Editor’ Note: This paper presents some interesting data on the use of technology in by mathematics teachers. It raises issues for pre-service and in-service training of classroom teachers, for curriculum design, and also for the quality of teaching and learning resources available in schools. Is adoption of media to facilitate learning a human problem or a systemic problem in classroom teaching? And is this problem local or global in magnitude?
How Technology is Integrated into Math EducationAytekin Isman and Huseyin YaratanAbstractThe main focus of this paper is to determine math teachers` perceptions on using educational technology in their classes. Research results indicate that most math teachers do not use educational technology to teach mathematics even though educational technology motivates students to learn more. In addition, t-test and ANOVA results revealed few differences on using educational technology in their classes in terms of math teachers` gender, experience and level of education. IntroductionTechnology is the practical application of science. Technological developments began two hundred years ago when teachers started to use abacus in their classes. After the development of a technology, it impacts the lifestyle of people. For example, computer based systems help people to successfully organize their companies. The Internet helps people to reach information fast. Beside development in information technologies, new teaching and learning methods are being introduced to advance contemporary education. Technology supports global thinking in an educated society and provides information to adopt new teaching and learning developments. Technology also creates flexible learning environments in which students can easily construct and learn new information and store it in their long term memory. Technological developments enable teachers and students to acquire up-to-date knowledge and support critical thinking. Technology is a combination of hardware and software (Isman, 2002). It is important to determine appropriate technology to increase productivity based on student` and teacher` needs. Potentially, technology increases productivity in educational activities and affects the quality of education in terms of meaningful learning and effective teaching. It offers the possibility to solve problems and enhance the stability and quality of learning in a coherent manner (Isman, 2003). Technology is not only electronic instruments; it includes new teaching-learning methods that can be used in a beneficial way in education (Isman, 2003). Rapid technological developments have impacted education. It can be said that the practice of teaching mathematics has been more traditional than any other curriculum area, yet technological developments have affected mathematics education also. Technology can help math teachers to solve issues and problems in math education. Issues and problems in math educationProblems in math education include: 1. low motivation to learn math, 2. transfer of problem solving skills to real life situations, 3. low value given to mathematics, and 4. no standards. The first problem is about motivation. Teaching math with classical teaching methods discourages some students so that the students do not want to learn math. Classical Math teachers do not know how to motivate students in their classrooms and students need to be motivated by their teachers to learn. The second problem is to solve math problems in real life situations. Most math teachers do not use real life examples to help students to use math in their lives. Math teachers should use real life problems and emphasize problem solving skills to help students to understand math. The third problem is a low value given to mathematics. Math teachers must teach their students how to appreciate and understand the value of mathematics in everyday life. Then students will begin to respect math applications in society. The last problem is about math standards. In today’s technology-based society, math educators need a new math curriculum designed to integrate new developments, set new standards, and incorporate new technological developments such as computer based instruction. Technological applications in math educationTeachers and students have access to valuable resources via the Internet that include software, simulations, spreadsheet, and graphing calculators (Roblyer & Edwards, 2000). Students can learn mathematics using comprehensive math tutorials. Drill and practice programs offer instant feedback for skill building. Higher learning skills can be acquired through geometric exploration programs where learners create shapes, experiment with mathematical formulas and visualize data in graphic formats. Computer software offers quick and easy transformation of data to graphics to learn transformational geometry such as tessellations. It can interface with devices like probeware systems to capture data. Students can conduct experiments and concept demonstrations using these devices. Spreadsheet programs, such as Excel, offer graphics, algebraic functions, equation editors, calculator, and word processor to support complex calculations and writing research papers. Spreadsheet program can be used by the student to allocate a budget and compare alternative options with ‘’what if’’ activities. Variables can be changed easily so students can quickly learn the dynamic aspect of budgeting. Spreadsheets are also used to search for patterns, construct algebraic expressions, simulate probabilistic situations, justify conjectures, generalize concepts and graph chart data. Search engines on the Internet provide access government and commercial data for statistical analysis, web tools to conduct surveys and polls, and simulations that replicate real life experiences. Computers also support collaborative learning, Web-Based Instruction (WBI), Inquiry (problem) based learning, and the opportunity to solve the ‘problem of the week’ on the Web. Simulations can be used to mock stock market trading and immerse students in occupations such as doctor, engineer, detective and fire fighter to visualize how math is used in real life cases. The Aim of ResearchEducational technology is a key to the success in math education. The goal of this research paper is to find out teachers perceptions about using technology for math teaching by analyzing the relationship that exist between teachers’ perception of educational technology in relation to gender, age, experience, and educational level. Problem StatementUsing the current literature as a guide, this study attempted to answer the following questions: Is there any relationship in the teachers’ perceptions of educational technology based on gender? Is there any relationship in the teachers’ perceptions of educational technology based on age? Is there any relationship in the teachers’ perceptions of educational technology based on experience? Is there any relationship in the teachers’ perceptions of educational technology based on educational level?
