As a future math teacher, I need to obtain knowledge on how to use technology in today’s schools. I do agree that technology should be implemented as a tool to the curriculum. When I was a student at John Dewey High School, the majority of the students used calculators for math. To me, the only technology that can be used in math classrooms is calculators. The use of computers in math classrooms is just for additional use to search for a math theory or to use it as a replaceable calculator. In my first reflection, I wrote about an elementary English Language Learner (ELL) student who was just playing the math game but not getting the learning that she needed. So I have investigated further and found a journal article called Classroom Observation of Teaching and Learning with Technology in Urban Elementary School Mathematics Classrooms Serving English Language Learners (http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eft&AN=73332415&site=ehost-live) which was about the researchers from State of Texas Education Research Center creating a study on how technology affects the ELL students in elementary schools. Since the topic is about technology for ELL students, I would agree that computers should be used more for them under teachers’ supervisions.
In this article, it stated that the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 set a goal that every student should be technologically literate by the eighth grade, regardless of student background or family socioeconomic status. Therefore math educators were encouraged to implement technology in their curriculum by using calculators, spreadsheets and other educational software because it will help the students in “organizing, modeling, and analyzing mathematical results.”
The purpose of the study was to focus on the issue of technology in classrooms and see if technology would be a tool for ELL students in a math classroom. This was conducted in three urban elementary schools with low income students. Using the Classroom Observation Measure (COM) to “measure the extent to which instructional processes or strategies were used by teachers during instruction,” the researchers observed and evaluated the math classrooms on “classroom organization, classroom activities, teacher role, teaching area, evaluation strategies and quality of the lesson.” As a result, the researchers found that an average classroom has about 3 computers and only one of them was turned on. The students barely used computers and sometime used calculators meaning that technology had none to minimal use in math classrooms and that teachers used more direct instructions. This showed that many teachers have no idea on how to integrate technology into instruction. The researchers pointed out that, “The use of technology for students with various cultural and linguistic backgrounds, however, offers teachers the ability to individualize instruction so that it can focus on student’s interests and respond to their individual learning needs.” In conclusion, the study showed that teachers in general should include technology in their lesson plans to help promote individual instruction to the students.
I wrote in my first reflection about an ELL student who used the computer to play online math games. At first I was happy about how the use of technology has improved. Later on, I noticed the issues about technology in classrooms. When it came to Math time, the teacher would tell the ELL student to go straight to the computer and play the game. As the teacher is teaching the class, the student will play the games of her choice; but once in a while, the ELL student will not pay attention to the game and would watch the teacher teaching the class. One of the issues is the student’s understanding to the game. I do not think she received the appropriate information from the online math games. Another issue is the lack of student-teacher interaction in using computer games. I understand that the teacher has an overload of things to do, but this teacher barely comes up to the ELL student to see if the child understood the material or not. Therefore, teachers should approach the ELL student to explain why this game is good for math or for any subject. For urban area, there’s a financial issue on buying computers. These schools don’t have the appropriate funding and have limited resources; that is why they have to do direct instruction and be traditional by writing on the board with chalk. These issues do have an effect on how technology can be used in classrooms not just for ELL but also for special needs and general too.
As a future math teacher, I would implement both traditional and technological tools (other than the calculator.) The reason for this is so that the students wouldn’t be obsessed with using technology. An example of the implementation is that I would write on the board (not a SMARTBoard, but a chalk board) and ask students to come up (using colorful chalk) to write their answers. The students would be allowed to check on their calculators to see if they got the answer right. At the end, the students would be assigned to go home and either use the computer to do research paper on a particular mathematician, or have daily assignments on a website that I would create in order for the student to view examples on topics that they may have missed and submit an assignment online.