## The Issue “Math tech improves student performance”

By Queena N. Lee-Chua, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Jan. 28, 2013

The Philippines lags behind the rest of the world in mathematics and science expertise, as shown by Filipino students’ dismal scores in global tests like the 2004 Trends in International Math and Sciences Study. Technology has been touted to fix education problems. Open-source codes and open universities, PowerPoint presentations and iPads in class all make the most of technology.

**Courseware by Filipinos**

In 2011, Science Secretary Mario Montejo created a viable math courseware (presenting lessons in animation using tablets) and tested whether it could make an impact on student learning. They decided to start with Grade 1 math, and deal with topics compatible with both the existing basic education and the proposed Kindergarten to Year 12 curricula. Their courseware were meant to supplement—not replace—traditional textbooks, lessons and teachers. As they administered a pretest to two Grade 1 classes, one group supplemented lessons by using the courseware and going through the activities, with the guidance of teachers.

The other, the control group, followed the traditional classroom lesson plan, without the courseware. Later, they all took a posttest. The scores of the students who used the courseware soared, compared to those who did not. Statistical tests showed, it could be 95-percent confident that the increase in scores was due to the courseware. In short, the courseware was effective for practically all the students who used it. After the posttest, the control group was finally allowed to use the courseware. B. Position Statement

### THE ARGUMENTS SUPPORTING THE ISSUE AND THEIR EVIDENCE

According to Padrnos’ master’s thesis, technology helps students — particularly minorities — conquer math. He said, “Visualizing things moving around is very helpful for kids who are not math whizzes. ” Students can come up and move things around and see how everything changes. ” He also said, “Because many come from households where there is no computer, basic technological literacy is often a stumbling block. Once you bridge that, technology can be a great aid. Education is really changing because of technology. ” (Beth Hawkins, MINNPOST 06/02/11) According to Guillermo M.

Luz, co-chairman of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), the Philippine ranks a poor seventh among nine Southeast Asian nations in the area of education, science and technology and innovation. In the area of primary education, the Philippines ranked 99th out of 138 economies. The Philippines ranked 69th in educational system, 112th in science and math and 76th on Internet access. In all categories, the Philippines was falling behind Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Because of these conditions, one of his proposals is the use of more technology in education.

For instance, Luz said, instead of spending billions of pesos for textbooks that are prone to errors and entail huge printing and transport costs, public and private schools should shift to e-books that are easier to upload and update. He said shifting to e-books is more practical nowadays, with the presence of computers in schools and the connectivity being offered by private firms. (By Max V. de Leon, Business Mirror 06/15/2011) It says in Kto12 Math Conceptual Framework, “We recognized that the use of appropriate tools is needed in teaching mathematics.

These include: manipulative objects, measuring devices, calculators and computers, Smartphones and tablet PCs, and the Internet. ” (Kto12 Curriculum Guide – version as of January 31, 2012) Senate education committee chairman Edgardo Angara made the call at a hearing on proposed curricular reforms to the Philippine basic education system. “This issue of science and mathematics being taught at the earliest period of education is very important. If we’re going to do reforms, they have to be undertaken in the most critical areas.

In this Internet-driven, information age, those areas are science, mathematics and engineering—whatever the pedagogy,” Angara said. He lamented the Philippines has been falling behind in competitiveness tables due to its lack of technological capacity. In turn, such a lack of technological capacity “goes back to our lack of a good science and math background,” he added. (TJD, GMA News)

### THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE ISSUE AND THEIR EVIDENCE

For Robert Talbert, in his article “Is dependence in technology the real threat? ”The threat of becoming dependent upon technology to do mathematics is only a real concern under one of two conditions.

One is if the technology we use is expensive or otherwise hard to access for some learners. This can be a real problem. The other condition is when our definition of “mathematics” becomes so restricted that it includes only those tasks that can be easily farmed out to technology. According to him, “When you remove all the human elements from mathematics — modeling, problem solving, pattern-finding, written expression, and so on — and reduce the subject to nothing more than rote mechanics, of course technology poses an existential threat to the discipline. And deservedly so!

Any discipline that can be replaced by software probably ought to be. ” Based on the International Journal for Technology in Mathematics Education, “More than twenty years after the introduction of the first handheld graphing calculator the mathematics community appears to still be struggling with the use of technology in the teaching and learning of mathematics. One major venue for arguments against technology use in the teaching and learning of mathematics is the news magazines of professional organizations for mathematicians. These magazines are widely read in the mathematics community.

An examination of the articles, opinions, and letters written for two such magazines between 2001 and 2009 reveals why some mathematicians are concerned with the use of technology in the learning and teaching of mathematics. The arguments against technology use center on three main issues: whether technology should change the focus of mathematics curriculum, whether technology use changes how students conceptualize mathematics, and whether the benefits of technology outweigh the costs. These arguments provide a revealing look at what some mathematicians fear are the negative effects of technology use on the learning of mathematics. According to Heick, on his post in Teach Thought, there are “5 Problems with Technology in Classrooms”.

- (1) Pace of Change. Not all schools can keep up with the rapidly changing technology. Upgrading equipment is often costly and schools may not have the manpower to handle the equipment.
- (2) Different Social Dynamics. An online school doesn’t offer the same social benefits of a regular school.
- (3) Distraction. Many teachers believe that smartphones and tablets, with internet connectivity and text messaging services, can merely be a source of distraction for students as opposed to a learning tool.
- (4) Technology Out-thinking the Instruction. There are also discrepancies as to how much of a support technology can be to a student.
- (5) Learning Innovation vs. Improved Test Performance. Teachers worry that while the technology is engaging on a creative level, the students may be missing out on basic concepts like math and language.

