This essay is a critical evaluation of Helen Forgasz' article 'Teachers, Equity, and Computers for secondary mathematics learning' (Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education ; 2006, vol. 9, pp 437-469). Helen is a director of HDR in Monash University Australia and she has written many important articles associated with the use of technology in mathematics learning and equity issues particularly gender issues in computer based mathematics classrooms.
This paper will discuss the two major contents of the 'Recent development in Mathematics Education' module, (a) The role of IT in mathematics education, (b) The impact of feminisms on mathematics education. Furthermore, it will critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Forgasz's article by focusing on the following questions:
What is the need of this article? How technologies enhance students' learning? What is the belief of teachers in learning of mathematics education with the help of technology? What is the significant effect of professional development computer courses on teaching mathematics in computer based environment? What is teachers' belief about gender issue in computer based mathematics classrooms?
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The scholarly literature has been consulted to answer the above questions.
Need of this article:
In this contemporary world no one can deny the importance of technology in every field of life(Kersaint, 2007). Technology has made our life easy and fast. It is a common belief that technology also enhances the students' learning ability in mathematics, but to what extent the technology helps in students' mathematics learning, there was a need of such article to discover empirical data which shows the ground realities that whether the use of technology in mathematics education really enhances students learning or not? Another reason for the need of this article is to explore the universal issue about genders in mathematics education, as it is a general stereotype belief that girls do not feel comfortable with mathematics and computers (Sáinz and López-Sáez, 2010),so when we use computers in mathematics learning, will the girls be able to show good performance in computer based mathematics classroom or not?
Forgasz (2006) makes an effort to explore the teachers' views about the effectiveness of the usage of computers on secondary students' mathematics learning, and also she has investigated the teachers' belief that how boys and girls learn mathematics with technology, whether in similar ways or different.
Forgasz (2006) first introduces the background and context of the study and mentions that the previous studies did not identify two major points which are discussed in this article.
Teachers' views about the effectiveness of computers on students' mathematics learning.
Teachers' belief whether learning and understanding of mathematics with technology among boys and girls are same or different.
In order to achieve these goals, the study is based on empirical work established on three years study endeavour to examining issues related to the use of computers for secondary mathematics erudition in Victorian schools in Australia. Since the author's aim of this essay is to focus only on teachers views about their students and computers, Furthermore, the results finding, relating to teachers only, has been discussed. (students' results have discussed in other articles for eample,Forgasz,2004,2005). Nevertheless to explain the structure of the survey she has discussed about students as well. In first year (2001) grade 7-10 students, representatives of grade 11 students, their 96 teachers participated in the survey and the data collected from 29 schools. Whilst in next year (2002) only grade 10 mathematics students, their six teachers from three schools out of 29 schools which took part in first year, were involved in the study, information was collected from the observation and from videos of mathematics lessons in the classroom. In third year (2003) again grade 7-10 students, their 75 mathematics teachers and a sample of grade 11 students from 24 out of the 29 schools took part in first year, were assessed in the survey.
The data was collected from the questionnaires which were distributed among the teachers in 2001 and 2003. The questions asked in the questionnaire were as follows: "(a) About you: background information, (b) About you and computers,(c) Computers in your school,(d) Teaching and learning mathematics: beliefs about learning mathematics,(e) About your students and computers in this mathematics class, (f) About using computer software for mathematics: lists of software provided, (g) your reasons for using/not using computers to teach mathematics, (h) Anything else " (Forgasz , 2006, p.446)
How technologies enhance students' learning?
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After analysing Forgasz's article, it is apparent that she encourages the use of technology in mathematics learning. According to her, the use of computers in mathematics classrooms should expand as it enhances students' mathematics learning.
