I became interested in this research area after experiencing two high schools and their use, and non-use of ICT in mathematics lessons. This was a contrast this with the middle school mathematics department I led where using ICT was part of the scheme of work. The high schools had few mathematics specific programs and did not have a class set of graphics calculators. Access to the school computer rooms were almost impossible with some classes as vocational courses and, in one, humanities took priority. In one, the head of department took little interest in including an expectation that students should use ICT in class or for home work with in the department guidelines. Use of the interactive whiteboard was limited and little use made of programs that required teacher preparation.
The original aim of my research was to look at how ICT is used in mathematics classrooms. Several papers and reports have highlighted the fact that many schools are not making the best use of ICT at all levels of education. Although I originally decided to focus on classes in the middle years of the English education system (Y5 to Y9), as there is less constraint from public examinations, with the exception of Y6 SATs most literature is indicating that there is a different approach to using ICT in primary and secondary phases. I have thus decided on looking at how teachers in secondary schools are using it, particularly those who do so regularly as part of their teaching.
My original intention was to develop some resources and work with teachers, but there have been changes in the area in which I work that have meant that this approach is no longer viable. I have therefore changed my focus which now excludes looking at particular software and teachers' reception to being shown how to use it. I would have chosen to use Grid Algebra (published by ATM), GeoGebra and MSW Logo (both freeware) software and the TI-nspire handheld for the presentations, as they cover different uses of ICT in the classroom and diiferent aspects of the mathematics curriculum. The choice of the two freeware programs eliminates the cost factor and also allows students to have access on home computers, Grid Algebra is a low cost program to assist in teaching of number and algebra while the TI-nspire is a more expensive option but removes the problem of booking a computer suite or laptops.
My current objective is to find how the regular users overcome constraints on improved use of ICT in lessons and to investigate why these teachers use more ICT than others, inspite of these constraints. From initial reading there appears to be two types of constraint, a problem within the physical structure of the department or school (lack of equipment or resources), or is it with teachers (including management at departmental or school level) interest and confidence in the use of ICT. It is the second of these that I will be concentrating on - but looking at the issue from a positive stance. One idea was to look at how ICT training is given to teachers as I predicted that I might find that there is a difference in the attitude and confidence between teachers in-service and those undergoing ITT training. Another idea is to look at the teachers approaches to teaching and how much they are willing to adapt, create, innovate as well as thier confidence with ICT and motivation for using it. This will also include examples of how they have used ICT in their classrooms.
The following page shows order chapters but is still 'work-in-progress'.