The use of technology enhanced learning in Mathematics

Ciarán Mac an Bhaird, Ann O’Shea

National University of Ireland Maynooth

We will discuss the implementation and benefits of technology enhanced learning to mathematics education in Ireland.  Technology has an important role to play in dealing with the crisis in mathematics education.  We will describe the extent to which we engage with technology in the provision of mathematics support in the National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM) and present the feedback we have on the advantagesdisadvantages of such methods.  First year mathematics ‘at-risk’ students are signed up to an online mathematics proficiency course.  The course contains weekly text, video materials and a quiz on different topics.  Feedback from students is very positive, in particular it highlights the importance being able to access support material at any time and studying at a pace that suits them.  To supplement these courses there are follow up workshops for students who still have difficulties.  Students email the tutor with questions they would like covered, this reduces the embarrassment such students often suffer in asking questions in class.  In the workshops the touchscreen technology ‘Sympodium’ is used to present the material.  The tutor saves and posts the classnotes online each week and relevant online links are also added to the material.  Student feedback on this system is very encouraging; in particular they say they gain much more understanding from these classes as there is no pressure to write down the notes, this allows them to listen and take time to think about the material and ask questions. We will conclude with a brief description of other projects.  Screencasts are being developed to give context to the mathematics covered at second level.  Podcasts are being developed to accompany current paper-based resources.  The long-term goal is to have a complete range of material available to students so they can access the media which best suits their learning type.

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