I have consulted some other scholarly literatures which are in agreement with Forgasz in the use of technology in mathematics learning .Kersaint (2007) states that "the use of technology has enabled students to visualize mathematics, engage in active learning strategies, verify conjectures, have positive attitudes, and build confidence in their ability to do mathematics."(p.257)
Use of technological tools in mathematics classroom have positive effects on students' achievement in mathematics and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) also revealed that the appropriate use of computers may assist to improve students' mathematics performance as well as enhance the overall learning environment of the school (Mistretta ,2005).Powers and Blubaugh (2005) also argue in the favour of using computers in classrooms and state that computers and calculators have made mathematics easy to understand which improve the students learning. In coming future it will be difficult to survive without any knowledge of technology, as Forgasz (2006) also quotes an example of Reddy (2004) that the Victorian VCE examination of mathematics will be completed online in next few years. So those students who are not familiar and confident with use of computers may face a lot of difficulties. Students who have confidence in their computer abilities can gain more benefits in mathematics education and in other fields of life as compared to those who are not so confident. (Vekiri, 2010).
O'Brien (2008) emphasizes on the use of technology and says that we have to spread the technology in education to make our future bright, because technology plays significant role in contemporary mathematics learning, and the use of computers and other technological tools are more effective than traditional instruction for doing calculations and other basic skill practices. Wood et al. (2003) state that teaching and learning of mathematics are progressively relies on technology, at present computers programs have become integral part of mathematics education from primary schools to university levels.
NCTM (2000) (cited in Shamatha et al., 2004, p.377) stated that by "using technological tools, students can reason about more general issues and they can model and solve complex problems that were heretofore inaccessible to them"
Examples of technology use in mathematics learning:
There are several technological tools which are employed in our contemporary mathematics learning and for certain all of them copiously help in students' understanding and learning in mathematics. But there are some different opinions about the use of such technological tools which are discussed below.
Forgasz(2006) mentions the importance of calculators in mathematics education and states that use of calculators and other hand-held technologies help the students to enhance their mathematical thinking .Foster (2006) state that the use of graphic calculators and other technology tools shows rich learning outcomes in students and enable them to solve complex and complicated problems.But Berry et al. (2006) have not much agreed with Forgasz that calculators enhance the students' mathematics learning and they argue that when students use the graphic calculators and other hand-held technologies in mathematics problems that they are actually contingent on such technological tools without understanding and teachers can see only the outcomes of their activities, they cannot identify the process of their mathematical thinking and learning. Galbraith(2006) states that calculator is an essential tool for mathematics in secondary schools, and students treat it as a human partner but sometimes the extensive use of calculator has some negative effects on students, like they become so dependent on this device that their minds are not being used and developed by having this easy option.
In spite of such argument, most of educationists (Kersaint, 2007, Forster, 2006, Powers and Blubaugh, 2005) are in the favour of using calculators and other hand-held technological tool in mathematics, because such tools develop interest among students in mathematics learning.
Internet in mathematics:
Latest technology, specifically internet, has played a major role in the development of mathematics learning. Due to Internet, now our world has become a global village(Powers and Blubaugh, 2005). Students can learn mathematics online as well. Computers and internet have made the learning and understanding of mathematics easy through online tutorials. Currently, there are many computers online tutoring sessions that are being used at all level of mathematics learning. e.g. 'MyMaths', 'Tutors.com', 'Tutor vista'. In such online programmes, students can learn mathematics with highly trained mathematics tutors. Some sites also help the student in their homework tasks. Powers and Blubaugh (2005) state that the use of internet is spreading so fast and they quoted the report of National Centre for Education Statistics (1999) in which it has mentioned that "the percentage of public high school classrooms having access to the Internet jumped from 49% in 1994 to 94% in 1998"(p.254). At present, almost every school in the developed countries has access to the internet.
