Traditional mathematics teaching requires a lot of memorization and little thinking. In the eyes of a middle school student, "Math is just moving numbers around to get the answer the teacher has." and school is, "A place where young people go to watch old people work and are graded on how well they watched."

With the appropriate use of technology, mathematics can be taught interactively utilizing four views: Numerical, Graphical, Symbolic, and Verbal. “USA Today” is a great example of how effective this can be. The NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics is a wonderful resource of how this can be integrated into your lessons.

The problem is it takes more work, initially, to teach this way. It's much easier to write "What is…" questions than to write questions that begin with:

- Explain your thinking…
- What if…
- Interpret the response in context…

I have to admit that as I spend 30 minutes each day setting up and another 30 minutes tearing down the technology for my classes I sometimes envy the professors who walk in a minute or two prior to class; concerned only about an adequate supply of chalk. But, I am willing to spend extra effort and time setting my room because I believe with technology I am a better educator and my students are better learners.

A common complaint about mathematics is that technology/calculators "gives" all the answers. To that I respond, "If the calculator gives all the answers, then what's wrong with the questions?" Technology isn't going away - we have to embrace it and learn how use it to better show students the “whys” and “hows” of mathematics – not just the answers. Only then will we begin to redefine “traditional mathematics teaching.”

Tags: Mathematics, Mathematics Education, Technology, NCTM