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note: From the top of, you can access this syllabus if you misplace yours, want to explore its links, or see any addendums. Syllabus is subject to modification by instructor to meet course needs, especially if there are unexpected disruptions or changes in class size, resources, student backgrounds, etc.


Course Number: MATH 5365-800 (CRN# 26561)  

Course Title: Technology in the Mathematics Classroom

Credit Hours: 3

Term: Spring 2012

Prerequisite:  department approval

Course Fee:  none


Course Meetings & Location: Tuesdays (except March 13) 5-7:50pm in Bell 130A and our “finals week meeting time” is as scheduled by UTEP with any needed interpretation. 

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. The 5-7:50 window includes a 20-minute cushion and the actual timing of breaks will be chosen to accommodate instructional flow.  In the event of a major disruption (e.g., H1N1 epidemic, subzero weather, etc.), be prepared to maintain course progress via alternative means (e.g., phone, Elluminate, Internet, a Blackboard course shell, etc.). Also, be sure to check your email (especially your UTEP address) regularly, especially for announcements in between our weekly meetings.


Instructor:  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), On-Math (2006), IASE/ISI Satellite Conference proceedings (2009) and ICTCM proceedings (2009).  More info and resources are at my homepage.


Office Location:  Bell Hall 213

Contact Info:             Phone:   (915) 747-6845

                        Email  Lesser (at) (please use a specific subject line that

includes: 5365)


Fax: (915) 747-6502 (note: this is a math department fax, so be sure to

have my name clearly on it; be aware that staff are not available to relay faxes to me outside the math dept’s hours of M-F 8-12, 1-5

            Emergency Contact: (915) 747-5761 (during math dept office hours)

Office hours:  initial office hours are Mon 1-1:20, Tues 2:30-3, Wed 1-1:20 and by

appointment; additional office hours or changes will be announced and/or posted later; I will usually be available shortly before and/or after each class meeting and students are also welcome to try stopping by anytime for short questions; for longer questions, students should email me several possible appointment times that would work and I will reply with which option works in my schedule


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  (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.)  Each group should make sure it has the ability to do things like send screenshots from your TI-83/84 to a computer, which is made possible with:

low-tech” clicker (ABCD Card), brought to each class, starting Jan. 25:

(if you don’t have a color printer, print in black-and-white and color it in with the same color scheme at THIS version)


Course 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 and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics require that the mathematics teacher understands and uses technology appropriately.  Frameworks and position statements are offered by AMTE (, NCTM ( and, etc.  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.


Course Activities/Assignments:  Students will participate in in-class activities, demonstrations, discussions, explorations, readings, and assessments.   


Assessment of Course Objectives:  Assessments will include projects and a subset of the following formats:  written reflections, exam, lesson module, mini-presentation.


Course Schedule:       Census Day: Feb. 1 for UTEP

Deadline to Drop with a “W”:  March 30

Last Regular Class Meeting: May 1

Finals Week Meeting: as set by UTEP registrar


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

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

presentations (see resources for giving oral presentations); many of these will be done in teams. 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. 


Makeup Policy: In general (out of fairness and logistics), late work will not be accepted, and may be subject to a penalty in the rare borderline cases that it is accepted at the instructor’s discretion.   A makeup exam is possible only if: (1) the student relays to me (by email) within 24 hours (or the earliest medically possible opportunity) why missing the scheduled class exam date was unavoidable for a serious reason, and hand me or email me a written statement or document (e.g., doctor’s note) for my file within 7 calendar days, and (2) the student takes the initiative to contact me by email with his/her available days/times for a makeup exam as soon as possible (if it takes more than a few days to get an appropriate email response from the student, I would consider a makeup only in the most extreme and documented circumstances).


Attendance Policy:  Attendance is required and here’s why: Much of this course involves beyond-the-book group activities, experiences or discussions that are virtually impossible to recreate or “make up”.  Successful completion of this course is intended not only to imply you have demonstrated sufficient knowledge acquisition, but also that you have been exposed to key processes, modeling, and experiences (which are especially important for teachers, for example). Therefore, if you are now in a situation where you expect to have frequent absences, you might consider taking this class in another section or another semester.   Attendance is generally taken each meeting using a sign-in sheet and it’s your responsibility to sign it each day you attend before the end when I am busy packing up materials.  Late arrival, early departure, or blatant nonparticipation may be counted as a half-absence or even a full absence, depending on what is missed.   That said, it is always better to come to part of a class than completely miss it.

 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 [March 30] and with a grade of “F” after the course drop deadline.”  In practical terms, this means a student is subject to being dropped for 3 or more absences (unless you have given me a reason I have approved). If you choose to withdraw, I ask that you submit the formal paperwork and send me an email to let me know rather than just stop attending class and assume you will be withdrawn automatically.  On a positive note, a strong record of attendance can help you if your final average is very close to a letter grade cutoff.

It’s your responsibility to….

(1) give me a written note or email by the 15th day of the semester [Feb. 6] if you will have absence for religious holy days (which are excused, of course).  

(2) give me an email or written documentation as soon as possible if you anticipate the possibility of missing large parts of class due to exceptional circumstances such as military service/training, childbirth, or competing on official UTEP athletic teams.

