers can use technology to align their teaching to the standards their students are expected to learn.  Furthermore, these solutions provide “many opportunities to build students’ conceptual knowledge of mathematics as well as to connect their learning to problems found in our world” (Roblyer, 2016, p. 308).

Resources:

Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (Seventh ed., pp. 305-332). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.

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