TECHNOLOGY AS A MEANS TO DIFFERENTIATE PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS’ MATHEMATICAL CREATIVITY
University of Cyprus (CYPRUS)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Contemporary societal growth demands from citizens to develop long-term, transferable skills, in order to confront unknown and complex situations. The development of creative thinking, as well as the implementation of technological tools are considered among the essential skills that an individual should be engaged for personal and professional development (Wheeler, Waite & Bromfield, 2002). However, a limited number of research studies investigated the interweaving of technology and creativity (Wheeler, Waite & Bromfield, 2002).These studies reached conflicting results (Clements, 1995). On the one hand it was found that computers support only non-creative thinking and production, due to their mechanistic and algorithmic characteristics, and the other that computers are considered valuable tools of creative production (Clements, 1995). Therefore, the present study attempts to shed some light to this area by focusing in the domain of mathematics. Specifically, the purpose of the present study is to investigate whether the integration of technology improves prospective teachers’ creativity. Furthermore, prospective teachers’ perceptions about the relationship of technology and creativity are examined.
Forty two prospective teachers, divided in two equal groups, participated in the study. Regarding the first aim of the study, the quantity and quality of prospective teachers’ solutions (fluency, flexibility, originality) in two mathematical tasks with and without the use of technology were compared. The first group of participants was asked to solve first the tasks in written form and a month later this group was asked to solve the same tasks using appropriate applets. The second group of participants completed the tests in reverse order: first they filled in the test with the use of technology and after a month without the use of technology. The results of the study revealed that irrespective of the order in which the two groups completed the two types of tests, prospective teachers’ answers were quantitative and qualitative more efficient when participants were working with technological tools.The integration of technology increased participants’ correct solutions (fluency), enhanced the appearance of different mathematical ideas in their solutions (flexibility) and increased their originality.
Regarding the second aim of the study, semi-structured interviews were conducted. Prospective teachers claimed that the use of technology is related to the development of creative thinking. In questions aiming to explore the way in which technology supports the development of creative thinking, participants referred to the visualisation of mathematical concepts, the provision of instant feedback, interactivity, and computation as aspects of technology that facilitate the production of creative ideas.
The findings of the study are in line with a number of previous studies, which argue that technology provides opportunities for the manifestation of creative expression and is a facilitator for the creative production (Clements, 1995; Wheeler, Waite & Bromfield, 2002). Further implications of the results in the field of education are discussed.
 Clements, D. (1995). Teaching Creativity with Computers. Educational Psychology Review 7(2), pp. 141-161.
 Wheeler, S., Waite, S. J., & Bromfield, C. (2002). Promoting creative thinking through the use of ICT. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 18, pp. 367-378.
Keywords: Technology, creativity, prospective teachers.