Ontario Tech University
EdTech uses technology to enhance teacher instruction to help improve students’ education outcomes (Frankenfield, 2021). It is a promising stage in education because it assists with customizing the curriculum for students’ ability to learn and to ensure that students can learn what they understand the most—the reason why. The introduction of Edtech lessons came to be because of their potential. As teachers try to educate students on the entire curriculum and ensure that all students are learning is a complicated task because not all students work at the same pace. Technology unfolds rich opportunities for students to succeed in their learning. Many game elements (gamification) and activities help keep students engaged, making the curriculum less boring. Math is a subject students tend to learn rotely because of how complicated the content is or because of how much they dislike the subject. Edtech lessons could solve the problem of students learning rotely and maybe change them to learning with better understanding.
Edtech, curriculum, rotely, technology, gamification
As technology advances, it is essential that classrooms also successfully look for ways to integrate technology to help keep students engaged. When technology is not integrated into lessons, educators will not see opportunities to improve student outcomes, nor will they meet the expectations of students who are accustomed to using technology (Amirault, 2012). Technology is engaging because of students’ chances to fill in the gaps between their technology-accustomed lives in traditional classrooms (Downes & Bishop, 2012). Technological tools and applications create more opportunities for authentic learning experiences, which is how students find more relevancy in their studies. Gamification is another way for students to remain interested in what they learn. Gamification can be defined as incorporating game elements into web applications to increase student engagement (Terrill, 2008). When gamifying an application, elements are used to help motivate students, which helps students develop a whole new strategy for learning.
Background Information – Literature Review
In Mathematical education, classes must embed meaningful elements. Meaningful elements are crucial because, within the mathematical learning environment, the stimulation of student learning needs to occur for students to be motivated to stay tuned to learn Math (Polman et al., 2019). Meaningful learning improves students’ motivation and learning since they will connect the lesson to their everyday lives. There are five elements to meaningful learning.
- Meaningful learning is active: The learners actively engage in a meaningful task. A meaningful task is when students manipulate objects and parameters that are part of the learning environment. In a math classroom, we see students moving manipulatives around or highlighting keywords to help break down the problem.
- Meaningful learning is constructive: Learners experiment with new experiences during this process. Learners construct simple mental models to be able to observe or reflect on what they have learned. Through complex experiences, students get to reason more and develop their knowledge or understanding. In a math classroom, these would be more application or thinking-type questions. So, students construct their knowledge and use it whenever applicable.
- Meaningful learning is intentional: Students learn according to their goals or intentions. As they try to achieve a goal, learners are active and willing to learn more since they must reach the end goal. When learners can communicate what they have learned, they understand the lesson and can use their knowledge. In Math class, the students’ end goal is to solve a problem and arrive at an end solution.
- Meaningful learning is authentic: Authentic learning is the most important because students are more interested in learning. They can take what they learn and use it for anything relevant outside school. Learning fails in math because students learn to understand the algorithmic procedures, but they have no idea how to relate the ideas to real-world context questions.
- Meaningful learning is cooperative: In this process, we encourage students to reach out to one another to seek assistance whenever needed and work together to ensure that the work gets done. We do not want learners to work independently; we need to practice working in knowledge-building communities—these communities where everyone will be working. This is an excellent opportunity for students to share their thinking and ways of solving a problem in a math class.
Integrating technology in math enables opportunities for developing problem-solving and collaborative skills that elevate authentic learning experiences. As students receive more technology opportunities, they can customize their learning. Many technological devices and applications are available for students to view content and specialize in a specific area. Students can view videos, use virtual manipulatives, and media to learn at their own pace. Students can follow lessons, quiz themselves using examples like the question, and move on to new lessons.
Initial evidence comes from the province-wide standardized test, EQAO. In recent years, only 61% of grade 3 students are at or above the provincial level; this is a 6% drop from 3 years ago. Conversely, in recent years, only 49% of grade 6 students are at or above the provincial level; this is a 5% decrease from 3 years ago (2019). Due to the drastic drops from 3 years ago, the government of Ontario had to modify the curriculum and ensure that students acquire concepts that contribute to students’ success and future (Goldfinger, 2019). As our provincial results continue to decline, we need to act based on these results. Teachers will deliver the content to students even if the government revamps the curriculum.
