Technology, strategically integrated at the point of instruction as a tool of investigation that allows students to understand mathematics that may otherwise be beyond them, is a powerful tool in the mathematics classroom. What comes to mind when you think of technology use in a mathematics classroom? Did you think of a calculator? Most people do, but what is “technology” really? Technology can include computers, software, the Internet, the use of computing devices, or any number of manipulatives used to aid in student learning. www.Dictionary.com defines technology as “the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.”
As with any education strategy, the integration of the strategy – in this case technology – must be effective. Effective technology integration supports curricular goals. To effect change with the learner, the use of technology must employ the active engagement of the learner through participation in cooperative groups and frequent interaction and feedback from both teacher and peers, and it must make connections to the real world.
There are many new technologies that today’s “Digital Natives” have grown up using. If you have not read Marc Prensky’s article Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants you need to. Our students today do not learn in the same ways that most of us did. We need to be able to make learning accessible to all students. Check back often as various technologies will be highlighted in the coming months.
Check out my grandson, Baylan, who at 14 months was already playing with his parent’s Blackberry. He is one of our Digital Natives! He already knows which buttons to push to get the screen to light up and he is quite proficient at using the trackball. And notice, he is holding it as does his mother when she is texting!