Professional development for using technology in mathematics teaching in Ghana
Drawing on the framework of TPACK (technological pedagogical content knowledge) and the principles of effective mathematics pedagogy, this study set out with two aims. First, shifts in teachers’ technology dispositions (beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge) were explored after engagement in the professional development programme mediated with GeoGebra software. Second, typical features and nuances of the complexities of enacting effective mathematics pedagogy in a GeoGebra learning environment were examined. Eleven in-service mathematics teachers from a senior high school in Ghana were engaged in a professional development programme for 12 months. They were introduced to the use of GeoGebra software in mathematics teaching, and then designed GeoGebra-based mathematics lessons, which they taught to their peers and subsequently their students in the mathematics classroom. Self-report questionnaire, interviews, focus group discussions, lesson plans, and lesson observations were used for data collection. The results provided evidence that within Geogebra-based mathematics lessons, teachers were able to enact, to different degrees, five practices central to effective mathematics pedagogy: creating mathematical setting, providing useful mathematical tasks, orchestrating mathematical discussions, making mathematical connections, and assessing students’ learning. Further analysis of the data provided evidence for theorising 31 core practices across these central themes of effective mathematics pedagogy. Following their engagement in the professional development, the teachers enacted these practices to greater or lesser extents. However, it was problematic for most teachers to effectively engage their students in deep mathematical discussion. Engaging teachers to design and teach with GeoGebra in the mathematics content area offered a unique lens for understanding the shift in the teachers’ dispositions towards the use of technology in mathematics teaching and learning. As teachers engaged in using GeoGebra, their knowledge and perceived beliefs about the usefulness and nature of technology in mathematics education became profound. The teachers improved their technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) during the study. Analysis of the components of TPACK showed that they improved their knowledge of the mathematics content as well as knowledge of technology, teaching, and students’ learning. However, their intention to put new pedagogical approaches into classroom practice in the future depended on multiple contextual factors including administrative support, continual professional training, and provision of adequate technology facilities. The findings from this study have implications for Ghana’s senior high school mathematics education, TPACK, effective mathematics pedagogy, professional development, and research methodology.
Advisor: Linsell, Christopher Robert Gault; Ingram, Naomi
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: College of Education
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: teachers' technology dispositions; effective mathematics pedagogy; GeoGebra; technology use in Ghana's education; technology integration in teaching; TPACK; professional development
Research Type: Thesis