Teaching Mathematics in the Spirit of Education Reform: Influences of a Technology-based Preservice Teacher Development Initiative
Dr. Thea K. Dunn Ph.D..
The research reported here examines a preservice teacher initiative whose overarching goal is to prepare preservice teachers to teach mathematics in the spirit of education reform efforts. The multi-year study discussed in this paper focuses on the use of technology-based strategies in an elementary mathematics methods course designed to facilitate preservice teachers’ ability to create learning environments that engage all learners in constructing mathematical understandings and developing confidence in their ability to do mathematics. This study examines preservice teachers’ use of technology-based activities in the methods course and during their pre-student teaching experiences in multilingual and multicultural urban classrooms. The purpose of including the technology-based activities, including digital video clips, web-based multimedia math investigations, and an online discussion board, was to enhance preservice teachers’ mathematical knowledge and practice, model technology integration into mathematics lessons, and provide examples of reform-oriented mathematics teaching and learning. During their field experiences, the preservice teachers incorporated the activities into technology-based lesson plans, illustrated mathematics concepts through multiple representations, and guided students as they constructed their own mathematical understandings. The findings reveal that, in addition to supporting preservice teachers’ construction of mathematical understandings, the technology-based activities influenced their mathematics knowledge, instructional practices, and beliefs about teaching mathematics in multilingual and multicultural urban classrooms. This study gives rise to important findings on the relationship between technology-based activities and mathematics education that can be utilized to inform decisions about technology and teacher preparation.
Dr. Thea K. Dunn Ph.D. (United States)
Assistant Professor, Mathematics Education
College of Education
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Thea K. Dunn is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Her primary research interests include the use of technology, reform-based curricula, and culturally-based materials and methods to facilitate the implementation of student-centered pedagogical strategies and support the development of mathematical understandings. Dr. Dunn’s substantive areas of interest are the social and cultural contexts that influence mathematics teaching and learning and the development of teachers prepared to address the needs of learners living in contexts of increasing linguistic, cultural, and social diversity. She has taught mathematics education and educational technology courses at the university level and mathematics and computer applications courses at the middle and secondary level. Dr. Dunn has long been active in promoting access and equity in mathematics education has been involved in teaching, research, and service in the U.S., Namibia, India, and Mauritania, and has published and presented her research regionally, nationally, and internationally.
(30 min Conference Paper, English)