To Be Presented in the 11th Asian Technology Conference in Mathematics
December 12-16, 2006, Hong Kong SAR, China

Technology in Mathematics: A Course on Doing Mathematics with the Natural Inclusion of Different Types of Technologies

Susan Barton


The preparation of our future mathematics teachers for appropriately using technology is one of the most important issues facing our teacher education programs. In response to this immediate need, a course was recently developed for pre-service secondary level mathematics teachers at an internationally diverse American university. This paper explains the three-fold purpose of the course. Objectives for the students included: 1) learning how computer software and calculators can be used as authentic tools in solving mathematical problems, 2) to be able to work problems that may not have been accessible without the use of technology, and 3) to review secondary and tertiary level mathematics concepts within a new technology-based context.

The emphasis of the course is not on technology, rather on doing mathematics, where use of technology meaningfully assists in understanding and solving the task by visual, graphical, or numerical means. Hence, specific technologies are introduced within the context of doing mathematics. Our present course includes problems from algebra, trigonometry, probability, statistics, geometry, and calculus (single variable and multivariable).

Many students who have limited experience using technology in mathematics believe its main purpose is to check answers, or to be used after a concept is learned. During the course, the students realize there are many more valid uses for technology in mathematics. Guidelines to follow when selecting and developing mathematics activities that integrate technology, are outlined. Examples of good mathematics problems that naturally lend themselves to the use of technology are examined.

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