Technology must partner not serve mathematics learning

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Monday, 16 Aug 2010

For immediate release Monday August 16 2010

Technology must partner not serve mathematics learning

Digital technology should be a partner to learning mathematics rather than a servant by becoming a substitute for work done with a pencil and paper according to a University of Queensland academic.

In her address to the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) annual conference in Melbourne on Monday, Professor Merrilyn Goos will discuss the ways in which research, classroom practice and curriculum policy in the use of digital technologies line up with each other and inform each other.

“For learners, mathematical knowledge is not fixed but fluid, constantly being created as the learners interact with ideas, people and their environment,” Professor Goos says. 

“Technology, when part of the learning environment, can change the nature of school mathematics by engaging students in more active mathematical practices such as experimenting, investigating and problem solving, that bring depth to their learning and encourage them to ask questions rather than only looking for answers.”

Professor Goos argues that there is room for improvement in the in the draft K-10 and senior secondary national curriculum for mathematics as technology appears to be treated as an add-on that replicates by-hand methods of learning.

“Although the technology messages contained in the Australian curriculum – Mathematics do not do justice to what research tells us about effective teaching and learning of mathematics, it is almost inevitable that there are gaps between an intended curriculum and the curriculum enacted by teachers and students in the classroom,” Professor Goos says.

“Many teachers are already using technology effectively to enhance students’ understanding and enjoyment of mathematics. In their hands lies the tasks of enacting a truly futures-oriented curriculum that will prepare students for intelligent, adaptive and critical citizenship in a technology-rich world.”

Merrilyn Goos is Director of the Teaching and Educational Development Institute at the University of Queensland and President of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia.

ACER Research Conference 2010, Teaching Mathematics? Make it count, takes place at the Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne on 16 and 17 August. Further information is available from


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Louise Reynolds – ACER Corporate Communications
Phone: (03) 9277 5582 or 0419 340 058