Preservice Teachers' Beliefs about the Nature of Mathematics and Effective Use of Information and Communication Technology
Information and Communication Technology , Preservice Teachers , Interactive Whiteboards , Mathematics Education
The purpose of this mixed methods study was to document and examine the beliefs held by preservice elementary teachers prior to entering a teacher education program concerning the nature of mathematics and their perceptions about the effective use of information and communication technology (ICT) for mathematics instruction. Through an online questionnaire (N=132) followed by interviews of purposefully selected respondents (n=8), the following questions were addressed: (1) What beliefs do preservice elementary mathematics teachers hold upon entering teacher education programs regarding the nature of mathematics? (2) What beliefs do preservice elementary mathematics teachers hold upon entering teacher education programs about how ICT should be used in the classroom? and (3) How do preservice elementary mathematics teachers’ beliefs about the nature of mathematics relate to their views about the use of ICT in teaching mathematics? Video-elicitation was used in the interviews to determine how respondents perceived various uses of interactive whiteboards. Respondents were grouped based on their beliefs about the nature of mathematics and their reactions to the videos that they were shown. It was discovered that interview respondents who held contrasting views about the nature of mathematics also held differing beliefs about teaching and learning as well as the benefits of ICT. Respondents who saw mathematics as a set of fixed naturally occurring rules, an Absolutist view, favoured teacher directed use of ICT to support the transmission of knowledge. On the other hand, those who viewed mathematics as a human construct, a Fallibilist image, were more in favour of ICT use to support student mathematics investigation and talk. The existence of a potential hidden curriculum was also discovered. Although all interview participants were shown the same videos, respondents in the two groups perceived roles of the teacher and students in the videos that were aligned with their beliefs about the nature of mathematics and teaching and learning.