Teaching Mathematics with Tablet PCs: A Professional Development Program Targeting Primary School Teachers

Teaching Mathematics with Tablet PCs: A Professional Development Program Targeting Primary School Teachers

Maria Meletiou-Mavrotheris (European University Cyprus, Cyprus), Katerina Mavrou (European University Cyprus, Cyprus), George Stylianou (European University Cyprus, Cyprus), Stephanos Mavromoustakos (European University Cyprus, Cyprus) and George Christou (European University Cyprus, Cyprus)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6300-8.ch012
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Abstract

Declining interest in mathematics and the need to raise the educational standards of youth in this discipline set a critical agenda for the revision of pedagogical practices. Tablet PCs and other mobile devices hold a lot of promise as tools for improving education at all levels. The research discussed in this chapter comes from an ongoing, multifaceted program designed to explore the potential of tablet technologies for enhancing mathematics teaching and learning at the primary school level. The program is taking place within a private primary school in Cyprus and aims at the effective integration of one-to-one tablet technologies (iPads) into the mathematics school curriculum. It has adopted a systemic approach to the introduction of iPads in the school setting that focuses on the broad preparation and on-going engagement of all key stakeholders involved in the educational process. In the chapter, the authors report on the main experiences gained from Phase 1 of the program, which involved the design and organization of a professional development workshop targeting the school teachers. The authors describe the content and structure of the workshop and discuss its impact on teachers' knowledge, skills, and confidence in incorporating tablet technologies within the mathematics curriculum.
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Background

Mathematical literacy is a core literacy that serves as one of the foundational areas of knowledge that drives scientific and technological advancement in knowledge-based economies (European Commission, 2004). Cross-national studies of student achievement (e.g. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)) indicate lack of mathematical and scientific competence for a considerable proportion of the student population worldwide. There is also well-documented evidence of declining interest in key science and mathematics topics, and in science careers (e.g. Adleman, 2004; European Commission, 2007; Jenkins & Nelson 2005; OECD 2006; Sjøberg & Schreiner, 2006). The methods of instruction have been identified as contributing to students’ low achievement and falling interest in the sciences (Van Langen, 2005). The methods of teaching of mathematics are often viewed as unappealing to the majority of students, as outdated and unconnected with their interests and experiences (Goodrum, Hackling & Rennie, 2001). Ideas are presented in an overly theoretical and abstract manner, without sufficient opportunities for students to engage in problem-solving and experimentation.

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