MY POSITION ABOUT THE ISSUE: Technology in teaching Mathematics is becoming a necessity in today’s classroom. There are many math concepts that are hard for students to understand and learn.

Through the use of technology, it can help students visualize those difficult concepts in Math. The animation, visual 3D effects provided by this technology will boost the interest of the students. Though it is providing an easy way for teachers to teach and students to learn, one of the disadvantages I can see in using courseware in my issue is that as the students were excited to use it, some were so enthusiastic that teachers find it difficult at times to manage the class. Another disadvantage of the use of technology is that it is not accessible to learners.

The rank of our country in education is deprived because of the lack of fiscal support from our government. Based on this statistics, if we look at the financing/investment on education in the chart below, it leads us to one possible reason for our underperformance in education. There are arguments against the use of technology in the classroom though. Researchers state that bringing technology in to the classroom can make students less creative, hinder problem solving abilities, and delay cognitive development. The article by James Rosenberg entitled, “Technology in the classroom: Friend or Foe? provided arguments for and against the use of technology in the classroom. Some arguments for the use were: it prepares students for college and the workforce when technology is used at a young age, students have access to resources from around the world, and it will make students more motivated and engage them in their learning. Some arguments against the use were: students have less human interaction and this can be a problem when it comes time for interviews, it hinders teachers’ abilities to teach, and classroom discussion can be more difficult.

I personally agree with both sides. I believe that limited use of technology in the classroom is beneficial, but it should not replace the teacher and the social interaction that is crucial to young students. C. Conclusion My position in the issue leads to some advantages and disadvantages of using technology in teaching mathematics. Some advantages are:

- (1) it will be easy for students to visualize difficult concepts in math through animated moving objects, figures, and graphs et. al.
- (2) it will boost their interest affected by those 3D effects, animation used in presentation of the math lesson as well as it will make them more motivated and engage themselves in learning.
- (3) it will be easy for teachers to teach and students to learn
- (4) it will prepare students for college and the workforce when technology is used at a young age.

While the disadvantages are:

- (1) lack of resources and limited access to technologies caused by low investments on education
- (2) it will be difficult for teachers at times to manage the class brought by the students’ excitement in the use of modern technology.
- (3) Students will have less human interaction and they will become dependent on those modern tools/gadgets.

There are several steps we wish to address pertaining to strategies and methods in implementing the benefits of technology in the teaching of mathematics. The first pertains to computer technology. In the Philippines, there are schools with insufficient number of computers; there are those with none at all. There is limited access to expensive mathematical software so we need to maximize the use of computers through working by station.

In addition there is also the issue on the efficient use of the internet to enhance mathematics learning. We can provide students available interactive sources, free software packages like geogebra, graphmatica et. al, interactive websites like math scavenger or treasure hunts and webquests. Second, the paper will focus on the use of modern low-end handheld technology (inexpensive scientific calculator) which provides students with new opportunities for learning mathematical ideas, in addition to providing a means of undertaking mathematical computations.

This technology offers Philippine teachers who have no access to expensive calculators and computers ways to teach mathematics with technology. Finally, we also look at the use of manipulatives that could serve as alternatives to unavailable technology. D.

### References

- Lee-Chua, Q. (2013, January 28). Math tech improves student performance. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from http://newsinfo. inquirer. net/348583/math-tech-improves-student-performance De Leon, M. (2011, June 15).
- Philippine education ranked ‘poor’. Business Mirror. Retrieved from http://www. abs-cbnnews. om/business/06/14/11/philippine-education-ranked-poor & http://reyadel. files. wordpress. com/2009/03/2004eduppp. png TGD (2012, February 21). PHL senator urges reforms in Science, Math education.
- GMA News Online. Retrieved from http://ph. news. yahoo. com/phl-senator-urges-reforms-science-math-education-105408104. html Virola, R. (2007, January 8). Statistics on Philippine Education: Good News and Bad News! StatsSpeak. Retrieved from http://www. nscb. gov. ph/headlines/StatsSpeak/2007/010807_rav_educ. asp Hawkins, B. (2011, June 2). In Hopkins, technology helps students conquer math. Minnpost.
- Retrieved from http://www. minnpost. com/learning-curve/2011/06/hopkins-technology-helps-students-conquer-math Rosenberg, J. (2012, October 26). Technology in a classroom: Friend or Foe? Huff Post Educ. Retrieved from Retrieved April 30, 2013, from http://www. huffingtonpost. com/james-rosenberg/technology-in-the-classro_2_b_2 018558. html Talbert, R. (2011, October 11).
- Is dependence on technology the real threat? Blognetwork. Retrieved from http://chronicle. com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/2011/10/11/is-dependence-on-technology-the-real-threat/ Smith H. Risser. (2011). What Are We Afraid of?
- Arguments against Teaching Mathematics with Technology in the Professional Publications of Organisations for US Mathematicians. International Journal for Technology in Mathematics Education, v18 n2 p97-101 2011.
- Retrieved from http://www. tech. plym. ac. uk/research/mathematics_education/field%20of%20work/ijtme/volume_18/number_two. htm#four Heick, T. (2012, July 31). 5 Problems with Technology in Classrooms. TeachThought.
- Retrieved from http://www. teachthought. com/learning/5-problems-with-technology-in-classrooms/ ———————– Submitted to: Prof. Edward B. Macagne Prepared by: Caberos, Rona Rachel C.