Fall 2008     Math 5365 (CRN 15384) Technology in the Mathematics Classroom

  August 25, 2008     ¡BIENVENIDOS (WELCOME)!      fall 2008 term

Credit Hours: 3-0    Course Fee: N/A


Description:  An introduction to technology used in mathematics education such as graphing calculators, computer algebra systems, course specific software and the use of the internet, and exploration of its appropriate and effective use in the mathematics classroom. 

proposed description:  Introduction to appropriately choosing, using and evaluating technology for the secondary mathematics classroom, informed by the mathematics education literature.  Exploration of technologies such as:  graphing calculators, data collection devices, spreadsheet software, probability & statistics software, dynamic geometry software, computer algebra systems, and resources on the Internet.


Objectives: Students will gain/strengthen familiarity with major types of technology used in today’s mathematics classroom (especially at the secondary level) as well as explore, analyze critically, and discuss issues, tradeoffs, pitfalls, and logistics associated with this use.   Students will strengthen their ability to integrate technology thoughtfully into their own classroom teaching and assessment, informed by the literature.  Students will gain a sense of current trends, research, issues and controversies involving technology.  The TEKS says students need to be able to use technology (including, but not limited to, calculators with graphing capabilities, data collection devices, and computers) to model and solve meaningful problems and to do specific things like use regression methods available through technology to describe various models for data such as linear, quadratic, exponential, etc., select the most appropriate model, and use the model to interpret information.  Also, the SBEC standards and National Board for Professional Teaching Standards require that the mathematics teacher understands and uses technology appropriately.  And finally, in addition to increasing competence with currently available technology, students will increase their ability to navigate and evaluate unfamiliar existing technologies so that they will be better prepared to navigate and evaluate thoughtfully technologies that do not yet exist.



When: each MW 5-6:20 (except for holidays like Sept. 1).  The scheduled final exam meeting will be on Monday, December 8 at 5 pm.

Where: Bell 130A (eating is okay in Bell 130A if it’s not distracting/messy, but is not

allowed in the computer lab, which we’ll use during certain parts of class time).


Instructor:  Assoc. Prof. Dr. Larry Lesser (rhymes with “professor”, spelled like “<”)  

I began teaching in 1988, and I’ve also worked in Texas as a state agency statistician and as a full-time high school teacher & department chair!  I’ve given presentations at ICTCM and T3 conferences and written math ed articles involving technology for journals such as Mathematics Teacher (e.g., May 1999, Jan. 2006, and Jan. 2007 issues), Spreadsheet User (Nov. 1997), Technological Horizons in Education Journal (Feb. 1998), and Statistics Teacher Network (Winter 2004).  More info and resources are at:    www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/.  (FYI:  from there, click on “SCHEDULE” and you can access this syllabus if you ever lose yours or want to explore the links directly). 


How to reach me:  my official Bell Hall 213 office hours will start as MW 3-3:30, MW 4:30-4:55 & by appointment (although please feel free to try dropping by without one for quick questions—I’m around a lot and mi oficina es su oficina); also, I’m usually available for at least a few minutes right after class and during intra-class “break times”; additional hours and one-time or long-term changes will be announced and/or posted; in addition, you can always feel free to ask or leave me questions by phone (747-6845; SIR-OUIJA) or email (Lesser (at) utep.edu) anytime. It’s my job and privilege to serve you and provide guidance so no need for you to wait a week until our next class meeting to get a question answered.  (In fact, I may send an email to the whole class in between certain meetings to offer additional information or resources.) For your protection, emailed inquiries about confidential information such as grades must be from your UTEP account and accompanied by your 800 number.


Required Textbook and Materials:  The required text is the 2005 NCTM Yearbook:  Technology-supported mathematics learning environments, W. J. Masalski (Ed.). Reston, VA: NCTM.   ISBN 0-87353-569-3.  The book comes with a CD that includes link-filled articles and trial versions of cool software.  Because no single book exists that completely covers all of the goals and technologies of the course, we will supplement this book with handouts, individual articles, online resources and demonstrations. 

