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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Introducing computers into the Mathematics classroom: a case study Garfinkel, Sandra Lea

Abstract

This research study is concerned with the introduction of computers into a mathematics classroom. The study investigates the teaching of a graphing unit in the Mathematics 11 curriculum in a computer-enhanced setting and is framed within four research questions. The study investigates the features that emerged in a computer-based mathematics classroom, whether the teachers and students adapted to such a setting, and the advantages and disadvantages experienced by both groups. Two teachers and their students were involved in this study. The mathematics classroom was equipped with 16 networked computers and a teacher workstation outfitted with an overhead projection device. The computer was used by the teacher as a demonstration tool and by the students as an aid to completing assignments. The students usually worked in small groups of two or three. Over a period of two weeks three mathematics classes were observed. The data collected during this period consist of detailed descriptions of events and people, as well as analytic ideas and personal impressions. At the conclusion of the two week observation period, 11 classes had been observed and ten salient features emerged in the analysis of the data. The site and the software seemed to have the greatest influence on the introduction of computers into the mathematics classroom. Cooperative learning also played a major role in the computer-based classroom. It was also shown that teachers require in-service training in the use of computers; they need to develop materials and tests to correlate with the software and the curriculum; and they need teaching assistants to help implement and monitor computer related activities. This study illustrated the first steps towards fully integrating computers in a mathematics classroom. The teachers modified their teaching format slightly with traditional teaching methods dominating most of the lessons. They realized the potential of using computers and remained challenged to develop their use. Integrating computers in the mathematics classroom is a realistic goal; this research study suggests that the process can only proceed one step at a time with careful planning and clear goal setting with regard to teaching and evaluation objectives.

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