Ghent University (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 1372-1380
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.0362
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
The meaningful integration of technology in educational practices entails complex instructional design challenges for teachers. Little is known about the processes teachers go through when deciding whether and how to use technology [1]. Recently, researchers started to unpack these decision-making processes by examining teachers’ pedagogical reasoning underlying their technology-mediated practices [2]. Yet, research in this field is sparse [1], and literature signals a need for discipline-specific reasoning studies [2]. In this light, this study explores mathematics teachers’ pedagogical reasoning about using technology in secondary education.

Qualitative research methods guided analysis of open-ended survey data. Mathematics teachers (N=30) described their 3 most-valued technology-supported instructional activities with attention toward the type of tools used, its rationales, the targeted users, and the nature of the activities. 91 instructional activities were analyzed. In addition, to identify factors influencing teachers’ decisions about using technology, teachers were asked to indicate the importance as well as the frequency of consideration of 18 ICT-related lesson planning items. Items refer to either teacher-level factors (e.g., experience with a tool), school-level factors (e.g., ICT-policy guidelines), or region-level factors (e.g., ICT-specific curriculum goals).

Teachers primarily report the use of mathematical action tools (51 % of the activities), in particular, GeoGebra and graphic calculators. Other types of tools were less frequently mentioned: presentation tools (18 %), instructional software (10 %), evaluation tools (9 %), and collaboration tools (0 %). Surprisingly, only in 23 % of the analyzed activities, students were actively using technology during learning. In comparison, teachers describe teacher-centered techno-activities (58 %) and passive student-centered activities (19 %).

Predominantly, mathematics teachers report they value technology tools’ ability to (a) visualize mathematical concepts, and (b) save time during instruction. Moreover, teachers indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic stimulated them to adopt new technology tools in order to, among others, conduct online assessments, teach synchronously online, and record instructional videos.

When selecting particular tools during lesson planning, teachers most frequently base their decisions on:
(a) the added value of a tool for mathematics education,
(b) the ease of use of a technology, and
(c) the tool’s coherence with pedagogy, curriculum goals, and content. Surprisingly, school-level factors are least frequently considered during ICT-related lesson planning.

As this study offers useful insights in the decision-making processes of mathematics teachers, it exemplifies how the lens of pedagogical reasoning can help to further analyze and steer (mathematics) teachers’ implementation of technology in their post-COVID practice.

[1] T. J. Kopcha, K. L. Neumann, A. Ottenbreit-Leftwich, and E. Pitman, “Process over product: the next evolution of our quest for technology integration,” Educ. Technol. Res. Dev., vol. 68, no. 2, pp. 729–749, 2020.
[2] J. E. Hughes, Y. H. Cheah, Y. Shi, and K. H. Hsiao, “Preservice and inservice teachers’ pedagogical reasoning underlying their most-valued technology-supported instructional activities,” J. Comput. Assist. Learn., vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 549–568, 2020.
Pedagogical Reasoning, ICT, Technology Integration, Mathematics Education, Teacher decision making, Secondary Education.