The official course calculator you’re expected to have with you is a TI-84/83+ graphing calculator, which is the most common model in secondary school classrooms and will be what is used in many in-class explorations and assignments.  There are websites to help you get the most out of your calculator, such as:  Guidebooks and www.geocities.com/calculatorhelp/.  (Do two one-time things with it: (1) hit 2nd à CATALOG à DiagnosticOnàEnter; (2) go to APPS, activate CtlgHelp, and learn how to use it.)  At least one person in your group should make sure he/she has the ability to do things like send screenshots from your TI-83/84 to a computer, which is made possible with: education.ti.com/educationportal/sites/US/productDetail/us_ti_connectivity_kit.html

Grades:  determined by the usual cutoffs of 90, 80, 70, 60, based on these parts:

Projects (50%):  these include labs, papers, reflections, article reviews, or chapter

presentations (see resources for giving oral presentations); many of these will be done in teams; by SACS rules, some of these will be required only for those in the graduate course. All assignments must be word processed with double-spacing and a standard 12-point font (e.g., Times New Roman), checked for spelling/grammar, and have any appropriate output/graphics electronically pasted into the document.  Exercises/sections should be clearly marked, assembled in order, and stapled (not put into a folder or sleeve) with a meaningfully-titled identification coversheet on top.

Lesson Module (25%):  a lesson or unit that thoughtfully integrates technology for a

particular course and grade level; at a late April class meeting, you will turn in a writeup (guidelines will be provided in advance) and present a micro-teaching demonstration for the class;

Final (25%):  it will assess your ability to use/interpret technology as well as address

pedagogical issues; details will be provided in advance; bring your TI-83/84+

Attendance:  Subject to modification if required by UTEP policy, your final course average will have 2 – 3U – E points added to it, where U = “number of unexcused absences” and E = “number of excused absences.”  This reflects how crucial participation and attendance are for this kind of interactive, beyond-the-book course, but without penalizing someone who has only 1 or 2 (excused) absences. 


Attendance:  Attendance is required and taken each meeting using a sign-in sheet (which is your responsibility to make sure you sign), and is very important considering that we meet only once a week and much of this course involves beyond-the-book group activities or discussions that are virtually impossible to recreate on one’s own.  The instructor may count late arrival, early departure, or blatant nonparticipation as a half-absence or even a full absence, depending on what is missed.  If you miss an exam without a documented strong excuse (e.g., a doctor’s note) relayed to me at the earliest opportunity, the score will be a 0. In general (out of fairness and logistics), late work will not be accepted, and may be subject to a penalty in the rare case that it is. 

It’s your responsibility to….

(1) Sign the attendance sheet each day you attend

(2) Let me know by email (Lesser@utep.edu) or voicemail (747-6845) or daytime math dept. fax (747-6502) at the earliest opportunity if you have a situation which may affect a test, major assessment deadline, or multiple regular class meetings.  

(3) Give me a written note or email by the 15th day of the semester (Mon, Sept. 15) if you will have absence for religious holy days (which are excused, of course).  

(4) Give me a written note or email at the earliest opportunity if you are or may be called to military service and/or training during the course of the semester.

(5) Have a classmate give you copies of notes, handouts and announcements if you miss a class; write down at least 2 classmates’ contact information right here for this purpose:


classmate #1 name_____________________ phone_____________ email____________


classmate #2 name_____________________ phone_____________ email____________


As the UTEP Catalog says, “When in the judgment of the instructor, a student has been absent to such a degree as to impair his or her status relative to credit for the course, the instructor may drop the student from the class with a grade of “W” before the course drop deadline [October 31] and with a grade of “F” after the course drop deadline.”  To be specific, having 3 or more unexcused absences may result in an instructor-initiated drop.  On a positive note, excellent attendance can actually improve your grade, as you can see by the formula under “Grades.”


Professionalism and Civility:   Along with basic standards of civility and citizenship (e.g., “Student Conduct” and “Disruptive Acts Policy” in the UTEP Catalog), students in this course are required to exhibit professionalism and to support a constructive, collegial, collaborative classroom culture where critique is focused respectfully on the intellectual merit of a position, not on the person expressing it.  You are also expected to use great discretion with cell phones and pagers during class time—if you are truly expecting an urgent call, please let me know and sit near the door to minimize disruption (and have your phone on “vibrate” instead of loud music, and have it handy so you don’t have to dig through a backpack for it).  .  Or you could give your family member or child care provider the phone number for the Bell Hall ACES lab station: 747-8814 (it’s open until 8pm).   That way, you can keep your phone off during class, knowing that staff can quickly get you for a true emergency.

