Changing Pre-service Mathematics Teachers’ Beliefs about Using Computers for Teaching and Learning Mathematics: The Effect of Three Different Models

Jul. 01, 2014

Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 37, No. 3, 390–405, 2014.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of three different computer integration models on pre-service mathematics teachers’ beliefs about using computers in mathematics education.

The participants were 104 Turkish pre-service mathematics teachers, who were divided into three different groups of computer integration models: 36 second-year students in the Computer Oriented Model group, 35 fourth-year students in the Integrated Model (IM) group and 33 fifth-year students in the Exploring Mathematical Relationships with Mathematical Software (EMReMaS) group.

Data were collected through computer-assisted mathematics instruction (CAMI) survey.

Discussion and conclusion

The results indicated a remarkable change in beliefs within the EMReMaS and IM groups concerning computer use in teaching and learning mathematics. The pre-service mathematics teachers’ experiences in the mathematical learning courses with computers played a significant role in this change. Before the coursework most pre-service teachers expressed the negative belief that computer use in mathematics courses would blunt students’ mathematical abilities and lead to rote memorisation. However after the course, the participants in the EMReMaS and IM groups pointed out the potential of ICT for teaching and learning mathematics. Moreover, pre-service teachers in the EMReMaS and IM groups learned from their experiences in a computer-assisted environment that computers are more than just calculators when it comes to learning mathematics. This study suggests that the experiences of pre-service teachers in the EMReMaS and IM groups lead to changes in their beliefs.

Another significant result of this study is that the beliefs of the students in the IM group are statistically higher than the ones from the EMReMaS group. Students from IM group experienced planning and carrying out a computer-supported mathematics course, even if only for a short time. In contrast, students in the EMReMaS group did not have this experience, and their learning was not associated with the secondary education mathematics curriculum. In addition, pre-service teachers in the IM group experienced teaching in a real classroom, which may have influenced their beliefs about teaching. In other words, the students of the IM group experienced computer use first hand, and this resulted in more positive beliefs than the other group of students.

After the coursework there was no change in the COM group’s beliefs about mathematics education in a computer-assisted environment. There seemed to be no influence on their beliefs about mathematics education in a computer-assisted environment, even when the pre-service teachers are able to use word processing or spreadsheet and presentation software at an advanced level.

Educational implications

Generally, pre-service teachers who studied in traditional learning environments are unable to recognise the relationship between mathematical education and computers, as seen in this study. The coursework of the students in the IM group revealed that the beliefs of pre-service teachers who have had meaningful learning and teaching experiences with computers are more positive than the beliefs of students from other groups. Learning and teaching experiences with computers are significant factors in changing pre-service teachers’ beliefs.

The author suggests that computers and instructional technologies should be integrated in the teacher education programmes as a learning method for pre-service teachers. In pre-service mathematics teacher education programmes, students should be given opportunities to learn about mathematical software and relevant instructional technologies and opportunities to use these technologies and software to design and implement reform-based mathematics lessons.

Updated: May. 01, 2016