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In this contemporary world, there is an extensive use of interactive whiteboards in schools in most developed countries around the world. Torff and Tirotta(2010) state that "technological capabilities of the Interactive White board (IWB) and its attendant software are highly compelling to students, effectively drawing them into the content of the lesson. Investment of financial and human resources in IWB technology is seen as warranted in part because it promises to make learning more engaging for students, especially in technical subjects (e.g., mathematics) in which teachers sometimes struggle in their efforts to help students engage and achieve"(p.379)
Teachers, parents and use of Technology:
Currently technology being a very important component of teaching. Technology is not only used for learning purposes but also helps to create the relationship between teachers and parents. Merkley et al. (2006) state that "Electronic portfolios offer a unique and contemporary approach to help inform parents of children's efforts, progress, and achievement over time."(p.12). Moreover Bigalow (2003) (cited in Merkley et al., 2006, p.12) state that "school and classroom Web sites promote and maintain home-teacher communication by informing parents and community members of school and classroom activities".Shields and Behrman (2000) state that mostly parents accept that computers and internet can facilitate children in many ways, specifically in their homework, and those who do not have access of computer at home are left behind.Tomte (2008) states that, students who use computers at home are more confident during using computers in schools and computers help them in making their assignments at home.
In spite of all above discussion there is a real problem to provide the technology to all schools, especially in third world countries. Forgasz mentions that in Australia, government could not provide the computers to all schools. The situation seems must worse in developing countries when compared it with Australia. It is a very big issue for the governments in developing countries to provide technology in all schools.
Teachers' belief about technology in mathematics classroom:
After engaging with Forgasz's empirical study, I have observed that all teachers have different opinions about their belief on computers' advantages in mathematics learning. Forgasz (2006) argues that a clear majority of the participants from her study were in the favour of using computers in mathematics classroom and most of the teachers' belief that computers do assist students' mathematical understanding. But some of them had no positive arguments in the favour of computers and they did not belief that computers help in students learning. One of them argued, "the students still see a computer lesson as a 'slack' lesson or a fun lesson, because they mostly need to read instructions, they rarely understand exactly what we are trying to get them to master" (Forgasz, 2006, p.455)
Shields and Behrman (2000) also argue that students prefer to play games on computers instead of learning mathematics, sometimes by playing violent games they become aggressive. Moreover, some teachers also believe that students prefer to use the computers for playing games, web chatting and internet surfing rather than mathematical study.Another teacher from Forgasz (2006) study also stated, "It is a way to help students but I have been equally successful without computers". (p.455) Niess and Garofalo (2006) give the reasons for such opinion from the teachers; one possibility is their less teaching experience with computers, so they feel comfortable without computers during mathematics teaching and the other reason is lack of knowledge about computers and information technology. Mistretta (2005) emphasizes on the teachers' professional development courses of computers to subdue this problem.
One more teacher in her study had positive perception about computers and stated, "Particular software saves time and verifies their understanding; computers allow them to carry out problems, exercises, and questions quicker". (Forgasz, 2006, p.454)
In the view of Power and Blubaugh (2005), these days all the primary and secondary students are a part of this world of technology, thus it will be a norm for them to use such technology in learning mathematics and by excluding these new technology tools their classroom experience will become very different from their real life experience. One goal in preparing teachers for future is to make sure that their classroom has got effective use and understanding of technology thus making sure that mathematicians, teachers and students have got a balance between their mathematics world and the world they live in.
Mistretta (2005) took a research on pre-service teachers' views about the use of technology and found out that 86% of pre-service teachers indicated that computer software help in students' mathematics learning. The comments of teachers are as follows: "Instructional technology can enhance the mathematics learning environment by providing visual demonstrations, interdisciplinary connections, and practical applications,"... "Teachers don't have to hunt for information about math topics,"... "Software and websites can readily give teachers the information they need to understand the topics they teach,"... "Instructional technology helps the teacher bring mathematics to life with real-world connections." (Mistretta , 2005, p.23)
So overall we can conclude that as compared to disfavour, most arguments are in the favour of using computers in mathematics classrooms.
Is it necessary for the teachers to get professional development courses?
In this century, every child is very computer literate (Forgasz, 2006). At this time, technology is being used almost in all schools of developed countries. So the major issue facing by the policy makers is to prepare the future teachers, who teach the students by using technologies (Powers and Blubaugh, 2005). Before applying the technology in mathematics classrooms it is necessary for the educators that they already have knowledge of the particular subject.