(3) let me know by email (Lesser (at) or voicemail (747-6845) or daytime math dept. fax (747-6502) at the earliest opportunity if you have a serious situation which may affect a test, major assessment deadline, the final exam week meeting, or a large number of “regular” class days.  If you miss a “regular class meeting”, you don’t need to contact me, but you do need to get copies of notes and announcements from a classmate if you miss a class; be sure you have contact information for at least 3 classmates for this purpose


Academic Integrity Policy: It’s UTEP’s policy (and mine) for all suspected violations to be referred to the Dean of Students for investigation and disposition (See Section 1.3.1 of the Handbook for Operating Procedures; 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 represents 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 with complete citations even for websites and people you consult.

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, contributed to, and understand 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!  Intergroup conversations are not allowed during in-class quizzes taken as teams.


Civility Statement: You are expected to follow basic standards of courtesy (e.g., “Student Conduct” and “Disruptive Acts Policy” in the UTEP Catalog) and may be dismissed from class for blatant or sustained disruptive behavior. Your comments during classroom discussions need to focus constructively and respectfully on the intellectual merit of a position, not critiquing the person expressing it.  You should avoid side conversations when one person (me, or another student) is talking to the whole class.

If you need to have a laptop open (for taking notes during lectures or appropriately accessing an electronic copy of our textbook), please minimize distractions to other students by sitting against a back wall or side wall.  Whether the “weapon of math disruption” is a phone or laptop, engaging in activities such as texting, Facebook, YouTube, phone conversations, or emailing are inappropriate because they distract and disrupt class participation.  

If you truly are expecting an urgent call on your cell phone or pager, please let me know and sit near the door to minimize disruption (and have your phone on vibrate/silent instead of anything loud), and have it handy so you don’t have to dig through a backpack for it). Otherwise, please keep your phone/pager off during class.  Feel free to give your family member or child care provider the phone number for an academic office or lab (e.g., Bell Hall ACES lab 747-8814 is apparently open until 7pm) near our classroom so you can rest assured that staff can quickly let you know if there is a true emergency.


Disability Statement: If you have or believe you have a disability requiring accommo- dations, you may wish to self-identify by contacting the Disabled Student Services Office (DSSO; 747-5148; East Union Building 106;; 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 to make sure I receive any DSSO instructions and accommodation letters.  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. 


Military Statement: Give me an email or written documentation as soon as possible if you anticipate the possibility of missing large parts of class due to military service.



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. 

Alternative description (under review):  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.


Professionalism Statement: Beyond the previously mentioned Civility Statement, students in this course are required to exhibit professionalism that goes beyond avoiding negative behaviors.  This includes making a good faith effort in preparation for and participation in individual and collaborative class activities.  A classroom culture must be actively supported that understands that “wrong answers” are usually correct answers to a different question or valuable learning opportunities to address a common misconception. Also, be open to local opportunities for professional growth or service.  Consider encouraging K-12 students to enter an ASA Project or Poster (due April 1) or joining (at cheaper student rates!) professional organizations -- local (GEPCTM), state (TCTM), or national (NCTM, TODOS, etc.).


Confidentiality: UTEP policy requires that inquiries about confidential information such as grades cannot be done over the phone, but must be from your account and accompanied by your 800 number.  If you want to know your course grade between our last meeting and when UTEP puts grades online, you will have a chance during the last week of class to give me a “secret code word” that (assuming time permits) I will post your course grade by in an email to the class.


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):


Useful taxonomy from Dick & Hollebrands (2011):

Non-subject-specific conveyance technologies (i.e., those used to transmit/receive information) in a mathematics classroom, such as presentation technology (interactive boards, slide-presentation software, document cameras), communication technology (intranet and internet), sharing/collaboration technology (shared view or access to common work area or document),  and assessment/distribution technology (clicker systems; software tools for monitoring many individual device screens.

Mathematical action technologies (“perform mathematical tasks and/or respond to the user’s actions in mathematically defined ways”): computational/representational tool kits (GC, CAS, spreadsheets), Dynamic geometry environments (DGE), microworlds, computer simulations



* 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 PSSM document:; also the Action-Consequence Principle (Dick and Hollebrands, 2011, p. xiv): “Technology-based learning scenarios should allow students to take deliberate, purposeful, and mathematically meaningful actions and provide immediate, perceptible (usually visual), and mathematically meaningful consequences to those actions.” also, see the links in the “Course Objectives” section of this syllabus; related chapters from our textbook: Prologue, 1, 9, 23, 20


* Internet (applets, calculators, manipulatives, simulations, etc.)

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


* Spreadsheets (e.g., Microsoft 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; 

resources and downloads for APPS, see:

Guidebooks (User Manuals) and Apps (Applications), etc. available at

for a computer to “emulate” your calculator:

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)

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


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

    and   or

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 or in the tutorials at

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) and; some packages such as Mathematica have student and precollege school versions                    

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),


Using technology to assess students, moodle, Blackboard/WebCT, TI-nSpire, TI-Navigator, TI-SmartView, making course webpage resources, doing class surveys online (e.g.,, class wikis (,,, podcasts, chat tools, blogs, Camtasia, SmartBoard, Tablet PC, classroom response systems (e.g.,, 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),, calculator emulator software (example of a “microworld”),,


On the 3rd floor of the UTEP library is the Technology Support Center ( and, which has lots of free services and workshops for students and allows you to check out lots of technology as well!


tech support from UTEP Instructional Support Services:

or from campus workshops (e.g.,

on topics such as graphing calculators occasionally offered by the

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




Journals:         Mathematics Teacher “Technology Tips” columns



Dick, T. P. & Hollebrands, K. F. (2011). Focus in High School Mathematics: Technology to

Support Reasoning and Sense Making. Reston, VA: NCTM.

AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology (2008). Handbook of Technological

Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Educators. New York: Routledge.