Mathematics Teachers to Use ICT through Training
iCT Training Centre
A recent Government report on the use of ICT in various subject areas in UK schools, has suggested that mathematics has one of the lowest uses, despite the widespread availability of high quality hardware and software in the classrooms.
This paper will argue that the mathematical use of ICT is complicated and hard to learn, but offers rich rewards. Without effective training, everything that we are discussing at this conference is irrelevant.
Mathematics teachers need as much help with ICT issues out of the classroom as in, and the TSM training model (Technology for Secondary/College Mathematics) will be presented as a good example. This program is well established in the UK and always mixes courses on ‘productivity’ tools with sessions on dynamic software. Only with increased confidence in both preparing lessons and delivering them can mathematics teachers be motivated to make ICT work for them.
The aim of the TSM workshops is to help those mathematics teachers who want to use ICT in their work, but who generally:
have little idea how to create mathematical expressions in Word
have little idea how to use the Drawing Toolbar to create mathematical diagrams
lack confidence in finding and incorporating effective web resources into their lesson plans using hyperlinks
are generally mystified by the mathematical possibilities of Excel, and are certainly worried when it appears to go wrong
lack confidence in planning lessons that incorporate dynamic software.
Experience from these workshops suggests that these skills should be part of the ICT toolkit for all mathematics teachers, both in their initial training and as part of their on-going in-service training. With this in mind, a half-day summary of these ideas has been presented successfully for the past few years at a number of post graduate Teacher Training courses in England.
There is of course a clear difference between presenting these ideas to teachers, however attentive they may be, and conducting a hands-on workshop. Even half-day or whole day courses can leave the teachers confused and overwhelmed, and asking for more time to practise. With this background, the 3-day residential TSM workshop was born and is now in its fourth year.
In this paper I will present some of the material used to inspire teachers at the workshops, and will stress the importance of ICT training in motivating mathematics teachers to enjoy their work more, and to be more effective and exciting teachers.