## Technology Takes Students Further in the Mathematical Thinking

In “Promoting Problem Solving across Geometry and Algebra by Using Technology,” [1] University of Georgia researchers make a case for teachers to use hardware and software in their classrooms (Erbas, 2005). Technology enables students to make connections between representations of numbers and operations in order to find multiple solutions to problems. Students make connections between mathematical concepts involving real life situations by using graphic calculators, geometric drafting software and spreadsheet applications. With a teacher’s encouragement, they may consider multiple answers to solve problems, evaluate plausibility of those answers, and recognize patterns for hypotheses. With spreadsheets, tables of possible answers allow students to check validity of their thinking without becoming discouraged by limited skill in solving algorithms to prove theory. Graphing calculators show relationships of the numbers and free students to consider reasonableness of their answers. Drawing software allows students to sketch accurate geometric representations of problems and connect relationships of numbers with variables. These technological tools do not release the teacher from questioning students. The teacher encourages and challenges students to use the tools to go further in their thinking, beyond one answer. The tools free students to consider their own theories and seek solutions at higher levels of learning.

[1] Erbas, A.K. (2005). “Promoting Problem Solving Across Geometry and Algebra by Using Technology.” *Mathematics Teacher*, p. 599-602.

Most subjects can benefit from technology, but I’d have to agree that math could probably benefit the most. Have you tried Wolfram Alpha (wolframalpha.com)? It’s a fantastic website that can do standard math, as well as 2D and 3D graphing, extrapolation, and many other things.

teknophiliaDecember 18, 2010 at 2:58 am