Technology must be embraced for the teaching of science and mathematics.
This is the word from Annie Kgosi, an academic at Mancosa, who says that, with the challenges associated with Covid-19 and its teaching and learning constraints, mathematics teaching at Mancosa has transitioned to move from face-to-face delivery to online delivery.
“Mancosa developed new approaches for mathematics teaching that are the ICT-based mode; the blended delivery mode that comprises online teaching materials and instructor-delivered content; and the virtual mode including online delivery and collaborative learning.
“We have adapted to new online resources that include Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google platforms. Other resources are video clips on YouTube, webinars, Voice Over – PowerPoint presentations, smart boards (i.e., smart touch screens), iPads, tablets, laptop computers, high-tech mathematical applications such as GeoGebra and Geoboards and low-tech mathematical applications like a scientific calculator and simulator,” says Kgosi.
She says the virtual and blended delivery modes encouraged students to develop collaborative teams in small breakaway rooms where they can share ideas and learn from each other.
“These platforms enable students to do research in mathematics education and provide them with opportunities to engage in mathematical applications such as GeoGebra and use of the calculator and YouTube videos to navigate some of the mathematical concepts and topics.
“When students engage on social platforms, there is also the opportunity to build a mathematics community and guide our students into the 21st century and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which allows them to master technology and use it to their learning ability,” she says.
Kgosi adds that digital technology at Mancosa promotes also offers teachers the opportunity to transform teaching and learning from traditional to modern and advanced teaching methods.
“Thanks to guided discovery and direct teaching in our mathematics classes or on virtual platforms, teachers need increased access to and reliance on technology for continuous professional development (CPD), as some have not grown up with technology. Subsequently, teachers should take the initiative to familiarise themselves with the new technological resources and use the digital tools available to them.
“There are always new opportunities because technology continues to evolve and is dynamic. There are also new opportunities to learn from co-workers, peers, and students. Therefore, a platform for new opportunities that could involve engagement with students will always be possible as mathematics education as a discipline continues to evolve as research develops,” she says.
Kgosi adds that, in a country that is low-tech and data-poor, the promotion of highly designed and developed scientific calculators should be considered for the use of learning mathematics. Teachers can also use projectors to teach their learners and present some of their mathematics concepts and skills. Learners can also access some of the mathematics concepts using their phone whenever data is available.