||Using Dynamic Software to Teach Mathematical Concepts: The Cases of GeoGebra and Microsoft Mathematics
||Seyum Tekeher GETENET
The findings presented here are part of a larger study, which documented the design, development and refinement of a professional development program to improve teacher educators’ effective use of technology to teach mathematics. This paper describes the use of free software to teach the area of a unit circle and then estimate the decimal value of pi (π), and graphs of logarithmic functions. Data comprised video-recorded lessons audited using an observation checklist, and interview data provided by two teacher educators and five pre-service teachers who were in the class of learners. Data were analysed using a quantitative and thematic grouping of the qualitative data. In this study, although students often find mathematics concepts abstract and difficult to understand, it was found that using technologies made the lessons more engaging by enabling trial, improvement and experimentation with the tasks. Furthermore, this approach fostered learners’ peer exchange by providing support for exploration and consequent sharing of discoveries. For such effective pedagogy, the study also found that teacher educators needed an understanding of their learners’ prior knowledge of the technology, and equally the learners should have prior knowledge to be able to use the specific software effectively. The study further provided an example of how free software can be used to explore basic mathematics concepts.