Forgasz (2006) states, "What teachers believe is a subset of what they know, and this will impinge on their teaching practice"(p.464). There is also a famous Chinese saying, "If you want to give the students a cup of water, you (the teacher) should have a bucket of water of your own"(Peng, 2007, p.289 ).
Forgasz (2006) also emphasizes on teaching education in the shape of professional development computer courses. Powers and Blubaugh (2005) draw attention on the need of trained teachers and put stress on policy makers and state that the expansion of technology will demand the professional teachers for instructional purposes, so policy makers should play their role to introduce professional development computer courses and teachers should take part in the related professional development course to solve this issue.
According to Berry et al. (2006) a real challenge for introducing hand-held technology, like using the graphic calculator in the learning and assessment of mathematics is the fact that most of the mathematics teachers have not got proper idea as to how to use this technology. As mathematics is commonly viewed in terms of number, algebra , calculus and geometry , the students at time of leaving school have learned, to some extent, using traditional learning methods which can be more effectively achieved by the use of technology.
Teachers' knowledge about the subject is the focal part in teaching. That is why, mostly educators emphasize on the professional development courses, particularly in mathematics and computers. Borko (2004) says that professional development courses help the teachers to enhance their knowledge and develop new instructional practice and it is impossible to introduce new technology in mathematics education without teachers' understanding. Another place Borko (2004) states that the changes in classroom practices demand by the reform visions ultimately rely on teachers, so teachers' familiarity and confidence with computers is essential.
Mistretta (2005) gives more stress on professional development training for teachers and states that the teachers who have already received professional developing training in computers are more confident and competent during teaching as compared to those who do not have professional development training, as a result cannot use computers effectively. Galbraith(2006) shares the same view stating that the success or failure of any teaching approach depends upon the teaching quality with which the teachers teach and students engage. For the improvement of teaching knowledge and quality, professional development courses plays an important role.
Borko (2004) argues that professional development courses and workshops are not the source of learning. It may be occurred in different ways. Teachers may learn from the classroom experiences, during the conversation with a colleague, or during the counselling of a trouble child. Therefore, we have to understand teachers learning within these multiple settings.
Garet et al. (2001) criticise those teachers, took the professional development course, focuses heavily on just memorizing facts and they do not understand the subject knowledge deeply. Furthermore, they emphasize on teachers' knowledge and state that teacher should be fully aware of their subject knowledge and must know how their students can learn more effectively, because this skill is an integral part of their profession.
No doubt that it's not easy to understand technology but is even more complex to use it as a tool for the teaching and learning. It has been seen that in many professional development technology courses, the focus is given on learning about technology rather than the integration of technology into classroom teaching.(Mistretta, 2005)
The above discussion shows that all researchers are in the favour of professional development course in one way or the other and they realize the need of professional development courses. But Forgasz (2006) demands such professional development model, which makes the teacher proficient to solve the issues related to girls' less efficacy with computers.
Wood et al (2003) suggest that inclusive classroom practice is the best way to reduce the gender stereotype belief. This practice allows the students to deal with computers confidently, particularly when it is applied in a single-sex based environment. At present, to solve this issue professional practice of mathematics has changed; the teaching and learning must also be changed to reflect this transformation in practice.(Wood et al., 2003)
Teachers' belief about gender difference in mathematics:
Forgasz's article points out some of the universal issues related to gender and technology in mathematics education. I do, to some extent, agree with her conclusions related to gender issues. She concludes that teachers' perceptions about their students are typical gender stereotyped and they believe that girls are less interested in using the technology in mathematics education than boys.
