The implications of the use of computers for mathematics education

Siu Cheung KONG, Kin Ping LEUNG, Chi Keung Eddie LEUNG, Yiu Kwong MAN, Yui Kin NG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

One key element in changing societies is the advent and the use of computers. Computers are ubiquitous nowadays. There is no exception for education. The explorations of using computer packages like Mathematica, Maple V, and Cabri-Geometre in mathematics education have been reported in various Mathematics Education Journals. The applications of software to teach primary and secondary mathematics are also found in conferences. These developments indicate that it is time for us to investigate the potential of applying computer technology in mathematics education and the implications for our aims of mathematics education. Two of our speakers, Mr. Kong and Mr. Leung, will choose Exel as a software for exploration in this conference. The reasons for choosing Excel have twofold: 1. Almost all schools in Hong Kong have licensed Excel copies; and 2. Excel has both computational and graphical capabilities which formulate great potential for teaching crucial mathematical notions and can serve as tools for mathematical exploration. Kong and Eeung will demonstrate how Excel can be used for the teaching of the statistical notions of central tendency and deviation and as the exploration tool for solving arithmetic problems. Dr. Man will discuss how Maple V, one of the modern symbolic computer softwares, can be used in teaching primary mathematics topics, such as finding prime numbers, greatest common divisors, least common multiples, etc. He will also demonstrate how to use Maple' s worksheet structure to prepare notes or examples for discussion purposes in class. Besides, if time is permitted, he will also try to demonstrate how one can make use of Maple' s graphical abilities in teaching some chosen topics in the current primary mathematics curriculum. After the exploration of using computer packages in teaching and learning mathematics, Mr. Ng will discuss the implications of the use of computers for the mathematics education: Is it possible for computers to reproduce the achievements of human mathematicians? Should we still insist that mathematics education must be a core subject in secondary and primary schools? Would the traditional justifications for mathematics education still be tenable in the light of the ample use of computers?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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Citation

Kong, S. C., Leung, K. P., Leung, C. K. E., Man, Y. K., & Ng, Y. K. (1996, November). The implications of the use of computers for mathematics education. Symposium conducted at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) 13th Annual Conference: Restructuring Schools in Changing Societies, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.