Explaining Concept In A Mathematics Class Education Essay
After the going through the steps of methodology, survey and analysis, the following answers were found to the research questions formulated at the very beginning of the study.
Research Question 1: Do mathematics educators have problems of explaining concept in class where students have different level of knowledge regarding the pre-requisite of the subject matter?
The overall response from the survey was positive in that ICT can enhance the teaching process. Most of the educators are computer literate and have basic ICT knowledge. They can use this knowledge to access extra information as well as develop power point presentations and handouts in preparation and delivery of lessons. ICT needs to be considered as a ‘tool’ for enhancing education, which will also change the role of the educator. Teachers will become more facilitators of student directed learning rather than teachers of pre-digested information. The socialisation role of schools will become more important as more technical knowledge is obtained from technology. The solution here is the use of ICT in the teaching and learning of Mathematics. Blending learning will act as a model for enhancing mathematics education, which will also change the role of the educator. Teachers will become more facilitators of student directed learning rather than teachers of pre-digested information. Blended learning is appropriate due to lack of remedial classes and limited time and resources. And it is especially important to enhance the learning of weaker students and improving their standards before moving on with harder and related chapters as it acts as reinforcement for the pre-requisite for any related chapter since Mathematics is a highly interconnected and cumulative subject.
Research Question 2: Do mathematics educators have the necessary resources to reach weak students?
The teaching process can be enhanced with ICT with the setting up of proper infrastructures and facilities as well as training in content and curriculum development. The potential for ICT to enhance teaching and learning cannot be realised unless teachers think analytically about their teaching. Such analytical thinking should include the effectiveness of ICT to provide new, more efficient and flexible ways of teaching and learning.
Research Question 3: Why students have low interest and low willingness to invest in their mathematical studies?
In a nutshell, if education is the goal in a democracy, it would seem at least an important part of the ultimate achievement then we must examine our educational system from a new point of view. In the information age, it is knowledge which is the base of power as we are in a knowledge based society. Continuous learning has become a fundamental skill for survival. The use of ICT in teaching mathematics can make the teaching process more effective as well as enhance the students’ capabilities in understanding basic concepts.
In knowledge based economy, the use of ICT in education can promote the acquisition of knowledge and skills which will empower for students’ lifelong learning. We need to create a good e- learning environment that brings success. There should be room for greater flexibility in our modern, fast changing time and society. There should be room for sharing, testing of knowledge with peers. All knowledge should be updated to the learner’s need. The youth of today is not keen to listen to passive lectures but rather look for interacting and realized combined methods. This means that future curriculum and pedagogy will need to be centered more on actively engaging students. It will require greater reliance on using visualization and virtual worlds, collaborative discovery, creating shared web content, providing and discussing feedback online, letting students engage in peer review and sharing more open questioning and discussions. Technology should be used to help understand and to address a student’s personal learning. These new ways of teaching and learning are underpinned by constructivist theories of learning and constitute a shift from teacher-centered approach, which is characterized by memorization and rote learning to a learner centered approach.
In Mauritius few colleges have taken the initiative of providing an e-learning portal for their students, where the educators can place lecture notes online, along with supporting tools such as a linked glossary, contents page, and search tool and can even provide the students with their homework or any additional work and even a parent area is available for any information about the college and about any event happening. And also the students can have access to forums to facilitate collaborative group projects, in which students communicate with each other electronically. For example, Ebene SSS boys have currently their own e-learning portal online. (Available at http://www.ebs3.org/)
The stakeholders of our education system need to consider seriously the integration of ICT into the teaching and learning process to improve the quality of mathematics education. The following recommendations are being made for the government, school administrators and teachers. They have different roles and have different contributions to the success of ICT in teaching and learning.
The Ministry of Education has to provide adequate training in content and curriculum development using ICT instead of just basic ICT skills. The computer training courses should be organized once every year for the educators.
To meet the needs of the new century, a comprehensive curriculum review should be carried out. A new curriculum is necessary which should provide a clear vision in how ICT can achieve their educational goal and what the new role of teachers and students in the learning process are
Government should employ more teachers in order to reduce teachers’ teaching and non-teaching duties for teachers to have more time to think, try and plan how to integrate ICT in their teaching.
The Ministry will have to ensure provision of proper ICT teaching materials for teaching mathematics.
