Obstacles of Utilizing Technology in a Classroom
According to the National Council of Teaching Mathematics, (2000, p 24), “technology is essential to teaching and learning mathematics; it influences the mathematics that is taught and enhances students’ learning. Teachers’ attitudes play an important role in using technology in teaching and learning mathematics.”
Math is such a visual subject. Technology can enhance the visualization of an otherwise complex topic. For example, in geometry, Geometer’s Sketchpad can help students explore geometrical relationships and develop reasoning skills. Olkun (2005), suggests that it is effective to integrate math content and technology in a manner that enable students to make math discoveries in a game or playful environment.
Obstacles to Integrating Technology in a Math Classroom
- Getting teachers on board — As mentioned above, technology is useless without teachers being on board. How do we get teachers to buy in? Providing thorough and continuous training is a first step. Teachers are overwhelmed with work as it is, so the implementation needs to be as easy as possible. Also, teachers need to be shown ways that technology can be used in the classroom. There is no need to recreate the wheel, so providing a resource page of how particular pieces of equipment or software is used would be useful.
- Money — Technology is expensive. However, there are many technology grants out there to help diffuse the cost. Another important expense is technology support. This is very important in ensuring that the equipment will be working consistently. Teachers will not use equipment if it is not reliable. Creating a technology expert, so to speak, within each department will help keep the costs down and have a go to person close by for all teachers.
- Filters — Many districts and school have filters on the internet to prevent students from accessing social media, youtube, etc. This can restrict the use of technology within a classroom. Removing these filters and providing students with knowledge of how to be a responsible digital citizen would alleviate this obstacle
The key to implementing technology in an effective way is to provide training and resources, show teachers the power of using it within their lessons, and collaborate together to share ideas. Embracing technology for what it is — a means to enhance a lesson — will help alleviate the fear of the unknown. It is not replacing teachers, it is helping us teach students in a way we could never do before.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics, Reston, VA.
Olkun, S., Altun, A., Smith G. (2005). Computers and 2D geometric learning of Turkish fourth and fifth graders. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(2), 317-326.