Finally, be open to opportunities for further sharing and professional growth.  For example, consider attending or helping with the COE ABC conference September 27 (http://eduprojects.utep.edu/tne/index.php?option=com_philaform&Itemid=29&form_id=3), the annual GEPCTM fall conference (Oct. 18 at EPCC Transmountain; www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/gepctm.html), the UTEP COE annual fall research symposium (in Nov.), the COE’s BEEMS conference (in March), the COE Summer Research Conference (in July).  Also, encourage K-12 students to enter the ASA Poster Competitions (by April 1): www.amstat.org/education/index.cfm?fuseaction=k12.  And consider joining (at affordable student rates!) math ed professional organizations at the local (GEPCTM), state (TCTM), or national levels (NCTM or ASA).


Academic Integrity:  As teachers, you especially appreciate that cheating, plagiarism and collusion in dishonest activities are serious acts which erode the university’s purpose and integrity and cheapen the learning experience for us all. Don’t resubmit work completed for other classes without specific acknowledgment and permission from me.  It is expected that work you submit will represent your own effort (or your own group’s effort, if it is a group project), will not involve copying from or accessing unauthorized resources or people (e.g., from a previous year’s class).  You must cite references that you do consult, using APA style (American Psychological Association, 5th edition) with complete citations even for websites and people you consult: http://libraryweb.utep.edu/db/citing.cfm.   Violations of the UTEP policy (http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=23785) may lead to disciplinary action from the Dean of Students (see course #20004 at compliance.utep.edu/training/reviewing.aspx).

For Group Work:  Within a group, members are allowed to divide up subsets of the project for which individuals will take the initial responsibility for coordinating efforts, but it is assumed that by the time a group turns in a writeup that all members have read, discussed, and understand all parts of what is being turned in.  Group members may even discuss general ideas and strategies with members of other groups, but NOT share parts of actual written work.  At a minimum, to be safe, put away all written notes and writing materials and recording devices before having any intergroup conversations.  And if you still see a “gray area,” play it safe and ask the instructor!


Disabilities: If you have or believe you have a disability that will require accommodations or modifications, you may wish to self-identify by contacting the Disabled Student Services Office (DSSO; 747-5148; East Union Building room 106; dss@utep.edu; www.utep.edu/dsso/) to show documentation or register for testing and services.  DSSO will ask you to discuss needed accommodations with me within the first 2 weeks of the semester or as soon as disability is known, and at least 5 working days before an exam.  You are responsible for making sure I receive any DSS accommodation letters and instructions.  DSSO provides note taking, sign language, interpreter, reader and/or scribe services, priority registration, adaptive technology, diagnostic testing for learning disabilities, assistance with learning strategies/tutoring, alternative testing location and format, and advocacy.  Information provided to DSSO is kept confidential.


English Language Learners:  As a member of TODOS and Project LEAP-UP, I want to be responsive to the learning needs of all of my students, including those whose native or strongest language is not English.  To this end, I try to follow recommendations from the literature such as visual or kinesthetic learning, multiple representations, connections to etymology and everyday language, think-pair-share, wait time, scaffolding, advance organizers, real-world and cultural connections, questioning strategies, and group work.  Please let me know if you think of additional ways I might be able to support your learning and feel free to come up and ask me to clarify wording on a test question or to repeat, rephrase or illustrate important ideas in class discussion that go by very quickly. (Think of class as a basketball game where each class has an allotment of 1-minute or 20-second “timeouts” for this purpose.) 


