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"Developing a Healthy Scepticism About Technology in Mathematics Teaching"

I have an article in the current issue of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics (Vol 3, Issue 1). The title is Developing a Healthy Scepticism About Technology in Mathematics Teaching. This will be a chapter of my PhD thesis and provides some background context. I am following a model in which teaching draws on a body of theory which is based on scholarship as well as reflective evaluation of previous experience. So as well as a literature survey, I present a reflective account of experiences which have taken place alongside, but outside of, my PhD research that have shaped my thinking.

This journal is an online-only, diamond open-access1, peer-reviewed journal with an emphasis on “the aesthetic, cultural, historical, literary, pedagogical, philosophical, psychological, and sociological aspects as we look at mathematics as a human endeavor”. They publish “articles that focus mainly on the doing of mathematics, the teaching of mathematics, and the living of mathematics”. (Quotes from the Journal’s About page.)

My article’s synopsis is:

A reflective account is presented of experiences which took place alongside a research project and caused a change in approach to be more sceptical about implementation of learning technology. A critical evaluation is given of a previous e-assessment research project, undertaken from a position of naive enthusiasm for learning technology. Experiences of teaching classes and designing assessment tasks lead to doubts regarding the extent to which the previous project encouraged deep learning and contributed to graduate skills development. Investigations of the benefits of another technology—in-class response systems—lead to revelations about learning technology: its enthusiastic introduction in isolation cannot be expected to produce educational benefit; instead it must address some pedagogic need and should be evaluated against this. Overall, these experiences contribute to a shift away from a naive enthusiasm to an approach based on careful consideration of educational need before technology implementation.

Download the PDF of this article here.

P.S. Sorry the blog has become rather infrequent and quite education-focused. I am currently splitting my time between teaching and writing my thesis, so I have little time for anything else. My employment contract is only to teach until May and my thesis is due in July.

  1. Diamond open access means that you don’t have to pay to read it and I haven’t had to pay to publish it. It’s a kind of magic. []

6 Responses to “"Developing a Healthy Scepticism About Technology in Mathematics Teaching"”

  1. Peter Rowlett

    “Green” is self-archiving. “Gold” is author pays. “Diamond” is no-one pays (my institution didn’t pay either). (At least, that’s how Gowers defined it.) I think diamond either needs a backer or is done by volunteers (and is therefore unsustainable or at least difficult to scale, which is why I said “magic”).

    Here, you didn’t pay to read it (which would be “not open access”), I (nor my institution or any grant awarding body) didn’t pay to publish it (which would be “gold open access”) and it isn’t a self-published version of a paywalled article (which would be “green open access”). Still, there was an involved editorial process and I didn’t do the copyediting or typesetting, so either people are volunteering their time or some money is coming from somewhere (I’m not sure which in this case).

  2. Troy McConaghy

    I find it incredibly sad how the word technology has come to mean “computers.” What word are we supposed to use when we wish to refer to the sum total of all human-invented tools, including mathematics?


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