Smart boards - smart teachers? : the case of teaching and learning of algebraic functions : a descriptive study of the use of smart boards in teaching algebraic functions.
This study set out to investigate how the use of a Smart Board impacts on the teaching and learning of algebraic functions. The research took place in a school equipped with Smart Boards in each Mathematics classroom. Data collection involved lesson observations in three classes over three lessons each. The teachers and learners were interviewed post observation and the data obtained were analysed according to Sfard‘s three-phase model framework to determine if the learners had a procedural or object view of a function after having been taught on a Smart Board. The findings show that by using a Smart Board learners had both procedural and object view of functions however, much of the teaching occurred in a way which would have been possible without the use of a Smart Board, indicating that teachers did not fully utilise the potential of such a technological tool. However, it emerged that visualisation played an important role in allowing learners to operate on functions as objects. So while the visualization that technology enables encouraged reification or allowed teachers and learners to operate on functions as a whole or even on families of functions, this appeared simply to 'speed up‘ the normal teaching-learning process rather than promote the explorative and investigative aspect of learning. Still, it must be acknowledged that this kind of practice is bound to strengthen these learners‘ function concepts as was evident in the ways they appeared to operate confidently on the objects as shown in the study. It must be acknowledged that teachers were extremely enthusiastic about the possibilities of the technology and were inspired to use technology more in their lessons to allow learners‘ visualisation of concepts. Positive comments made by learners showed that they too, were also motivated by the use of the Smart Board.