TOPICS:  Topics covered will be drawn from the following (subject to refinement or modification by the instructor to take into account interests, backgrounds, resource availability, logistics, scheduling/sequencing issues, and balance between depth and breadth):

* Overview:  the “Technology Principle” of the NCTM Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (if you’re not a member, get free 120-day access to the full document: standardstrial.nctm.org/triallogin.asp); a brief summary is:


related chapters from our textbook: Prologue, 1, 9, 23, 20

* Internet(applets, calculators, manipulatives, simulations, etc.) illuminations.nctm.org/    nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/vlibrary.html      www.socr.ucla.edu  www.shodor.org/interactivate/tools/         http://mathdl.maa.org/mathDL/47/

related chapters from our textbook: 2, 4, 13, 15, 16, 17

* Spreadsheets (e.g., Microsoft Excel)    www.baycongroup.com/el0.htm        

office.microsoft.com/en-us/FX010858001033.aspx   www.usd.edu/trio/tut/excel/

related chapters from our textbook: 11, 12

* Graphing Calculators (e.g., TI-84+) and/or GC-based laboratories (CBL-2, CBR), sensors or probes; education.ti.com/educationportal/           www.calculator.com





resources and downloads for APPS, see:


Guidebooks (User Manuals) and Apps (Applications), etc. available at http://education.ti.com/educationportal/sites/US/sectionHome/download.html



for a computer to “emulate” your calculator: www.ticalc.org/programming/emulators/

also, check out GraphCalc in Bell Hall lab

check out the “Technology Tips” article in the August 2004 Mathematics Teacher

related chapters from our textbook: 3 and 21

* DGS: Dynamic Geometry Software (e.g., Geometer’s Sketchpad (GSP), Cabri-Geometry)   www.keypress.com/sketchpad/



related chapters from our textbook: 6, 7, 8, 10, 18, 19

* Probability/Statistics software (e.g., Excel, Minitab, Probability Explorer, Fathom, Tinkerplots): www.probexplorer.com/


www.statcrunch.com/   and   www.causeweb.org/webinar/2006-02/

www.keypress.com/x5656.xml   or    www.keypress.com/x5715.xml

For introduction to Fathom, see pp. 598-603 in Nov. 2003 Mathematics Teacher

You may be interested in some of the options to demo, rent or buy Minitab at

www.e-academy.com/minitab or in the tutorials at www.minitab.com/resources/tutorials/default.asp

related chapter from our textbook: 5

* CAS: Computer Algebra System (software with symbolic manipulation capability, such as Mathematica, Maple, MathCad, Derive; calculators such as TI-89, TI-92, Voyage 200); some packages such as Mathematica have student and precollege school versions                              en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_algebra_system

www.wolfram.com/       en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_computer_algebra_systems

related chapter from our textbook: 1



* various other topics/resources (based on interest and time available) may be chosen from:

Computer Assisted Instruction (giving students programmed exercises and feedback),

Collaborative software (e.g., GoogleDocs, MeetingWizard),

Using technology to assess students, moodle, Blackboard/WebCT, TI-nSpire, TI-Navigator, TI-SmartView, making course webpage resources, doing class surveys online (e.g., www.surveymonkey.com/), class wikis (www.pbwiki.com, www.wetpaint.com, www.wikispaces.com), podcasts, chat tools, blogs, Camtasia, SmartBoard, Tablet PC, classroom response systems (e.g.,www.turningtechnologies.com/), technology for classroom presentations, GeoGebra, Google Reader, research literature on technology in teaching mathematics, other chapters from our textbook (14, Personal Digital Assistants;  17, laptops; 22, Geographic Information Systems), mathforum.org/mathtools/, calculator emulator software

el.media.mit.edu/logo-foundation/logo/ (example of a “microworld”), www.simcalc.umassd.edu/software/, www.pacifict.com/Products.html.


tech support from UTEP Instructional Support Services: http://academics.utep.edu/iss

or from campus workshops (e.g., http://academics.utep.edu/Portals/387/TI-85.swf)

on topics such as graphing calculators occasionally offered by the

Tutoring and Learning Center (2nd floor of Library) or by ACES

Conferences/groups:   archives.math.utk.edu/ICTCM/    www.aw-bc.com/ictcm/index.shtml   mathforum.org/mathed/tech.mathed.html     www.t3ww.org/     www.casioeducation.com/

Journals:   http://repositories.cdlib.org/uclastat/cts/tise/



http://www.auburn.edu/research/litee/jstem/      http://www.citejournal.org/

http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JTE/          http://jolt.merlot.org/

Mathematics Teacher “Technology Tips” columns