Significance of the studyThe results of this study can be used by educators to determine the benefits of the use of educational technology for math teaching. Scope and limitationsIn this study, a sample size of 50 teachers was used. This was the number of teachers that taught math courses in Gazi Magusa, North Cyprus, during the Fall semester, 2003. Only twenty math teachers filled out the survey. This study is subject to the following limitations: The data was collected through the administration of a survey instrument. The study assumed truthful, candid responses by respondents who understood and were not fearful of reprisal for their completion of the survey instrument. The responses to the survey items by the respondents were subject to unknown personal biases and perceptions. The study was non-experimental in that the investigators did not have manipulative control of the independent variables; therefore, no explicit cause and effect relationship could be determined.
MethodOperational Definition of VariablesThis study was designed to examine teachers’ perceptions of using educational technology for teaching mathematics and to compare their perceptions based on gender, age, experience, and educational level. Independent variables:Teacher’s Characteristics. - gender,
- age,
- experience,
- level of education.
Identification of the PopulationThe population under investigation included teachers teaching mathematics courses at middle and high schools in North Cyprus. Groups in this study represented math teachers in North Cyprus. SampleSample selected by the method of random sampling as twenty teachers from the public schools of the Ministry of Education and Culture of North Cyprus for administering a questionnaire prepared to assess perceptions of teachers about the use of technology in their mathematics lessons. InstrumentFor this research study, a questionnaire was used. This questionnaire was designed for analyzing teachers’ perceptions. There were forty items in this instrument. Their responses are on a series four-point Likert-scale (1=never, 2=sometimes, 3=often, 4=always). Data CollectionThe teachers’ perceptions were assessed by the prepared questionnaire. Teacher responses to the questionnaire were statistically analyzed according to gender, age, experience, and educational level. Data Analysis ProceduresA quantitative research method was used to investigate the research problem. The survey questionnaire was designed to measure the perceptions of teachers. - The copy of a survey was given to each mathematics teacher.
- After filling out questionnaire, the teachers gave them back to the researchers.
- Tthe frequency data indicated the level of satisfaction for each item.
- ANOVA and t-test were used to analyze each item to compare potential relationships in ratings based on gender, age, experience, and educational level.
- The data were analyzed using the SPSS for Windows. In this process, an alpha level of 0.05 was used to test each hypothesis.
Data Analysis and Presentation of FindingsThe main purpose of the study was to investigate teachers’ perceptions of using educational technology based on gender, age, experience, and educational level. Data for analysis were obtained from the questionnaire survey. Results of quantitative statistical analysis and interpretation of data collected from twenty math teachers are presented below. Quantitative Data Analysis
Demographic Data Table 1 Teacher GenderMale | Female | 55% (11) | 45% (9) |
Table 2 Teacher Age
25 and below | 26-30 | 31-35 | 36-40 | 41 and over | 5% (1) | 30% (6) | 30% (6) | 30% (6) | 5% (1) |
Table 3 Level of Experience
0-5 year | 6-10 year | 11-15 year | 16-20 year | 5% (1), | 40% (8) | 45% (9) | 10% (2) |
Table 4 Educational Level2 year program | bachelor degree | masters degree | 5% (1) | 80% (16) | 15% (3) |
Results of Hypothesis Testing
According to independent samples t-test results for gender, almost all of values are higher than the standard value that is table α 0.05. On the other hand, there are some differences on search engines (calculated α t value 0.023), Excel (calculated α t value 0.021), digital camera (calculated α t value 0.039), CD-ROM (calculated α value 0.011) and printer (calculated α t value 0.038) based on genders. Male math teachers use search engines, excel, digital camera, CD-ROM and printer more than female math teachers. According to ANOVA results, there is no significant difference among teacher age groups. All of the values are higher than table α: 0.05. According to ANOVA test results for experience, almost all of values are higher than the standard value that is table α 0.05. On the other hand, there is only one differences on using digital camera (calculated α value 0.043) based on teacher experience. Math teachers who had experience between 0-10 years of teaching use educational technology more than others. According to ANOVA test results for education level, almost all of values are higher than the standard value that is table α 0.05. On the other hand, there are only two differences on using figure-table (calculated α value 0.018) and using television (calculated α 0.016) based on education level. Math teachers who had undergraduate and graduate education use educational