Technology use and the teaching of mathematics in the secondary classroom

Funding year: 
2 years
Auckland UniServices
School sector
Project start date: 
January 2005
Project end date: 
January 2007
Principal investigator(s): 
Dr. Mike Thomas
Research team members: 
Jenny Bosley, Alan delos Santos, Rosheen Gray, Ye Yoon Hong, and Jared Loh
Research partners: 
Senior College of New Zealand; Pakuranga College; Texas Instruments

Project Description

Mathematics teaching and learning is crucial to the future of New Zealand’s knowledge economy and deserves a special focus in education. One of the key synergisms of mathematics is with technology, and as technology advances it inevitably influences what happens in the mathematics classroom. However, with rapid advancements, teachers may be unprepared to take full advantage of new technology, with the types of technology used falling behind the learning possibilities demonstrated by international research studies (Thomas, Monaghan, & Pierce, 2004).

In this study, we considered whether the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Levels 2 and 3 assessment standards had presented any challenges for teachers in terms of their use of technology in mathematics teaching. While the general explanatory notes to these standards include statements such as “Appropriate technology should be used, but justified working may be required”, and “Appropriate technology (such as spreadsheets) should be used to aid simulation”, it was not clear how this was being implemented. Hence, this research project sought to explore both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of technology use in the classroom under NCEA Levels 2 and 3 assessment standards, and their relationship to theoretical perspectives in the research literature and quality learning. It was a collaborative research study between university researchers and secondary school teachers, observing teachers in schools to analyse current teaching practice.

The research was underpinned by the concept of teachers’ pedagogical technology knowledge (PTK), developed by Thomas and Hong (2005), as a useful way to think in outline about what teachers need to know in order to teach mathematics well with technology. We also employed Gibson’s (1977) theory of affordances and constraints to analyse the relationship between the teacher and the environment they seek to interact with

Project Contact

Professor Mike Thomas,
Professor of Mathematics Education
University of Auckland