The computer age is changing the way teachers teach math. First calculators began to appear in schools. With calculators, students could compute math facts easily. But math is more than math facts! Math is thinking, and thinking is the hard part of math, and far and away the most important part.
Although educators still debate whether or not calculators are helpful, the computer age has moved on, and computers can now play more and more important roles in teaching math to everyone. Computers are much more flexible and much more powerful than calculators. They can…
- adapt to the needs of students (presenting content based on patterns of answers).
- illustrate math concepts or procedures (with sound and animation).
- use games to teach a range of knowledge and skills (from math facts to calculus).
- put lessons for all of math online for everyone to use free (from math facts to calculus).
In addition to computers and calculators, some teachers and students may be using SmartBoards (a kind of electronic blackboard), iPads and other tablet devices, and a wide range of assistive devices for students with special needs.
The important thing is to understand that computer technology can make learning math more active, more interesting, and more understandable to students. As you help students, you will probably have the chance to learn more yourself—about technology, about teaching math, and even about math itself.