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Introductory session


Three roles of ICT

In this module we look at three contrasting uses of the computer in mathematics lessons:

  • a 'microworld' to explore
  • a generic 'thinking tool'
  • a didactical tool.

Through planning, implementing and reflecting on lessons using the computer, the role and significance of ICT in mathematics and its relationship to the traditional curriculum are explored.

  • If you are leading a session, or working alone you may wish to print a copy of the module handbook.
  • Session leaders should make copies of the handouts for all participants.

Activity 1

Explore using ICT as a "microworld"

Explore one microworld, referring to the questions on Handout 1. Then discuss your experiences:

  • What mathematical processes and skills are involved?
  • How does the computer contribute to the activity?
  • What other "microworld" activities do you make use of in school?

Activity 2

Reflect on the uses of ICT in your school

Refer to Handout 2 and discuss the following questions:

  • Which microworlds, thinking tools, and didactic tools do you use in mathematics?
  • What relative importance do you give to each of the 3 roles in your lessons?
  • How far do your pupils regard ICT as a natural medium for doing mathematics? (Or is the most powerful mathematical tool still the back of an envelope?)

You may like to watch Rob, Peter and Christine as they discuss the ways they use ICT in their school.

Activity 3

Observe another teacher using ICT

Now watch Rob using Spirolaterals with his class.

  • How does the teacher help pupils engage with the situation?
  • What resources other than computers are made available to pupils? How are these used?
  • What problems do the pupils create?
  • How does the teacher encourage pupils to stop 'playing' and start thinking?
  • What potential can you see for developing mathematics in this lesson?

Later, you may also like to watch Christine as she uses the software Dance moves.

Activity 4

Plan a lesson using ICT

Now it's your turn to plan a lesson using Spirolaterals or Dance Moves. Discuss your answers to the following questions

  • What is the best way to introduce the activity to pupils?
  • How will you ensure that pupils progress from "playing around" to working systematically and recording their thinking?
  • When and how will you enable pupils to share their ideas and strategies?

On Handout 3, you will find some more general suggestions and advice on planning lessons which use ICT. This is the end of the Introductory session. After you have tried out your lesson with your own pupils, return for the Follow-up session . Resources to support the lesson, and a suggested lesson plan, can be found in the Into the classroom session.