She has given the reference of many researches (e.g., Cox, Leder, & Forgasz, 2004) and claims that it has been found in those studies that girls are no longer disadvantaged in the mathematics classroom setting, but they hesitate with technology and there is a concern that use of computers in mathematics education may be having a negative impact on girls learning. Sainz and Lopez-Saez (2010) give comments in the favour of Forgasz and states that in computer based mathematics class it has been observed that girls are less confident with computers as compared to boys and girls hesitate to use technology which may then have an effect on their future studies. Tomte (2008) also has the same opinion that "Boys have a more positive attitude towards computers, less computer anxiety and more computer confidence than girls, Boys are also more confident in success and perceive a higher degree of control than girls do." (p.5). Vekiri (2010) believe that both boys and girls consented upon the frustration connected to computer problem, but boys can handle the problem better than girls. Similarly, Meelissen and Drent (2008) state that research in use of computers by different genders has shown that "girls and women are often behind in ICT use and ICT knowledge and skills , furthermore girls and women have less positive attitudes towards ICT and show less confidence in using ICT compared to boys and men" (p.970)
On a general level , it has been mentioned in the "latest Global Gender Gap Report, published by the World Economic Forum, that no country in the world has yet reached equality between men and women."(Tomte , 2008, p.2). Contrary to that when it comes to comparing the performance between male and female students , the later seems to be ahead of male students academically if does not involve the use of computers. Thats why
Forgasz (2006) states that researches revealed that, girls are no longer disadvantaged in mathematics and they excel academically than boys. But in this article, teachers belief that in case of computers, girls show hesitation to use technology in mathematics classroom. This typical gender stereotype belief of teachers may be having a negative effect on girls 'mathematics learning outcomes.
Vekiri (2010) argues that "boys and girls perceived similar teacher expectations, however given the observed magnitude of the relationship between perceived teacher expectations and female students' self-efficacy, it is important in future studies to examine how teachers communicate expectations and personal beliefs about gender issues to the students as well as the long-term effects of teacher expectations and beliefs on student self-efficacy beliefs and academic choices "(p.22)
Wood et al. (2003) has a slightly different opinion as he have state that ten years ago the results achieved by the boys from school to university level in Australia were always higher than girls but now the situation is different and some recent studies indicate that both girls and boys deal with the use of technology in the same way, specifically if both boys and girls are in a single -sex environment.
Sainz and Lopez-saez (2010) however states that the participation of females in ICT related subjects is very low because most of them do not feel comfortable with computers that is why on average, "only 24% of university degrees and advanced research qualifications in computing were awarded to females." (p.578)
Fargasz(2006) states that generally the teachers hold male domain stereotyped beliefs about mathematics learning and understanding particularly in the case of computers and due to this belief female students are often disadvantaged. Kennedy (2010) also criticizes the teachers on their male domain stereotyping belief and states that girls encounter the gender stereotyping in schools due to some teachers and administrator and it is a barrier for girls' progress towards technology. Further Kennedy (2010) believes that some girls are not interested in computers because of their male teachers because they feel comfortable with the female teachers.
Under representation of the women is also due to the fact that they perceive that they have got lower technical and scientific abilities as well as not having a positive attitude towards these fields thus overall lack of interest in this area (Sainz and Lopez-saez, 2010). This hesitation of girls with use of computers can be reduced by effective teaching strategies (Powers and Blubaugh, 2005).
The paper of Forgasz(2006) is among those papers which actually points out that girls are better academically than boys in all subjects including mathematics. This article does not show that females are really ignored in mathematics classroom. The concern is only with the use of technology. Tomete (2008) states that mostly the researchers investigate about the disadvantages of girls in mathematics classrooms, but if the researchers consider the boys as the norm and as a representative of the actual goal to reach, they will find that boys are more underprivileged in the educational system and there is growing concern about boys' disadvantage in mathematics.
Certainly the gender gap in education is a major issue all over the world but there is a great influence of cultures and societies on IT (Tømte, 2008). It might be possible that females have less interest towards ICT related subjects because of its unique social image. According to Sainz and Lopez-Saez (2010), the perception of 'computer scientist' as being socially inept persons or computer 'freak' and the general concept that it is a male dominated field usually play a part in the females' lack of interest towards ICT.
