Preparing to Teach Mathematics with Technology – Examining Student Practices

Allison McCulloch
Associate Professor, Mathematics Education
University of North Carolina Charlotte

To be equipped to pursue a STEM-related career, students need strong mathematical preparation. Research shows that engaging students in meaningful mathematical tasks and capitalizing on available technological tools improves attitudes towards mathematics and increases learning (Cheung & Slavin, 2013; Ellington, 2003). The degree to which technology use will enhance students’ learning depends on teachers’ decisions in the design and implementation of meaningful tasks. These decisions are informed by teachers’ knowledge of mathematics, technology, and pedagogy. The intersection of these forms of knowledge has been identified as technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). Niess (2005) has articulated four components of TPACK: 1) an overarching conception of what it means to teach a particular subject integrating technology in the learning; 2) knowledge of instructional strategies and representations for teaching particular topics with technology; 3) knowledge of students’ understandings, thinking, and learning with technology in a specific subject; and 4) knowledge of curriculum and curriculum materials that integrate technology with learning in the subject area. It is the third component that is the focus of this project.

Guiding Question:
In what ways will video-enhanced materials support Mathematics Teacher Educators (MTEs) working with prospective secondary mathematics teachers (PSMTs) to learn how to notice students’ mathematical thinking when working on technology-based algebraic tasks?

1. Design eight curriculum modules for undergraduate mathematics education students to examine secondary students’ mathematical practices when engaging with technology-based algebra tasks. Outcomes: Eight classroom-ready modules of proven effectiveness made available freely on the existing project web-portal. Materials include video cases of secondary students’ work on technology-based algebraic tasks.
2. Conduct a research study to examine PSMTs’ development related to understandings of students’ technology-based algebraic practices. Outcomes: A framework for teacher noticing in technology-mediated learning environments and rich descriptions of PSMTs’ sense making in the context of analyzing students’ technology-based algebraic practices. We have disseminated 27 peer reviewed articles and 26 peer reviewed presentations to date.
3. Expand and support the Technology Using Mathematics Teacher Educator (TUMTE) community through professional learning opportunities. Outcomes: Hold pre-conference workshops at Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators in 2023 and 2024 for at least 20 TUMTEs, send bi-annual newsletters to the TUMTE network, and disseminate the materials widely through social network promotions, conference presentations, and workshops.

Broader Impacts:
We are continuing to grow and support a community of TUMTEs at other universities through professional learning workshops and the distribution of our materials on the free project web-portal. Over 400 MTEs are registered users of the web-portal, representing institutions across the US. The 250+ MTEs that have participated in project workshops have prepared over 6000 PSMTs using the project materials. Strong preparation of secondary mathematics teachers is needed to support future generations of students prepared to enter STEM fields. By ensuring teachers are prepared to anticipate and draw upon students’ understandings in technological contexts, improving their use of technology tools in mathematics classroom, we can better prepare students to pursue STEM careers.


Jennifer Lovett, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN; Charity Cayton, East Carolina University; Hollylynne Lee, NC State University, Raleigh, NC; Nina Bailey, University of North Carolina Charlotte, Charlotte, NC ,