, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 323-347
Date: 05 Oct 2012

Teaching with new technology: four ‘early majority’ teachers

Abstract

This paper explores how four good teachers, who do not have a special interest in technology, meet the challenge of introducing the rapidly developing mathematics analysis software (e.g. spreadsheets, function graphers, symbolic algebra manipulation and dynamic geometry) into their classrooms. These teachers’ practice is viewed through the lens of Roger’s framework for the diffusion of innovation and Pierce and Stacey’s pedagogical opportunities map. Data on teachers, views and practices were collected over 2 years. ‘Pedagogical Maps’ give a picture of the teachers’ perception and uptake of pedagogical opportunities. New practices have been added slowly to each teacher’s repertoire and their increasing fluency in practical ability to teach with the technology resulted in some changes to the classroom didactic contract. Overall, new technology seemed to have been absorbed into current practice, more than changing practice. At this stage of their development, these teachers do not identify the distinctive new mathematical capabilities as contributing to the major relative advantage of the innovation. Instead, they see the relative advantage mostly in the incremental improvements to capabilities of earlier calculators, and meeting the need for students to be up to date. One of the current challenges is that significant changes in both software and hardware design have been happening so rapidly that these early majority teachers felt almost constantly hampered by the need to learn and teach new technical skills and so continue to make limited progress in taking advantage of opportunities to approach mathematics concepts in new ways.