Societies and cultures have sound impact on genders' learning attitudes, particularly in computers and mathematics learning/education because classroom cannot be separated from the culture in which it resides, so external factors will always impact on classroom practice.(Wood et al., 2003)
Parents are one source of gender stereotypes with respect to computing. In Romania and Scotland, parents have more stereotyped computer attitudes than their children. In the USA, parents, especially white and high-socioeconomic status (SES) parents, were found to give less computer-related support to girls than to boys. Shashaani found that parents' computer stereotypes in favour of makes encouraged their sons' computer involvement and discouraged their daughters' (Sanders, 2006)
Parents have a major role in children and young peoples' use of ICT . They can encourage their children about using ICT not only in their homework but also in general, and the parents' socio-economic status is an important factor to determine the children's access to ICT e.g. parents might not be having enough resources to buy a PC for their children. Thus use of ICT at home as well as at school is determined partially by social class, to whom their parents belong to.(Tomte, 2008)
Vekiri(2010) states that not only teachers' gender stereo-type believe effect negatively on the girls but also parents belief have the same effect, due to which girls avoid technology based careers. Tomte (2008) states that "Research on ICT, gender and education identifies gender differences in several fields, like learners' performances, attitudes towards computers and skills as well as the impact of teachers, parents and peers"(p.2)
Gender's effect on future occupation:
Forgasz (2006) argues that the teachers' formal stereotyped attitude can affect the girls' future occupations and girls will not adopt computer based professions.
It is a wide spread general perception that suitable female occupations are only nursing and teaching (Kennedy, 2010). masculine culture of computing, has discouraged girls from choosing technology based occupation in future. When generally we talk about suitability of teaching occupation for girls, it doesn't mean teaching ICT, because it has often observed that mostly the ICT teachers are males(Tømte, 2008)
Law 2008(cited in Tomte, 2008) agrees that there are more number of male teachers in the field of computers and information technology but does not agree that it is because of any gender specific differences rather he puts it down to social, historical and cultural differences.
Forgasz (2006) argues that the girls' less confidence and interest in using computers may be due to their nature. Sainz and Lopez-Saez (2010) states that interest of an individual depends upon his or her nature, mostly girls have extroversion nature, they are loquacious, whilst the social image of computer scientists are as geeks, nerds or socially isolated people. So generally the girls may avoid computer education because of their extroversion nature.
Major focus of Forgasz (2006) articles is about teachers' belief on gender issue but she did not mention the pedagogical approaches which will create the interest towards IT and other technologies in girls. As discussed above that there are certain factors and reasons due to which girls show less interest in ICT. For example parents' belief about their daughters' occupation, where some parents, because of social and cultural issues , do not encourage their daughter to choose the computer related field, since their childhood. This wrong belief of parents has a negative impact of ICT in girls' mind. Another reason of girls' less participation is social image of computers that it is a male dominant subject. Kennedy (2010) gives some suggestions to enhance the interest of girls towards computers and states that motivation and encouragement by providing appealing activities can play important role to develop the interest of girls in computers, by designing such courses which appeal to the girls, and by providing attractive role models can encourage girls to choose computer related carriers .
There are some other ways to enhance the interest of girls towards technology. For example cell phones and iPods and courses of web designing can stimulate the girls towards technology .Once the girls feel comfortable with computers, they can easily adopt computer profession in future.(Kennedy, 2010)
Motivation is one of the key factors to achieve any target. Harlen [2006: 61] define motivation as 'the conditions and processes that account for the arousal, direction, magnitude, and maintenance of effort' and motivation for learning as the engine that drives teaching and learning".
Stiggins(2001)[cited in Harlen ,2006 : 62] claims that "teachers can enhance or destroy students' desires to learn more quickly and more permanently through their use of assessment than through any other tools at their disposal."