technology more than others. Table 5 Frequencies of Individual ItemsUsed in their classes | Never used | Sometimes used | Often used | Always used | blackboard | 5% (1) | | | 95% (19) | charts | 20% (4) | 30% (6) | 30% (6) | 20 % (4) | figures and tables | 5% (1) | 15% (3) | 55% (11) | 25 % (5) | book / books | 5% (1) | 5% (1) | 35% (7) | 55 % (11) | notice wall panel | 40% (8) | 25% (5) | 25% (5) | 10 % (2) | question book | 5% (1) | 20% (4) | 20% (4) | 55 % (11) | measurement instrument | 20% (4) | 55% (11) | 5% (1) | 20 % (4) | drawing instrument | 20% (4) | 60% (12) | 10% (2) | 10 % (2) | 3D model | 40% (8) | 25% (5) | 20% (4) | 15 % (3) | internet | 65% (13) | 15% (3) | 5% (1) | 15 % (3) | web page | 80% (16) | 10% (2) | 10% (2) | | camera | 100% (20) | | | | chat systems | 85% (17) | 10% (2) | 5% (1) | | teleconference system | 95% (19) | and 5% (1) | | | search engines | 75% (15) | 5% (1) | 5% (1) | 15 % (3) | calculator | 45% (9) | 40% (8) | 5% (1) | 10 % (2) | television | 75% (15) | 5% (1) | 15% (3) | 5 % (1) | video | 85% (11) | 15% (15) | | | CD | 75% (15) | 20% (4) | 5% (1) | | film | 90% (18) | 10% (2) | | | video camera | 100% (20) | | | | radio | 95% (19) | 5% (1) | | | video tape | 100% (20) | | | | overhead projector | 75% (15) | 25% (5) | | | special course computer program | 65% (13) | 30% (6) | 5% (1) | | practice programs | 80% (16) | 20% (4) | | | dia | 100% (20) | | | | Windows | 55% (11) | 10% (2) | 20% (4) | 15 % (3) | DOS | 85% (17) | 15% (3) | | | Word | 55% (11) | 25% (5) | 5% (1) | 15 % (3) | PowerPoint | 70% (14) | 15% (3) | 5% (1) | 5 % (1) | Excel | 65% (13) | 15% (3) | 10% (2) | 10 % (2) | scanner | 85% (17) | 5% (1) | 10% (2) | | digital camera | 85% (17) | 15% (3) | | | CD-ROM | 70% (14) | 10% (2) | 5% (1) | 15 % (3) | data projector | 85% (17) | 5% (1) | 10% (2) | | multi media | 85% (17) | 5% (1) | 10% (2) | | printer | 70% (14) | 10% (2) | 20% (4) | | laptop | 80% (16) | , 5% (1) | 15% (3) | |
Results of Hypothesis Testing
According to independent samples t-test results for gender, almost all of values are higher than the standard value that is table α 0.05. On the other hand, there are some differences on search engines (calculated α t value 0.023), Excel (calculated α t value 0.021), digital camera (calculated α t value 0.039), CD-ROM (calculated α value 0.011) and printer (calculated α t value 0.038) based on genders. Male math teachers use search engines, excel, digital camera, CD-ROM and printer more than female math teachers. According to ANOVA results, there is no significant difference among teacher age. All of the values are higher than table α: 0.05. According to ANOVA test results that were done for experience, almost all of values are higher than the standard value that is table α 0.05. On the other hand, there is only one differences on using digital camera (calculated α value 0.043) based on teacher experience. Math teachers who had experience between 0-10 years of teaching use educational technology more than others. According to ANOVA test results that were done for education level, almost all of values are higher than the standard value that is table α 0.05. On the other hand, there are only two differences on using figure-table (calculated α value 0.018) and using television (calculated α 0.016) based on education level. Math teachers who had undergraduate and graduate education use educational technology more than others. ConclusionsAccording to frequencies, math teachers do not use much educational technology in their classes. In addition, t-test and ANOVA test results indicate that there were few differences on using educational technology in their classes in terms of gender, experience and education level. On the other hand, educational technology could motivate students to learn more so math teachers should use more educational technology to enrich their teaching activities in their classes. ReferencesIsman, Aytekin. (December, 2002). Using educational technologies. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology. Volume 1, Issue 1, article 1. Available on www.tojet.sakarya.edu.tr or www.tojet.net Isman, Aytekin. (January, 2003). Technology. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology. Volume 1, Issue 1, article 1. Available on www.tojet.sakarya.edu.tr or www.tojet.net Roblyer, M.D. & Edwards, Jack. (2000). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Second Edition. Merrill an imprint of Prentice Hall. About the AuthorsAytekin İşman is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Sakarya University in Turkey. He received a B.A. in educational measurement and evaluation from the Hacettepe University, Turkey, and M.A. degree in educational communication and technology from the New York University, USA, and Ph.D. degree in instructional technology from the Ohio University, USA. His current research interests are in education, in particular, educational technology and distance education. Contact: isman@sakarya.edu.tr or ismanay@hotmail.com Hüseyin Yarsatan is Assistant Professor and Chair, Department of Educational Sciences, Eastern Mediterranean University. He received his B.S. and M.S. from Union College, Schenectady NY, USA and his; Ed.D. from University of Michigan, MI, USA. |