Sustaining integrated technology in undergraduate mathematics
Oates, GN, Sustaining integrated technology in undergraduate mathematics, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 42, (6) pp. 709-721. ISSN 0020-739X (2011) [Refereed Article]
The effective integration of technology into the teaching and learning of mathematics remains one of the critical challenges facing contemporary tertiary mathematics. This article reports on some significant findings of a wider study investigating the use of technology in undergraduate mathematics. It first discusses a taxonomy developed to describe and compare technology use within individual courses and departments that identifies a complex range of factors, summarized under six defining characteristics of an integrated technology mathematics curriculum (ITMC). An instrument for a simple comparison of technology use employing the elements of this taxonomy is provided. It then presents evidence gathered from an observational study of technology implementation at The University of Auckland, and examines this evidence against the taxonomy. The findings suggest that while the underlying complexity of the taxonomy limits a categorical definition of integrated technology, it does provide an effective means for examining the issues confronting those wishing to implement and sustain integrated technology in undergraduate mathematics. An integrated, holistic approach, which aims for curricular consistency across all the characteristics described in the taxonomy, provides the basis for a more effective and sustainable ITMC. Key findings, some of which will be considered in more detail in this discussion, include: the importance of mandating technology use in official departmental policy; paying attention to consistency and fairness in assessment; re-evaluating the value of topics in the curriculum; re-establishing the goals of undergraduate courses; and developing the pedagogical technical knowledge of teaching staff.
undergraduate mathematics, integrated technology, curriculum, assessment, topic value, technology policy, professional development