One fantastic tool that helps students learn math online is a platform called Khan Academy (2022). Khan Academy provides students with shortened video lessons and examples in video form. Once students understand the video lesson, they can take practice quizzes to ensure they completely understand the concept. The practice quizzes also allow students to earn points before the practice test. This is not a regular Math tool because the application identifies students’ gaps and tailors lessons accordingly. Desmos is another excellent tool for helping students love math by enabling students to visualize graphs. This tool also assists with visualizing and representing mathematical ideas, connecting different representations, making conjectures, and developing new mathematical ideas (Desmos Studio, 2022).
Technological tools and their use are constantly increasing in math. According to Battista (2001), the available tools we have in Math include general tools which are utilized not with a complete connectedness in math (for instance, Quizizz (2022), Kahoot (2022)), then we have tools built explicitly for mathematics (calculators); finally, we have tools that are specifically designed to facilitate students’ learning of mathematics (Geogebra (n.d.), Desmos). The impact of these technological tools includes enhancing mathematical ideas or concepts and methodologies that would assist student learning. Technology provides more opportunities for interaction between mathematical concepts and the natural world as learners seek connections. Mathematical concepts are usually discussed in class when learners use technology because technology gives students a new perspective on math. When listening to teachers educate learners about math, it may seem boring compared to using technology. As a result, discussions arise, and students start discussions to clarify their understanding, construct new ideas, and see things from different perspectives. Technology offers many options for learning mathematical concepts; through videos, games, and interactive whiteboards. Therefore, technology does positively impact students and their learning in math.
Conclusions and Further Recommendations
Time has evolved to the point where traditional methods, teachers lecturing students, need to be transformed into more engaging methods. The use of technology helps students remain engaged because of the rich opportunities it provides. As students use technology in math lessons, they broaden their understanding and perspectives, and this is only possible when it comes to problem-solving and collaborating through technological tools. When students work on math online, there are multiple options, like manipulatives, collaborating spaces, visualization tools, and games to keep students engaged and to ensure that all gaps are filled. One suggestion for educators to be able to incorporate technology in math is by first exploring available tools (Kahoot, Desmos, Blooket (2022), etc.) and modifying them according to the lessons taught. Another objective would be to prepare teachers for the future of more advancing technology. There will be better tools and applications that will assist teachers in educating their students better, and as a result, more training and exposure are required for all teachers.
Amirault, R. J. (2012). Distance learning in the 21st century university. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 13(4), 253–265
Battista, M. T. (2001). Shape makers: A computer environment that engenders students’ construction of geometric ideas and reasoning. Computers in the Schools, 17(1-2), 105- 120. https://doi.org/10.1300/J025v17n01_09
Blooket (2022). Level up classroom engagement. https://www.blooket.com/
Desmos. (n.d.) https://www.desmos.com/about
Downes, J.M., & Bishop, P. (2012, May). Educators engage digital natives and learn from their experiences with technology. Middle School Journal, 43(5), 6-15.
Frankenfield, J. (2021, September 13). EdTech definition and uses. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/edtech.asp
Geogebra. (n.d.). https://www.geogebra.org/?lang=en
Kahoot! (2022). https://kahoot.com/schools-u/
Khan Academy. (2022) https://www.khanacademy.org
Polman, Judith & Hornstra, Lisette & Volman, Monique. (2020). The meaning of meaningful learning in mathematics in upper-primary education. Learning Environments Research. 1-18. 10.1007/s10984-020-09337-8.
Quizzizz (2022). The 100% engagement platform. https://quizizz.com/
Terrill, B. (2008). My coverage of lobby [sic] of the social gaming summit. http://www.bretterrill.com/2008/06/my-coverage-of-lobby-ofsocial-gaming.html.