Prof. Inder K Rana
Department of Mathematics
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Indian education system
The system of education in India is '10 + 2 + 3' model. Education is a state subject and there are 26 states in India. Each state has its own Education Board which is responsible for all matters relating to school education in that state. This makes the education system non-uniform. Indian education system is highly examination-oriented. The 'examination mentality' has had a strong negative influence on everything connected with education in India: textbooks, style of teaching, and teacher preparation. There is little scope for innovation and use of technology in regular teaching.
In the year 2005, the Central Board for Secondary Education took an initiative and issued a directive to all the schools affiliated to it (Figure 1.)
Mathematics Laboratory in Schools
Circular No. 03/28.01.04
Maths Laboratory and Internal Assessment in Mathematics
Circular No. 10/02.03.05
What Math Lab can achieve (CBSE)
However, there was no real effect of this circular as no support system was set up. Still, there is no attempt to include really meaningful technology inputs in math education as part of curriculum.
Role of technology in Math education
What is technology
What is technology? It can be summed up from the perspective of evolution, as:
Slate > Sliderule > Software
It has evolved from oral education and engraving on clay tablets / stones, to writing on palm leaves, to the invention of ink/paper and printing, to digital media in the modern times. Technology hardware: Hand held calculators on one hand and multimedia workstations on the other; digital class rooms on one hand and virtual class rooms on the other are some of the examples of technology playing a role in math education. ICT, Course distribution over the Internet, use of softwares like Maple, Mathematica, Mupad, Drive, GSP, Cabri, and so on, help to compute and simulate. Learning management softwares and evaluation tools are playing a vital role in making laborious tasks easy.
Technology in Math education
Education (more so Math education) is in the midst of a change driven by technological developments. Technology is entering many facets of math teaching and learning. Technology is a valuable tool in the teaching and learning of mathematics, for it has the ability to empower mathematics students as well as mathematics instructors. In some cases the use of technology is prompted by the methods that can help a teacher to do some jobs easily and in a better way. In others it is motivated by the belief and effort to impart instructions in a way that will help to achieve the learning goals of students. Integration of technology in education can also be because of non-academic reasons.
Technology supported e-modules
The aim of an e-module should not be to replace a teacher, but to support a teacher. An e-module helps in building intuition and developing independent thinking. Intuitions built at early stages help later in formalisations. Efforts should be made to present numerical, graphical and symbolic representations of various concepts so that a student has the freedom to choose one or more of multiple intelligences.
Recipe for an e-module
- Select a topic.
- Revise the basic concepts.
- Give an example of the activity you want them to do.
- Activity should involve observation, analysis of observation based on the concepts revised, conclusion and its justification.
- Give a short quiz to test the assimilation of the concepts.
Positive aspects of technology use
Technology adds new components to teaching and learning of mathematics by providing:
Technology Enhanced Learning, Visualisations
Given the information that in the first figure, inside quadrilateral is a square, students can be asked if they can draw any conclusions/conjectures about the geometrical shapes involved? It May help to look at the figure on the right hand side shows a rearrangement of the shapes in figure on the left hand side. May be naming the sides will help in thinking:
Does this enable students to think and respond? If still not, the following picture can be shown:
This should help to motivate most of the students to conjuncture: