Mathematics and learning through technology

With technological advancements elevating at a rate like never before in history, it is crucial to keep in mind that although we have the advances of technology available, we still need to review how we use technology. Although online learning proves to be possible, is it an effective way for Grade R learners to explore mathematics? This means carefully evaluating how we use technology responsibly. It is without a doubt that technology does have a place in our world. Although technology does have a place in the classroom, the use of the technology must be responsible and effective.

Try to imagine what it is like for a five-year-old to see a mathematical concept for the first time. How does this Grade R learner make sense of mathematical concepts?

For effective learning Piaget and Vygotsky’s theory of constructivism explains that a child wants to make sense of the world around them. They experience mathematics while they explore their surroundings and get an understanding of their world. They need to construct their own knowledge with hands-on, concrete experience and being actively involved building their knowledge of mathematics. This means that children need to use their senses, run, explore, use objects and manipulatives to discover what they can do when they learn. Mathematical learning cannot take place if a child is not actively involved by doing. Therefore, the physical environment is crucial for exploring and to create rich mathematical activities to stimulate the learner.

Guided activities help to make new connections when learning. According to Piaget and Vygotsky’s theories there is a connection between social interaction and cognitive activity. This means that children learn from each other and the teacher. This happens through play activities, interaction between the learners and the teacher, interaction between learners and completing mathematical activities. Research has clearly showed that cooperative learning which take place in a physical environment develops better reasoning, higher achievement levels and improves critical thinking skills. McDermott explains that the physical environment is optimal for problem-solving, explanation, sharing, social interaction, exploration, and social interaction.

A physical environment is important for learners to feel safe, to explore, to make sense of their world and to take part in mathematical activities.

Grade R learners learn new mathematical concepts through interaction and guidance. Therefore, technology do have a place in the education environment, however it must be used to support lessons and to enrich a learner’s knowledge. Electronics can enrich technical skills to further future career choices. It is clear that Grade R learners discover mathematical concepts when they explore, interact with teachers and peers, use objects during learning, manipulate manipulatives, experience through play and solve problems to give meaning to their world.

Online learning can be used as added resources, but the core of learning for these learners should take place in a physical environment.


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