The Federal Department of Education has just come out with a commissioned report: Research into Best Practice Models for the use of digital technologies in mathematics teaching and learning. There are four summary videos (no separate links) and one-pager summaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), and the report itself. We’ve watched the videos and read the summaries and skimmed the Report, and we can’t be bothered. We can’t even bother WitCHing it. Readers may be interested, however, and may wish to comment.
Since we wrote about AI and ChatGPT a few months ago there have been another billion columns on the stuff, including an Australian opinion piece a couple weeks ago by ACARA CEO, David de Carvalho (freely available here). De Carvalho’s is by no means the worst, and in ways it is good. Still, De Carvalho’s op-ed is pretty foolish, and De Carvalho is our fool. We feel obligated to note some things in response.
Yes, the “if any” is implicit. Unlike our recent Who Should People Read post, this one is not intended to produce a list of “useful resources”. Rather, akin to this post, it is a challenge to come up with anything. But first, a story. Continue reading “What Are the Proper Uses of “Technology” in the School Mathematics Classroom?”
So far, there have been about a million columns written on ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that was launched a couple months ago. About half a million of these columns have been devoted to predictions on ChatGPT’s implications for education, both in schools and universities. Many of the columns have been fearful, but a few are bright-eyed, talking up the Brave New Possibilities that ChatGPT will offer, and will demand. Continue reading “Into the Voigt of ChatGPT”
To be more precise, what does “digital technology” mean and, precisely as possible, how is Digital Technology X used in Year Y of schooling? If you confused, then why not find out more about this here.
It is now impossible, of course, to write a document on education without genuflecting to the God of Technology. The repetitious chanting of “technology”, like a wired Tibetan monk, is the way people with no sense of the past or the present indicate how hip they are with the future. But, what do they mean? What technology are they talking about? It is a serious question, of which we only vaguely know the answer. We want help.
Of course by “technology”, the Education Experts are never intending to refer to something like blackboards and chalk. They would not even recognise such primitive devices as products of technology, although of course they are. No, what the EE mean by “technology” is electronic devices, mostly computers and computer programs, and preferably devices that are internetted. So, calculators and electronic whiteboards and Mathletics and Reading Eggs and iPads, and so forth.
The question is, precisely how are these devices used in specific classrooms? For example, are calculators used in Year 5 to perform arithmetic calculations, or to check calculations that have been done by hand? Is Mathletics used in Year 7 to teach ideas or to test knowledge and/or skills?
The same question applies to all subjects. Are word processors used in Year 6 to check and/or teach spelling and grammar? Are iPads used in Year 8 to check the definitions of words?
We want to know as much as possible, and as specifically as possible, what electronic gizmos are being used, and with whom and how.
Well, sort of. Since 2010, France has already banned mobile phones from classrooms; what is controversial is the French proposal to ban mobiles from schools entirely. So, countries like England and Australia are only actively considering what France has accepted without question for years.
We talk about trying to stimulate STEM education in our schools … it seems quite bizarre that we’re talking about banning the most obvious forms of technology at our disposal.
Dr Joanne Orlando, an “expert on children and technology” at UWS is also against any such ban. Responding to government comments, Dr. Orlando responds that
it takes us a few years back from all the work we are doing in education and training … There are so many new ways that mobile devices can add to the classroom.
Thank God for experts.