||Learning Mathematics in Secondary School through Technology Enabled Explorations: A Perspective from India
||Jonaki B GHOSH
This paper highlights the role of technology in mathematics education with examples from the Indian context. Mathematics forms the foundation of education in Indian society and is a compulsory subject up to grade 10. The last few years have witnessed extensive use of computer technology in school education. However in the vast majority of Indian classrooms, mathematics teaching continues in the traditional “chalk and board” manner. Technology, if used for teaching mathematics, is primarily for demonstration purposes and does not involve the student actively. Thus mathematics teaching, especially at the secondary and higher secondary school level, offers little opportunity for visualization and exploration. This renders mathematics as an abstract subject as seen from the eyes of a majority of students. The National Curriculum Framework of India (NCF, 2005) in its position paper Teaching of Mathematics recommends the use of technology in the form of computer software and calculators, “Technology can greatly aid the process of mathematical explorations,.... If ordinary calculators can offer such possibilities, the potential of graphing calculators and computers for mathematical exploration is far higher”. The recommendations of the NCF, has been a motivating factor for conducting studies related to the use of technology in the mathematics classroom. In this paper, we shall describe a study conducted with higher secondary school students, where technology in the form of graphics calculators, spreadsheets and Computer Algebra Systems played a key role in developing their mathematical thinking. We will illustrate that by enabling students to explore mathematical applications through technology, a rich and motivating environment may be created in the classroom for exploring mathematical ideas.