Government should provide courses for head of schools so that they can learn more about the advantages, the ways and the difficulties of the implementation of ICT.
The setting up and maintenance of ICT infrastructure throughout all schools in the island is quite a costly investment. Public Private Partnerships (PPP) can be a way to resolve problems of fiscal constraint (budgetary pressure) and satisfy the demand for ongoing improvements in infrastructure and public service delivery.
To provide students to learn through hand-on experiences, the Ministry should set up a mathematical lab or a specific class with all the basic and necessary I.T equipment (computer, display screens and projectors) and accessory facilities
5.3.2 School Level
Vision and leadership of Rector and Senior teachers are critical factors to effective integration of ICT in schools. They should develop a comprehensive and concrete policy and plan in how to implement the integration in schools and how to ensure that students can be benefit from the new technology.
School administrators should cultivate a climate of using ICT in the school. This I.T culture can give a clear signal to all teachers and students that the school emphasizes the use of ICT in teaching and learning. This culture also encourages teachers to show their experience in integrating ICT in teaching.
The school should provide more seminars to emphasize advantage of ICT in teaching and learning.
Sharing of good ICT teaching ideas can enhance teachers’ attitude and the usefulness of ICT in teaching different subject. Hence, school administrators should organize more sharing sessions for teachers to exchange ideas, discuss and solve common problems.
Tailor-made training program focusing on the learning of meaningful integration of ICT in teaching should be provided to school teachers including the special teaching and learning packages for mathematics.
Schools should reduce teachers’ non-teaching duties so that they have more time to focus on preparing quality teaching.
Psychological support and ongoing continuous assistance should be provided to teachers by school administrators. Encouragements such as praises are recommended. The school administration should encourage, motivate and monitor closely the use of ICT tools in the schools.
The school management should be more open to the suggestions of the Educators.
Students should have access to the computer room on a regular basis for the periods of extracurricular activities.
Students need to be provided with adequate resources to be able to use IT facilities even after school hours to remove the disparity between the Haves and the Have Nots. They can develop themselves analytically, pedagogically and academically through the use of ICT embedded in their education system.
Teachers should update and equip themselves to meet the next challenges in the 21st century.
Teachers should understand that integration of ICT is an aid to teaching only. Teachers should use relevant technology in achieving in education goals, not adjust the goals because of the new technology.
Teacher should consider opportunities of using learning and teaching materials involving constructivist approach and not the drill and practice learning packages which emphasize on rate memorization only.
Teachers should psychologically and technically support each other to maintain a collaborative atmosphere.
Teachers should participate actively in sharing sessions organized by the school so that they can learn from their peers.
Teachers will have to invest in professional development and learn to use ICT tools to develop content-based software or web pages to enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics. Their roles will change to become guides or facilitators. Educators have to understand that ICT is a ‘tool’ to improve quality of education and that the integration of ICT in the teaching and learning can be viewed as another approach to innovation and creativity.
Teachers must include in their lesson plan the specific ICT tools used.
Teachers should have easy access to the computer rooms. Each school should have a minimum of two computer laboratories and the staff room should be equipped with computers (one computer for every ten teachers).
Teachers have all followed computer training courses but very few have the opportunity to put their skills into practice. Teachers should therefore be encouraged to make use of educational software.
The present research is a small scale study and bounded on few schools only. The findings in this study cannot be generalized to all Mauritian secondary schools. Hence, the researcher suggests that a broader research should be done on more schools in Mauritius. From a broader base, the findings can then be further generalized and more valuable information and opinions from mathematics educators and students can be included. Further research can also be extended to teachers in primary schools.
ICT integration in mathematics is one of the important results found in this research. Further research about the causes of low quality of result in mathematical studies and the methods to improve performance can also be done.
Further research can also be done to study the relationship between the usefulness of ICT on different subject areas and ways to enhance their usefulness can be investigated.
5.5.1 Personal Experience
This research work has provided me with the opportunity of having a better view about the integration of ICT into my teaching of Mathematics. This experience has transformed my identity as an educator and I have decided to extend this strategy in my future teaching career. This work has been a very enriching experience.
5.5.2 Closing Words
“Education in the midst of a technological paradigm shift…
one that eventually changes the way that all instructors teach
and the way that all students learn.”
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