Role Model: First geek girl:
One important principle in feminist pedagogy is the use of role models. (Li, 2007)
Motivation plays important role in achieving any target. interest of technology can be developed in girls with the help of motivation. A very good example is Sarah Blow who is a software engineer in London. She has played a significant role to enhance the interest of girls towards computers. Among her relatives and friends she was the only female who had selected computer field. When she started job, she became frustrated and annoyed about being one of the only females attending technical events. So she decided to make a forum on internet and invited girls to participate in it and then she invited those girls on dinner and taught them about different computer courses. In this way she has participated in the society to move one step more towards reducing the gap of girls and boys in computers. She was named "One geek girl"(Williams, 2010). Like this one geek girl other people can also play an active role in the society and reduce the gender gap in computer related subjects.
Responsibility of policy makers:
It is the responsibility of government policy makers and curriculum developer that they make some strategies to reduce the gap of technology between boys and girls. For this purpose they need to develop the course specifically keeping in view the nature of girls to enhance their interest in computers.
Kennedy (2010) emphasizes on education policy makers to design computers courses taking into account of girls' interest and state that "if we want to get girls to attend computer camps, Saturday camps or after school technology activities, we have to design them with girls' interests in mind."(p.1). Gordon (2001) ( cited in Meelissen &Drent, 2008) emphasize on the policymakers and researchers to do some steps to make computer learning environment more attractive for girls.
Inclusive classroom practice:
To reduce the gender gap in technology based mathematics classroom, 'inclusive classroom practice' is recommended by Wood et al. (2003). As Wood et al (2003) state that inclusive classroom practice is one of the effective pedagogy which can reduce the historical disadvantaged faced by the females who want to study mathematic with technology, particularly in a single sex environment where both boys and girls deal separately with computers. "When the global and local work together, then inclusive education is likely to offer a richer and more satisfying experience of mathematics to the students."(Wood et al., 2003, p.264)
In conclusion, I personally believe that the findings and conclusion of Forgasz' paper are valuable and purposeful and there is a need of such article in which the ground realities will be discussed.
Forgasz highlighted two major issues, teachers' confidence and belief about usage of computers in mathematics classroom and the gender issue in computer based mathematics classroom.
In first issue, I agree with the author that technologies enhance students' learning abilities and it should be expanded as compared to contract, as many scholarly literatures are in the favour of using technology in mathematics learning. Mostly teachers of Forgasz' study had the same belief and they were confident with the use of technology. The second major issue is about gender gap, as Tomte (2008) mentions that still in 21st century there is not a single country in the world which has obtained equality between men and women. Same situation has been discussed in computer based mathematics classroom. Author state that due to the gender-stereotype belief of teachers that boys are better than girls in technology based mathematics classroom, leave a negative effect on girls mathematics learning outcomes and diminish their passion to adopt career in mathematics or technology related areas.
Many researches show that there is still a gap between girls' and boys' learning attitude towards mathematics with computers, but such gaps can be reduced by effective teaching and learning strategies (Meelissen, 2008). As Wood et al. (2003) recommend the use of inclusive classroom strategies, which can reduce the gender gap in technology based mathematics classrooms.
Some scholarly literatures reveals that there are some factors involve in girls' less participation in computer based subjects, like parents effects, social effect, for some extent media effect. I have also given some suggestions of Kennedy (2010) for enhancement of girls' participation towards technology to overcome this problem, like motivation and encouragement from teachers and parents, role model
The analysis of the study have some recommendations as well which are significant for teachers and the researchers as well. the imporatnat issue is that icannot generalise my analysis simply on behalf of my knowledge and class teaching .as i ve pointed out , my students are having same trpe of mental approach . the very prime issue is teachers significant positive attitude can influence the learners to the most extent.
At that point I have already discussed about motivation , as motivation plays a dynamic role in achieving any target . Secondly forgasz has given some recommendations to reduce this gender gap with inclusive classroom practice. So if girls receive encouragement from teachers, parents, society and media, I personally believe that the hesitation of girls towards technology will disappear??? I have discussed that teachers believe about girls
Some scholarly literatures find out that there are some factors involve in girls' less participation in computer based subjects, like parents effects, social effect, for some extent media effect. I have also given some suggestions of Kennedy (2010) and Wood et al., (2003) for betterment of girls' participation towards technology.